Carlton coach Michael Voss has lauded the ability of his squad's fringe players to step up to the occasion and be "the next man in", with a quartet of role players helping the Blues claim a 60-point win over Hawthorn on Sunday.
Voss' side was among the quartet of clubs to snatch a victory over the weekend after being scheduled for a bye the round prior, with the Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide and GWS also claiming four points.
The win over Hawthorn also saw Carlton claim their second 10-goal win in as many games, with five players piling on multiple goals each to see the Victorian powerhouse now sitting six points outside the top eight.
Among their contingent of goalkickers were forward Jack Martin and attacking utility David Cuningham, who kicked three and two goals respectively to cement themselves in Voss' outfit for another week.
Cuningham made his return to the top flight last week after an extensive battle with injury setbacks, with the 26-year-old booting his first major since May 2021 on Sunday against the Hawks.
Martin would also shake off ongoing injury concerns that have kept him to four games in 2023 on his way to being a standout for the Blues in front of 66,337 fans, with Voss thrilled with how the pair were able to have an impact against Sam Mitchell's men.
"They're strong in the air, both of them, and they're also dynamic. Cunners has been really good for us and he's only going to get better, he hasn't played a lot of footy in the last couple of years," Voss said after the win.
"To see what he's been able to do and the mix he's been able to add to our midfield group has been what we've needed.
"... to see the work (Martin) has done in the past five-six weeks, he adds a different mix to us up forward.
"He's a forward threat, he's tough. I don't know another Jack Martin, that's what he brings. As a result of that, that becomes quite infectious when a player attack the ball like that, because the next man in has got a big responsibility that he goes hard as well.
"We draw energy off that, so to have players like Jack in there and impact the scoreboard. His previous couple of games were good, but today was better."
The duo's combined five goals came as the Blues look to shake off early-season concerns and begin to play a more defined game in relying on each of the 23 players named.
Among those were defender Lewis Young and tall utility Jack Silvagni, who were both required to share the ruck workload against Hawthorn after knee injuries to Marc Pittonet and Tom De Koning earlier in the week.
While the hitout count ended 61-27 in favour of the Hawks, Young and Silvagni were able to level the contest once the ball hit the deck, with Carlton's midfield winning the clearance count on the day.
De Koning, who was a late withdrawal for the game and replaced by Young, remains no certainty to pay after pulling up prior to the bounce, while Pittonet also remains under an injury cloud for Round 17.
"We hope so, they're both a test," Voss said of the pair's playing chances.
"They're a bit banged up, both with knees. It's still a wait and see, but we are hoping they will be available for selection. Whether we choose to select them or not we will make a decision later in the week.
"We did a test yesterday and we were waiting to see how (De Koning) would pull up.
"He didn't pull up necessarily how we'd have liked so we didn't bother to take a risk when it came to him.
"We were able to neutralize some of that. I thought Youngy and SOS battled manfully in terms of the roles they were given.
"A really strong quality of this group in the past has been about the next man in and people getting the job done. It hadn't necessarily been a big focus of ours in the first nine or 10 rounds as we would've liked. That's absolutely changed.
"So the next man in was Youngy and he was able to compete, and then the next man was SOS and he did a great job."
Carlton, who now sit in 14th with a record of 6-1-8, will head to Perth this weekend to face Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.