The Blues quickly set aside a winless pre-season to begin the season in front of 70,000 fans with a customary win against Richmond. But what was not customary was to follow it up with two strong wins over Brisbane and Collingwood to go 3 and zip, the first time we'd achieved this since 1995. Premiership Favouritism sat well with the Blues at this stage, particularly with how we'd outmuscled and outran the Pies.
But season 2012 would throw up many hiccups and as it turns out, many premiership favourites on the way through.
The first chink in our armour was a surprise loss (to us, not them) to the impressive Bombers, who should arguably have won by a lot more. An away win against the tight Dockers saw us at 4-1 and facing a month of winnable games and all was still good with the world. But that seemed to be the beginning of the end. Those winnable games were not won, other than a boring affair against Melbourne, as Carlton plummeted out of the 8 and well out of contention with 6 losses from 7 matches. Form, injuries, an inability stop a team on a roll and 4 weeks to Chris Judd for a 'chicken-wing', and Carlton's season fell apart to be 7 and 8 at Round 16. Two wins in Rounds 17 and 18 against lowly opponents steadied the ship, but was the season gone?
The answer was yes, but it took one final kick in the guts to not only nail the season but to end the tenure of Coach Brett Ratten. And the kick came from a surprising source - an away loss to the Gold Coast. In a match where the Blues appeared to be putting a good 22 together, they failed to turn up - no chasing, no defence, no hard running and a forward line that could take a mark but could not kick a goal - and the Blues were out. In the ensuing week Carlton announced that 'Ratts' would finish up, and in the Round 23 clash he would Coach his last game for Carlton.
A season that began with so much promise ended with a whimper. The Blues were coming but we were all wondering whether we'd caught the same train.
Captain: Chris Judd
Leading Goalkicker: Eddie Betts
Best & Fairest: Heath Scotland
Josh Bootsma, Andrew McInnes, Tom Bell, Levi Casboult, Frazer Dale, Patrick McCarthy, Luke Mitchell
50 Games: Mitch Robinson, Shaun Hampson, Chris Yarran
50 Games (AFL): Lachlan Henderson
100 Games (Carlton): Chris Judd
100 Goals: Jeffery Garlett, Kade Simpson
150 Games: Eddie Betts, Andrew Carrazzo, Jarrad Waite
150 Consecutive Games: Kade Simpson
250 Goals: Eddie Betts
Departures: Bret Thornton, Jordan Russell, Rohan Kerr, Nick Heyne, Matthew Lodge, Blake Bray