HOW MANY times in modern football do you hear about a team getting you in different ways?

Over the last 12 months, Carlton’s forward line - overseen by Ash Hansen and now Jordan Russell - is no exception.

The weekend’s win was the third time already this season the Blues had 10 or more individual goalkickers in the one game. On another five occasions, they’ve had nine.

There are some weeks where Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay can take the game by the scruff of the neck. On eight occasions this year, they’ve both kicked multiple goals in a game.

As Michael Voss said on Sunday night, he’s not exactly going to discourage big players stepping up in big moments. 

“That’s another pleasing aspect: we’re getting multiple goal scorers now. It’s not just through a couple of guys.

“They could do that if we need them too, I’ll never stop encouraging that! But it’s nice when the ball hits the floor to have some dangerous players.”

The fact is the Blues are clearly a much better team when they’re getting an even spread — and you just need to look at the numbers over the last 12 months.

When the Blues were going through a bad spell in the middle of 2023, the team was struggling to get an even contribution across the board. That rung true in front of goal: the Blues’ scoring dried up, not having more than a handful of individual goalkickers for five straight weeks.

Their average in the first half of 2023 was just a tick over six individual goalkickers a game. In the 26 games since then (which has yielded 20 wins and six losses), the Blues are operated at 8.3 individual goalkickers a game.

In turn, their average score has gone from 72 in the first half of 2023 to 93 points per game.

It’s all about the process.

Curnow and McKay, of course, are still there — Curnow leads the Coleman Medal alongside Gold Coast’s Ben King on 38 goals, McKay sits fifth with 29. 

But the Blues are looking much more dynamic in attack with a spread of players capable of hitting the scoreboard.

Matthew Owies continues to go at over a goal a game, Zac Williams has been a genuine find up forward in the last month, Patrick Cripps has kicked an accurate 10.2 already after 9.14 last year.

Elijah Hollands’ weekend treble also brings him to double figures in his first campaign in Navy Blue, with Tom De Koning, Matthew Kennedy and the recently sidelined Matthew Cottrell not far behind.

Curnow himself kicked two on the weekend, having now kicked multiple goals in every game so far this season. But his three direct goal assists sees him No.1 at the Blues in that particular statistic with 10, alongside ultimate team man Lachie Fogarty.

In Voss’ first year, Curnow kicked 64, McKay kicked 45 and the next best for the season was Brownlow Medallist Cripps with 20. It was very much boom or bust.

Now, it’s a much more sustainable model, and only reinforces Voss’ consistent message over the last year that the Blues - now more than ever - are a sum of their parts. 

Carlton’s individual goalkickers

2022 season — 7.3 per game
2023 season, Rounds 1-13 — 6.2 per game
2023 season, Round 14 onwards — 8.1 per game
2024 season, Rounds 1-13 — 8.5 per game (ranked No.2 behind Sydney)

Carlton’s 2024 leading goalkickers

Charlie Curnow — 38 goals (equal No.1 in AFL)
Harry McKay — 29 goals (ranked No.5 in AFL)
Matthew Owies — 17 goals
Patrick Cripps — 10 goals
Elijah Hollands — 10 goals
Zac Williams — 10 goals