Carlton are disappointed, frustrated and have been left undermanned by Bryce Gibbs’ two-match AFL ban but they intend to maintain a tough-tackling approach.
Gibbs was handed a two-match ban for a sling tackle on Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray that banged his head onto the MCG turf.
Carlton caretaker coach John Barker suggested there was no ill-feeling towards Gibbs at the club over his suspension.
Instead, he was smarting at a perceived inconsistent approach applied by the AFL match review panel.
“There’s probably half a dozen (incidents) that were very similar that didn’t have the same outcome,” he said.
“We’re disappointed he’s out. Obviously, his intent wasn’t to hurt but …. we know the head is sacrosanct.”
Barker said the club didn’t consider taking the two-match ban to the tribunal, given its propensity to throw out such appeals and the threat of a longer suspension.
The Blues will now plough on without Gibbs and without a change in the style that brought a first win in eight weeks.
Barker said he believed the team’s tough-tackling approach was critical to improving their win-loss record.
“Probably our biggest challenge going forward is we need to keep strong pressure on,” he said.
“We need to maintain the intent that we have towards the opposition.”
Gibbs will miss matches against Gold Coast and Western Bulldogs.
Barker said Carlton were preparing to face a Suns side boosted by the return of skipper Gary Ablett on Sunday.
“We expect him to play and we expect he’ll be 100 per cent,” Barker said.
Ablett has missed 10 weeks of football in an attempt to rehabilitate his reconstructed shoulder from an injury suffered 50 weeks ago.
Barker said Gold Coast were better than the last place they currently occupied, urging his players not to rest on their laurels after beating the Power last week.
“Effort doesn’t just roll on, it has to be sparked,” he said.
“(Gold Coast) squeezed Fremantle to within an inch in their very last outing.
“They’re a very good football club, they’re going to get a lot of good players back this week.
“We’re under no illusion – it’s going to be a very solid game.”