MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Paddy Dow of the Blues runs with the ball during the 2019 JLT Community Series match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Carlton Blues at Morewell Recreation Reserve on March 11, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Essendon legend Tim Watson believes that Carlton have made drastic improvements over the pre-season and are in a position to put the misery of 2018 to bed.

The Blues won just two games in 2018, claiming their second wooden spoon in four years.

Watson, however, believes the club has turned a corner over the summer.

“I’m prepared to say this, and I don’t like to make big statements, but I’m prepared to say this, that Carlton are the side that has moved forward the most during the off-season,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

“Of all the teams in the AFL… I watched every JLT game except one.

“I’ve watched a bit of every game and I’m prepared to say of all the teams I’ve seen, they have moved forward the most.

“I’m not saying they’re going to make the eight, but having watched them play, they have made, I think, the greatest leap forward in their all-round game opposed to any other team in the competition.”

Carlton split their JLT Community Series, falling four points short of Collingwood on Monday after knocking off the Bombers in the preseason opener.

Watson has been impressed by the performance of Carlton’s youngsters over the two games.

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“They’ve got some really, really good young talent there, and I think they’ve started to organise the talent, I think they’ve got some speed,” Watson said.

“I reckon they’ve moved ahead, and I think Carlton fans, you should get a little bit excited about what you’re going to see out there this season.”

The Blues will open the 2019 AFL season against Richmond next Thursday night at the MCG.