1981 and 1982 victories the club was aiming for a hat trick of flags. The Blues opened the season in mediocre form, winning only three of its first six games. The club sat in eighth on the ladder, only one win outside the top 5.
Three successive victories between Rounds 7 and 9 improved the clubs standing and chances of defending its premiership victory of the previous year, Carlton rising to fourth place on the ladder.
The wheels seemed to come off in Round 10 against North Melbourne, the club being thumped by 111 points. The resulting lack of confidence lead to the Blues losing the next two games, to have lost 3 games in a row. In fact, a Round 13 victory by 89 points against Footscray was the only win in 6 rounds starting from Round 10. These defeats left the club with a 7 win and 8 loss record after Round 15 and struggling to make the finals. Luckily the season was pretty even for the mid-ladder teams, and while Carlton was in eighth on the ladder, it was only one game and percentage out of the top 5.
Carlton finally managed to find the form that had led it to be a powerhouse of the competition over the 1970's and early 1980's in Round 16. The Blues went on to win six games in a row, the highlight being a Round 19 thumping of St Kilda by 107 points. This winning streak would lift the club to fifth place on the ladder and hence a place in the finals.
The team entered an Elimination Final against Essendon, who ominously had comfortably beaten Carlton twice during the home and away season, including a 51 point victory in the last round of the home and away season. The Blues entered the game with injury and suspension problems preventing them from fielding their best side. A valiant Carlton would lead at half-time by 5 points, but the Bombers would again triumph, running out 33 point victors, knocking the Blues out of the finals and killing their dreams of 3 premierships in a row.
Inconsistency had hurt the club all year, which is highlighted by the fact that the club had 4 wins and 4 losses by over 50 points. This season the Blues could be either very good or very bad and anywhere in between. This season also marked the beginning of a dominant period for both Hawthorn and Essendon, who would play off in 3 Grand Finals in a row from 1983.
Coach: David Parkin
Leading Goal-kicker: Ken Hunter - 43 goals
Best & Fairest: Wayne Johnston
President: Former Melbourne Lord Mayor Ian Rice resigned after serving for 4 years to be replaced by John Elliott.
Andrew Graham, Mark Williams, Shane Robertson, Daryl Gilmore, Bruce Reid, Rohan Brown
Debuts (Carlton): Ricky Nixon, Justin Madden
Retirements: Mike Fitzpatrick