COLLINGWOOD keeps holding the challengers at bay.
A campaign that looked to be losing its lustre a fortnight ago has suddenly been steadied with back-to-back wins, with a 24-point victory over Carlton on Sunday satisfying for a number of reasons.
The side's brave 10.12 (72) to 7.6 (48) win at the Gabba was a backs-to-the-wall performance full of heart. Without a number of key players, the Pies rose to the sizeable task laid down by the Blues.
But while the manner of the victory was certainly the most pleasing aspect of a result that will take the Pies one step closer to sealing a top-eight berth, putting a dagger in the finals hopes of their arch rivals was undoubtedly just as sweet.
Trailing by 10 points midway through the third quarter, Collingwood weathered the storm and finished with a flourish. Holding Carlton goalless for the entirety of the second half, the Pies kicked five unanswered majors of their own to coast home.
Jamie Elliott (19 disposals, eight tackles) enjoyed a standout midfield performance, but was supported admirably by Taylor Adams (23 disposals, seven clearances) and youngster Josh Daicos (21 disposals, one goal).
The win puts a crucial three-game gap between Collingwood and Carlton on the ladder, with a second-half fadeout a bitter pill to swallow for a Blues outfit that couldn't capitalise when it seemed like they were gaining the ascendency.
Sam Walsh (22 disposals, one goal) was Carlton's best. However, when the Blues had the opportunity to put the hammer down, too many of his teammates went missing.
Mustering only four behinds for the entirety of the second half, Carlton's finals chances are now up in smoke.
CARLTON 2.0 7.2 7.4 7.6 (48)
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 5.6 6.8 10.12 (72)
Carlton: Betts 2, Walsh, McKay, Fisher, Curnow, Newnes
Collingwood: Thomas 2, Stephenson 2, Mihocek 2, Cox 2, Phillips, Daicos
Carlton: Walsh, Curnow, Setterfield, Betts, Fisher, Weitering
Collingwood: Elliott, Adams, Daicos, Crisp, Maynard, Moore
Carlton: Cripps (knee)
Collingwood: Mayne (concussion)