MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 6: Marc Murphy of the Blues looks dejected after a loss during the 2018 AFL round 03 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 6, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton has questioned whether Carlton are gifting games to their veterans as the club faces an eighth straight year without a finals appearance.

It comes ahead of Sunday's must-win clash against arch-rivals Essendon at the MCG.

Speaking on SEN radio, Brereton said the club had been "very kind" to veterans Marc Murphy, Levi Casboult and Eddie Betts at the selection table.

“They (Carlton) are not quite getting the job done. I thought they might show us a little bit more improvement,” Brereton said on SEN’s Bob and Andy.

“I’ve been in their corner for quite some time, even two years ago, and thinking, ‘I don’t mind their build … they’ve taken some pain to make this build’.

“I’m just a little critical that they seem to drop the same young blokes each time and as I said on Saturday morning, they’ve been very kind to some of their players.

“Levi (Casboult) and (Marc) Murphy and Eddie (Betts), they’re all fantastic young men, they’re all fantastic servants of the club.

“You earn your games and if you walk away with 294 games, if you walk away with 199 (games), you can look yourself in the eye and say, ‘I earnt every one of those. I was gifted nothing’.

“Someone like Marc Murphy has lost pace. What you want from your half-forward flankers, he can’t give that anymore. He’s got to be on the inside.”

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AFL Rd 3 - Geelong v Carlton
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Eddie Betts of the Blues (L) in action during the round 3 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues at GMHBA Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos via Getty Images )

The trio, who have played over a combined 600 games for Carlton, all remain without a contract beyond 2021.

The 13th placed Blues have registered just two wins from the opening six rounds of the season with a challenging month ahead in which they face both the currently undefeated Bulldogs and Dees.

Carlton will be hoping the signing of John Worsfold will help turn around their underwhelming start to the season.

The club announced last week that the former West Coast and Essendon coach will be joining the team as a coaching consultant.