The definition of a die-hard footy fan is someone who would do anything and everything for their footy club regardless of the situation.

This type of fan can be seen across the entire competition, but there isn't a more dedicated bunch than the 'Bluebaggers'.

Carlton is arguably the biggest club in the competition. Off membership numbers alone, they sit fourth. In premierships, they're tied for first with 16. In loyalty? They might just be number one.

Once an absolute powerhouse of the competition, it's been a long time since the Blues won a flag - 28 years as Blues fans would know. Before 2023, Carlton had not featured in a final since 10 years prior, famously defeating Richmond in an elimination final after taking a finals spot from Essendon amidst their drug saga.

Since that year, the Blues entered a dark period. Between 2014 and 2022 the Blues were handed the wooden spoon twice whilst also finishing in the bottom four on four occasions. Additionally, four different head coaches were sat in the hot seat before the Blues landed on the current coach, Michael Voss.

To say Voss turned the Blues ship around is an understatement. After a disappointing end to 2022, Voss and his unit were determined to make up for past failures. Early in the season, things looked likely. A steep decline in form followed, only for the group to go through a resurgence of sorts and end the season finishing sixth.

An elimination final win over the Swans was a long time coming, but Blues fans finally had something to celebrate. They upset the Demons the following week in the semi-final before heading to the Gabba to take on eventual runners-up Brisbane. Despite losing their preliminary final, the effort the Blues put in all year, especially come finals, was something for their fans to be genuinely proud of.

Carlton is one of the few clubs that seem to have every piece of the puzzle sorted.


Three All-Australians in Jacob Weitering, Adam Saad and Sam Docherty.


Two All-Australians including skipper Patrick Cripps and superstar Sam Walsh.


Two Coleman medallists and All-Australians in Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

Ruck stocks?

Young star Tom De Koning and brute Marc Pittonet.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Harry McKay (left) and Charlie Curnow of the Blues celebrate during the 2023 AFL Round 02 match between the Carlton Blues and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 23, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Then there's the so-called 'role players'. Carlton has perfected the role-player mould. Nic Newman, George Hewett, and Matthew Cottrell, just to name a few. These players mean everything in winning a premiership. A team of several superstars can win a flag, but it's the role players that complete the puzzle.

So how can the Blues win in 2024? It's simple really. Do exactly what they did this year in finals. Carlton's performance against Sydney and Melbourne in September is the blueprint for how to win. Fast, chaotic footy is how Carlton must play to secure victory more often next season.

Reasonably quiet in the 2023 trade period, the Blues seem to have maintained their squad depth. Both Paddy Dow and Zac Fisher were shipped off along with a handful of picks. Losing the pair doesn't necessarily hurt the side at all. Both wanted more game time and, unfortunately, that just isn't a reality due to how strong Carlton's side is.

Signing Elijah Hollands adds some more depth to their list if they didn't already have enough. Standing at 189cm, the midfielder is a great option for Voss to experiment with.

Additionally, Zac Williams should be fit for next season. Since moving to the Blues in 2021, Williams has only played 23 games. He managed only nine senior games in 2022 before missing the entire 2023 season after rupturing his ACL during preseason.

These two additional pieces, with Williams more likely to feature in the starting 22, add plenty to Voss' side.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 14: Zac Williams of the Blues kicks during a Carlton Blues AFL training session at Ikon Park on December 14, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

One big knock on the Blues finals' success was the output of reigning Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow. In the three finals played, Curnow only managed three goals - one in each game. Despite his poor output, the Blues managed to win two games.

There's no doubt that Curnow is the premier key forward in the competition and if he can work out how to perform in finals, he'll loom as a genuine threat once more.

Ideally, the Blues shouldn't slump at all next season. If they didn't slip up in 2023, the top four could have been a genuine chance. In 2024, there's no reason why the Blues can't make the top four at minimum.

It isn't all or nothing yet for the Blues, there's plenty of time for this side to win. The Bluebagger faithful has stuck by the club through thick and thin and of course they'll be out in full force next season.

Consistency is the key to success for Carlton. If they maintain the high standards they upheld through finals, a Blues flag could genuinely come to be in 12 months time.