An impromptu mid-season camping trip to Torquay was the catalyst in Carlton's 2023 season that saw them switch from strugglers to September threats, but the Blues won't be banking on jumpstarting their next campaign in June.

From Round 14, Michael Voss' men sparked a nine-game winning run to snap their finals drought, losing just one game prior to their season-ending preliminary final exit following their trip down to the Great Ocean Road.

Recently reflecting on the year that was - and their camp at Ed Curnow's residence - the playing group knows if they want to stand a chance come September, they'll still need to put some runs on the board in the early rounds.

"We had a laugh about that at a players' night the other night. It's better to do that at the start of the year instead of midway through," captain Patrick Cripps said of the club's now-famous winter getaway becoming their mid-season stimulant.

"As a group, we're really confident with the work we've done and we've all got an identity. We're just keen to get out there and attack it now.

"As much as what we say, it's about what we do and that's just adding to the foundation that we set last year.

"Every game is a chance to learn. We thought we learned a lot last year and we feel like this year we've got a really solid platform for what we feel makes us a good side."

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: Patrick Cripps of the Blues acknowledges supporters after winning the round 17 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Carlton Blues at Optus Stadium on July 10, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

An aspect that is set to aid their plans for a fast start to 2024 is the newfound stability in Carlton's hierarchy, with the futures of coach Voss, CEO Brian Cook and president Luke Sayers confirmed in recent weeks.

Under his fifth senior coach since joining the Blues a decade ago, Cripps said a "seamless" off-season off the field at Princes Park has allowed players and coaches to give all of their attention to starting the new season on the right foot.

"It allows you to just focus on footy," Cripps said on the club's stability.

"You sort of come into an environment where you're not trying to learn a new game plan, you're solidifying what you already know but also adding different layers to it. So it just allows you to level up.

"That's what we found this year coming into pre-season, it was probably the most seamless and felt like it just flowed on from last year, which allowed us to train at a really high level from December onwards."

The 'ace up the sleeve' Carlton has prepared for this season is key forward Harry McKay's versatility as a ruck-forward asset, with the Coleman Medal winner ready to combine with spearhead Charlie Curnow again this year.

Having had an unimpeded run this summer, the pair will again form arguably the best one-two attacking punch in the AFL, with McKay offering some flexibility forward of the ball as he strengthens his craft.

"They've both had full pre-seasons which we always say is a big tick in terms of how the year plays out," Cripps said of Carlton's key forward pairing.

"They work really well together. I think that they know that they play better with each other because you can't just put attention on one, you've got to stop both.

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)

"I've been really impressed with how Harry has gone this pre-season as well. He looks confident, he looks strong. He's done a lot of work to work on areas of his game, he just looks like he's really clear on what makes him a good player.

"When you talk about adding strings to your bow, what [Harry helping in the ruck] does is that maybe he's getting locked down as a key forward, he can go in the ruck and roam around and be like Charlie. He's got a massive tank as well, so we have two guys that are big, are great marks and can move around the ground.

"So that's definitely an ace card we've got up our sleeve."

Cripps himself feels buoyed by his own uninterrupted pre-season, while the Blues skipper has backed partner-in-crime Sam Walsh to overcome a back issue and put his name into the ring for an Opening Round spot.

The Blues start their 2024 season with a trip to the Gabba to face Brisbane on Friday, March 8.