Few teams will enter the 2023 season with more eyes on them than Carlton.

In 2022, the Blues exceeded pre-season expectations yet failed to deliver in the biggest spots.

They missed finals by a solitary point in the final round but displayed patches of elite-level footy throughout the season.

Now, with a slightly upgraded list and added motivation to make finals and contend for a premiership, the Blues are a must-watch side in 2023.

Ins: Blake Acres (trade, Fremantle), Jaxon Binns (No.32 draft pick), Lachie Cowan (No.30 draft pick), Oliver Hollands (No.11 draft pick), Harry Lemmey (No.47 draft pick)

Outs: Will Hayes (delisted), Oscar McDonald (delisted), Jack Newnes (delisted), Luke Parks (delisted), Will Setterfield (trade, Essendon), Liam Stocker (delisted), Tom Williamson (delisted)

Here we assess Carlton's depth chart for 2023 and name their best 23-man side.


Carlton were forced to experiment in defence last year after the permanent loss of Liam Jones and the temporary loss Jacob Weitering during the season.

Lewis Young proved to be a valuable pickup, ensuring himself a spot as the secondary key backman to Weitering.

Sam Docherty was one of the stories of the year with a sensational return to form after numerous off-field health scares.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Sam Docherty of the Blues celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Round 23 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 21, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Adam Saad displayed his All-Australian talent with a brilliant year, while Zac Williams showed glimpses in his nine outings but left Blues fans wanting more.

The Carlton faithful are still waiting to see a full year out of Caleb Marchbank who has dealt with consistent injury woes since 2019. He has shown that he can be impactful as a third intercept defender when healthy and he could be crucial in taking pressure off Weitering and Young.

Mitch McGovern will be under pressure to perform but still has tremendous upside as a potential contested marking utility. He'll need a big pre-season to prove his worth and live up to his hefty contract.


Carlton may have the deepest midfield in the competition in 2023, led by Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh.

The emergence of George Hewett was a big part of Carlton's success last year, adding to their midfield quality and depth.

Adam Cerra was another recruit who had a positive first year at the Blues, but still has room to improve at just 23 years old.

A fully healthy Carlton midfield might force Cerra to slide to a wing, but he is certainly capable of being Carlton's third midfield option once the season gets rolling.

New recruit Blake Acres will slot straight onto the wing and look to continue from his good form in Freo, while Matthew Kennedy will roll through the middle after a breakout season in 2022, averaging 25 disposals.

Blake Acres during Carlton training, November 21, 2022. (Photo by Jake Benoiton)

The other wing spot, should it not fall to Cerra, will be up for grabs between the likes of Matt Cottrell, Lochie O'Brien or top draft selection Oliver Hollands this year.

Marc Pittonet is the likely first option at ruck, but don't be surprised by a potential breakout season from Tom De Koning, who will be looking to earn a big contract at Carlton or elsewhere.


Carlton's forward line is headlined by their key position players, Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow; fresh off a Coleman Medal year. These two provide arguably the most threatening one-two punch of any forward line in the competition and will be key to the Blues' success in 2023.

Jack Martin and Zac Fisher will likely be the players cursed with the high half-forward role, with Fisher rolling up to the wing at times.

The small forward roles at Carlton are certainly up for grabs, but Jesse Motlop and Corey Durdin were probably their two most dangerous smalls in 2022 with their ability to hit the scoreboard and worry opposition defenders. Matt Owies and Josh Honey would also be tussling for a spot here.

AFL Rd 2 - Carlton v Melbourne
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 13: Jack Martin of the Blues in action during the 2020 AFL Round 02 match between the Carlton Blues and the Melbourne Demons at Marvel Stadium on June 13, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Jack Silvagni and Mitch McGovern may provide value forward of centre also, likely as late game marking options or for alternative game-planning purposes.

Best 23

FB: Sam Docherty, Jacob Weitering, Caleb Marchbank
HB: Zac Williams, Lewis Young, Adam Saad
C: Blake Acres, Sam Walsh, Adam Cerra
HF: Jack Martin, Charlie Curnow, Zac Fisher
FF: Jesse Motlop, Harry McKay, Corey Durdin
FOL: Marc Pittonet, Patrick Cripps, George Hewett
I/C: Jack Silvagni, Mitch McGovern, Lochie O'Brien, Matthew Kennedy
Sub: Nic Newman

Emerg: Lachie Plowman, Matthew Cottrell, Matthew Owies, Tom De Koning

We've picked our side, now it's time for you to pick yours with our PICK YOUR TEAM page.