Sleeping AFL giants to roar soon: Teague

The Blues celebrate their 78-68 win over St Kilda in David Teague's first game as full-time coach.
The Blues celebrate their 78-68 win over St Kilda in David Teague's first game as full-time coach.

Has there ever been this much hype around a bottom-three team?

Carlton will spend the off-season dreaming for the first time in years after their latest victory cemented them as an AFL side to watch in 2020.

On Saturday, David Teague won his first game as a full-time coach, overseeing a 10-point defeat of St Kilda at the MCG.

A bumper crowd of 51,786 turned out for the occasion, showing the excitement and unity of the long-suffering Carlton faithful.

It was only the club's seventh win in 2019, a tally that sits the Blues 16th on the ladder ahead of a final-round clash with Geelong.

The paltry list of wins includes just one significant scalp - ladder-leading Brisbane in June - and comes off the back of last year's historically poor two-win season.

But Teague isn't one to dwell on where Carlton sits in the pecking order, instead hoping the club will embrace the possibilities.

"(Carlton) is definitely a sleeping giant," he said.

"We're not to live in the past, we're going to live in the present and the future.

"Right now we're playing good football and I'm very happy for the players to enjoy it.

"They're playing exciting football and they're playing a brand that our supporters will want to come and watch."

Against St Kilda, Carlton didn't turn in a four-quarter performance but showed superb depth of effort, as displayed on the stats sheet.

No fewer than 16 players tallied at least 15 disposals, and of those who didn't, Mitch McGovern kicked three goals, Matthew Kennedy was busy near goal and Darcy Lang put together a series of gut-busting efforts.

Some unsurprising names featured in Carlton's best; Marc Murphy, Patrick Cripps and ruck Matthew Kreuzer.

Less expected was the star turn of Levi Casboult down back, who has frustrated as much as he has delighted in his Carlton career.

Dale Thomas, who was effectively retired this week when Carlton told him he wouldn't be offered a new playing deal, was also superb in defence.

Teague praised all of this players, and the returning Blues fans, saying he wished the season "would go for another 10" rounds.

"The fans have been great ... it's a great relationship right now. The energy in the stadium's is very different to what it has been in the past and our support has been great," he said.

"We haven't won them all but we've been in every game so we're giving our fans some good entertainment, some really good moments and I think it's only going to get better for our fans."

Australian Associated Press