Carlton have spoiled Gold Coast’s 100th AFL match celebration, with the Blues posting a 34-point win at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The 16th-placed Blues prevailed 14.19 (103) to 9.15 (69) against the last-placed Suns in a scrappy contest that often reflected the ladder positions of the respective teams.
Carlton started well and grabbed an early break but it was the Suns who held a surprise 14-point lead after an encouraging first quarter where key targets Charlie Dixon and Tom Lynch hit the scoreboard.
Skipper Marc Murphy and young gun Patrick Cripps were important at the stoppages as Carlton snatched back the initiative in the second term, with a brilliant running goal from Irishman Zach Tuohy sparking a four-goal burst that set up a two-goal break for the Blues at halftime.
Dixon and Lynch continued to prove a handful for Carlton’s defenders but the Suns suffered a blow late in the third quarter when Dixon limped from the ground with an ankle injury and didn’t return.
The Blues pushed their advantage out to 23 points at three-quarter time, and while the Suns didn’t raise the white flag, they never looked like pegging back Carlton, as the Blues eased to their third win of the season.
Gold Coast midfielder Andrew Raines had a day to forget, which got worse in the final term when he was reported for striking Cripps.