Carlton coach Brendon Bolton has hailed the efforts of star midfield duo Patrick Cripps and Bryce Gibbs after the Blues ended Melbourne's AFL finals bid.
The Blues outworked the Demons on Sunday to snap a nine-game losing streak with a 20-point win in slippery conditions at the MCG.
Bolton says the win was a reward for his side's perseverance, and dominant displays by Cripps and Gibbs were pivotal.
"I'd particularly like to acknowledge Cripper and Gibb ... both of them had really good contested numbers and clearance numbers," he said.
"I think in and around the ball, around stoppages, we won that battle in terms of scoring."
Cripps finished with 30 possessions, 13 tackles and 12 clearances, and Gibbs with 33 touches, five tackles and eight clearances as the Blues won the clearance count 41-26.
Carlton have struggled since captain and midfield prime mover Marc Murphy was sidelined after injuring his ankle in round 10, and Bolton praised the pair's willingness to keep grinding away.
"They've had to shoulder a real burden and to their credit they haven't taken a backward step," he said.
"The occasional quarter or game they've been a little bit slower. It's hard to be up every game at that level, but we'll challenge them to do that."
The Blues lost Jack Silvagni (soreness) and Sam Kerridge (illness) before the game, but should regain both for their season finale against Essendon.