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'Ladder doesn't lie': Voss proud of high-flying Blues

Michael Voss insists Carlton deserve their billing as second-favourites for the AFL premiership after fighting through injury woes and a tough draw in the first half of the season.

The Blues (9-4) leapfrogged Essendon (8-4-1) into second spot on the ladder with a 15.6 (96) to 9.16 (70) win over their traditional rivals at the MCG on Sunday night.

It was their ninth game in 10 weeks against opponents currently in the top 10 positions on the table, and fourth win in their last five outings.

Only ladder leaders Sydney (11-1), who beat Carlton by 52 points in round 11, have really got hold of the Blues so far this season as they chase a first flag since 1995.

Vossy
"The ladder doesn't lie," says Carlton coach Michael Voss. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

"We are where we deserve - the ladder doesn't lie - and we've had to do it with some challenges," Voss told reporters after the win over Essendon.

"It hasn't been smooth sailing. We've been facing these top teams week after week after week and we've had some challenges, but with that's come opportunity as well.

"We've taken that as an opportunity to be able to try a few things and see where we can grow next.

"As it's turned out there's been a couple of roles that have emerged they've just helped us out a little bit."

One of those has been Zac Williams moving forward, where the regular defender has kicked 10 goals in four games, while another is Alex Cincotta turning into a shutdown specialist.

Cincotta was given a huge role opposed to Essendon captain Zach Merrett on Sunday night and restricted the prolific midfielder to 21 touches.

"He's done a great job ... he's powerful and hard to beat," Voss said of 25-game player Cincotta.

"He's been able to take on those jobs and do them very, very well.

"It's been good because his teammates have helped around him and sort of put him where he needs to be.

"He's got that confidence from the other guys to be able get that job done and it enables our mids to go and get to work."

Harry McKay
Harry McKay got injured for the Blues with a knock to his left shoulder. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

While the Blues are buoyant heading into their mid-season bye in round 14, there are some concerns over key forward Harry McKay's sore left shoulder.

McKay kicked one early goal against Essendon when brother and direct opponent Ben McKay gave away a free kick for holding.

But Harry was hurt in a final-quarter marking contest when he landed heavily under Ben's weight, with Voss uncertain on the extent of the damage.

"He was able to strap it and come back on ... but I'll have to wait until Monday to find that out," Voss said.

"They had a really good contest. We're pleased with what Harry did but I'm sure Essendon's happy with what Ben was able to do.

"I'm sure they'll face up against each other sometime soon."

Carlton host Geelong at the MCG in their next fixture on June 21.