Carlton coach David Teague says his team will enter 2021 with a growing sense of belief after taking massive learnings from a series of AFL nailbiters last year.
Eight of the Blues’ 17 games last season were decided by nine points or less, with Carlton triumphing in five of those.
The Blues haven’t played finals since 2013, and there is huge pressure on Teague to break that drought this year.
Teague says the experiences of 2020 will hold the group in good stead.
“It’s being able to truly believe when the pressure comes that you stand up,” Teague told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“That’s what our playing group last year got the experience of. We were in eight games of under 10 points. We got to experience those close moments.
“You build belief from going out there and doing it and preparing well, and I feel really confident that our guys have prepared well. They’ve trained hard.”
The Blues will enter Thursday’s season opener against Richmond at the MCG with a number of key players either underdone or ruled out completely.
Charlie Curnow (knee) will miss the first half of the season, while Nic Newman is out for the opening month.
Mitch McGovern (back), Levi Casboult (knee), Eddie Betts (calf) and Harry McKay (ankle) have all had interrupted preparations.
The Blues trailed Richmond by 46 points at half-time of last year’s season opener before reducing the final margin to a more respectable 24 points.
Carlton went on to record a 7-10 win-loss record for the year, and Teague says that once his players learn to stick to their assigned roles, they will see more victories come their way.
“Probably in the moments when we’ve gone away from being at our best is when the pressure has been on, and we go away from getting our job done,” Teague said
“Not selfishly, they’re just trying to help the team … rather than just get their job done.
“What the great sides do is under pressure they keep playing (their roles). Winning games gives you that belief, and I think once we start to get some wins our guys will really buy into their roles and understand how important and valuable they are.”