Slick Carlton have turned in an impressive first-up performance to defeat St Kilda by 22 points in their AFL preseason series clash at Ikon Park.
The Saints fielded a strong side on Wednesday night, but the Blues led all the way to record a 13.11 (89) to 9.13 (67) win in front of 8098 fans.
Most interest centred on St Kilda forward Paddy McCartin, who played his first game since round 12 last year after overcoming a series of concussions.
The burly forward kicked two goals and took five marks, but the story of the night was the fluent ball use of Brendon Bolton's side.
Carlton had first use of a stiff breeze and they played some direct, fast-paced football that proved irresistible at times as they raced to a 27-point lead at quarter-time.
The Saints found another gear in the second term to narrow that margin to 21 points at the main break, but Bolton's men remained the more impressive side.
Liam Jones expertly marshalled the back line, intercepting and repelling several Saints forward thrusts.
Patrick Cripps was dangerous up forward with two early goals and was influential on the ball with 20 possessions, while new boys Paddy Dow and Jarrod Garlett showed exciting glimpses.
As St Kilda warmed into the game after the restart, Carlton fell into some bad habits from seasons past.
A groin injury restricted David Armitage (23 disposals) to just two games last season, but the veteran midfielder was a key factor in his side's resurgence along with Jack Steven and Seb Ross.
Top-10 draft pick Hunter Clark's second goal brought the deficit back to eight points.
But in a sign of their development as they entered the third season of Bolton's rebuild, Carlton didn't fold.
They took a 20-point lead into the final term after Dow added his second and were never seriously troubled as they cruised to a first-up win.
Both teams were left with injury concerns.
Saints skipper Jarryn Geary didn't play the second half after a head knock in the second quarter, and Garlett left the game in the third quarter clutching his left shoulder after a jarring tackle.
The lighting at the ground was boosted after AFL Women's players and coaches complained following the last night game at the venue.
But the patchy lighting made life tricky for players and spectators in the second half.