Wayne Brittain finally taking over from David Parkin. Carlton would make the finals for the third year in a row, but fail to secure the vital double chance, finishing fifth at the end of the home and away season. The Blues would lack consistency and while winning some great matches including defeating the eventual Premier, Brisbane, twice, it would also fail to win games it was expected to win, which would prove costly. A big win in its first Elimination Final against Adelaide would keep its premiership hopes alive, but a week later they would be extinguished by Richmond in a dour Semi-Final.
Ironically, as happened the previous year injuries struck at the wrong time of the year again. Brett Ratten who was expected to win the years B & F award dislocated an elbow in Round 22 & the eventual B & F winner Anthony Koutoufides damaged his knee in the second final.
While both players were still valuable contributors and eventually became club captains, at this time both were at the peaks of their careers & neither reached the same heights again.
Following the departure of Aaron Hamill and Justin Murphy, Carlton would really embrace the draft, securing 3 first round draft picks for the first time in its history: Luke Livingston- pick 4, Trent Sporn- pick 11 and Simon Wiggins- pick 16, the only one of its draftees to play senior football in his first year. By the end of 2006, however, only Wiggins would remain at the club. None of its other 2001 draftees would play more than a handful of games or establish themselves either.
This would be the last year until 2009 that Carlton would play in the finals, creating an 8-year finals drought that was the worst absence from finals football in our illustrious history.
Coach: Wayne Brittain
Leading Goal-kicker: Matthew Lappin - 49 goals
Best & Fairest: Anthony Koutoufides
All Australian: Andrew McKay, Brett Ratten
300 Games: Stephen Silvagni
200 Games: Andrew McKay (Carlton, AFL), Michael Mansfield (AFL)
150 Games: Scott Camporeale (Carlton, AFL),, Glenn Manton (AFL), Adrian Hickmott (AFL)
100 Games: Simon Beaumont, Lance Whitnall, (Carlton, AFL), Adrian Hickmott (Carlton)
50 games: Simon Fletcher, Mark Porter
Debuts: Ian Prendergast, Simon Wiggins, Jordan Doering, Adam Pickering
Retirements: Stephen Silvagni (312 games), Dean Rice (234 games, 118 with Carlton).
Trades: Kris Massie, Mark Porter, Ben Nelson
Delisted: Adam Chatfield, Murray Vance, Jordan Doering, Heath Culpitt, Brett Backwell, Adam Mathews, Adam White