AFL Rd 6 - Carlton v Western Bulldogs
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Blues celebrate winning during the round 6 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium on July 12, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide champions Kane Cornes believes Carlton have “no excuses” ahead of the 2021 season, stating the Blues must make finals to receive a passing mark in his eyes.

Carlton haven’t made the top eight since 2013, but have seen growing improvement across the past 24 months, finishing 16th then 11th since claiming the wooden spoon in 2018.

Coach David Teague was also able to add star power to his arsenal this off-season, with the additions of Zac Williams and Adam Saad set to offer plenty of pace and press for the Blues this year.

AFL Practice Match - Carlton v Essendon
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 25: Adam Saad of Blues runs with the ball during the AFL Practice Match between the Carlton Blues and the Essendon Bombers at Ikon Park on February 25, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Add in the natural development of former No.1 pick Sam Walsh, 2020 best and fairest Jacob Weitering and key forward Harry McKay and Carlton look primed for September football.

Speaking on SEN, Cornes believes anything less than finals from the Blues this year should be deemed a failed campaign.

“There are no excuses left for Carlton,” he said.

“I think a par result for the Blues is to make finals (this year), but a birdie in golfing terms to win a final and anything else is a bonus.

“There are no more excuses for the Blues, they’ve run out.”

Ironically, the comments come just five months since Cornes suggested Carlton were “miles off it”, stating the club showed no improvement from their 2020 season.

“I think it’s negligible whether they’ve improved this year,” he said in September.

“It’s debatable whether they’ve improved this year, right now I’m staring at the ladder and it has them in 12th position and they’ve been overtaken by Fremantle.

“All the Carlton fans would think it’s just going to happen and there’s just going to be natural progression forward but is it a given that they improve next year, clearly the pressure will rise for David Teague – it’s got to be finals or bust (in 2021) basically.

“I’ve spoken at length about the culture of losing, when they get into winnable positions like they have done a couple of times this year, they haven’t had that grit and determination to get over the line.

“They look miles off it to me.”

The Blues will face 2020 finalists St Kilda in the AAMI Community Series next week before facing reigning premiers Richmond to kick-start their 2021 campaign.