IN THE final dress rehearsal of 2024, Carlton fell by 38 points to Melbourne at IKON Park.

With the temperature hovering around 35 degrees through all four quarters, the Blues' Senior Assistant Coach Ash Hansen was grateful the Blues were able to get another hitout in gruelling conditions under their belt before flying up to Brisbane to face the Lions at the Gabba in eight days. 

Here's what he had to say.

On the conditions and the second-half turnaround: 

'It was tough early, especially with the sun at one end and the heat, but I thought we got better as the game went on which was encouraging.

"I thought the pressure got better, our ability to use the footy was really inconsistent in the first half. I thought we started capitalising on a few more plays in the second half, so we progressed and we were better than the previous week.

"These two games over the pre-season give you a chance to see your systems and allow you to focus on the next steps which is next week, which is pretty exciting.

"I’d be more concerned if it was cold or cool conditions: if anything, a bit more humidity would be better tonight but the heat is welcome for what we’re going to face in the first couple of weeks of the season."


On Melbourne's marks inside 50:

"It was a combination of their ability to go pretty quick and set up ahead of the ball and our lack of pressure in the first half to support our backs to allow the positioning to win their battles.

"I thought it improved in the second half: our ability to intercept and kill or spoil and clear the area certainly helped us defend and hold up when they had a lot of inside 50s.

"We don’t want the ball down there but certainly, the team system helped us defend those aerial contests where we weren’t getting the job done in the first half.

"We’d rather see the improvement in a game like we did tonight than have to face that in Opening Round. We want to reduce the opposition as much as we can without a doubt, but we improved in that area which was a pleasing response. At half time we highlighted a few of those areas."


On the defensive mix for Opening Round:

"Sam Durdin and Zac Williams both played today and got through well. We’ve got nine days to assess how they recovered and what the mix looks like. We’ve got time to be methodical and have a look at the team balance and see what is going to be best for what Brisbane does and what they do this week."

On Jesse Motlop: 

"We were conservative. He jarred his toe in a tackle and this being the last game, we didn’t want to take any risks. We’ve had a really positive pre-season, Jesse has had his best pre-season yet, so it was more about managing all those guys. If there were any risks, there were guys on the bench that we were willing to activate to give them some exposure."

On Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow: 

"They’re determined to work well together and build that chemistry.

"I think Harry has been arguably one of our best the last two weeks. He’s had an outstanding pre-season, and he’s prepared really well.

"Charlie, it’s a long year, he’s carried a lot of the load over the last two seasons and when he builds himself into it, we know the quality of player that he is. The chemistry is building and they’re only going to get better when we start using the ball better.


On Marc Pittonet: 

"It was good to see 'Pitto play a half tonight. The idea of having him play tonight was he has another week to train. We’ll assess how he pulls up, what he did this game and how that influences our selection against Brisbane. It gives us the option - playing him tonight - to be selective."