Gold Coast all but ended Carlton’s season with a 19-point win against the Blues on the back of midfield domination.
The Blues led by nine-points at halftime but could only muster three goals when they needed them most in the second half.
The Suns’ midfield, namely Noah Anderson (30 disposals, nine clearances and 546-metres gained) and Touk Miller (35 disposals, seven clearances and two goals), dominated inside and were too much for Sam Walsh and Patrick Cripps to handle.
Will Powell (29 disposals, 531-metres gained, 10 intercepts and a goal) was immense for the Suns defensively, hardly losing a contest and providing scintillating rebound.
David Teague and Carlton will lament the second half fade out, but truth be told, the Blues simply didn’t have enough gears to stay with the Suns.
After a nervy start to the match, Carlton took 15-minutes to kick their first goal of the game after Brandon Ellis opened the scoring.
The 28-year-old got on the end of a kick from his former Richmond teammate Jacob Townsend, the two showed no signs of a lack of connection despite not having played together for 1099 days.
But once Carlton had kicked their first, courtesy of Charlie Curnow making the most of a half from the pocket, Mitch Honey took over for the Blues.
The rookie-listed teenager kicked two late goals to give Carlton a 10-point quarter-time lead.
It was slow going for the Blues again in the second term, as goals to Touk Miller and Townsend gave the Suns a three-point lead.
The Blues clicked into gear later again, and an Eddie Betts goal from his first touch of the game at the 17-minute mark restored Carlton’s lead, before Jack Silvagni extended their advantage to nine-points at the main break.
Other than a Jack Martin goal early in the third quarter, it was all Gold Coast as the Suns opened up a seven-point lead at the final change.
Goals to Joel Jeffrey, Alex Sexton, Brayden Fiorini and Zac Smith were just reward for the Suns, who controlled the ball and had 33 more disposals than Carlton in the quarter.
Noah Anderson and Miller got on top around the ball and had 10 touches each for the term.
After an early goal to tie the scores up the last quarter couldn’t have gone much worse for Carlton. Harry McKay injured his right shoulder with 13 minutes to go and a minute later Jacob Townsend nailed Jacob Weitering for holding the ball and kicked truly to give the Suns the lead back.
Goals to Josh Corbett and Miller wrapped the game up for the Suns before best-on-ground Will Powell kicked one of the goals of the year to add icing to the cake for the Suns.
Joel Jeffrey kicked his first AFL goal on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Ellis’ rotten luck
Brandon Ellis was a huge inclusion for Gold Coast this week after suffering a hamstring strain against the Western Bulldogs in Round 18 and wasted no time in lifting the Suns with an early goal.
He’d arguably been the Suns’ best player until halfway through the second quarter when the luckless 28-year-old clutched at his left hamstring and came from the ground.
It only took minutes before medi-sub Jack Bowes was activated and Ellis was subbed out with the season-ending hamstring injury.
The AFL has given umpires the license to pay free kicks for defenders wrapping their arms around forwards this season, but why not around the ground?
Within the first 10-minutes of this game there were three incidents where a player was blatantly stopped from going for the ball by a player almost applying a bear hug.
The most notable was at a centre clearance in the first quarter where Matt Rowell beat Sam Walsh to the ball, before Walsh made it nearly impossible for Rowell to attack the ball with arms around.
If the AFL wants the game to become more free-flowing and exciting to watch, it’s time to stamp it out and let players use their explosiveness around the ball.
Charlie Curnow booted one goal in his second game back from a long injury lay-off. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Honey’s sweet start
Carlton looks to have found a gem of a small forward in Josh Honey.
Playing in his fourth career game, the 19-year-old gave Carlton a spark in the forward line in the first quarter, helping the Blues to an early lead on the back of two first-term goals.
The rookie-listed player seemed to find space in the Carlton forward line with ease, and his polish around goal to nail two set shots from 45-metres out will excite Blues fans.
Honey finished with two goals and nine touches.
Anderson steps up
When Ellis went down, and with Miller not finding the footy like he normally does, the Suns needed one of their midfielders to stand up. Enter Noah Anderson.
The 20-year-old arguably had the best game of his fledgling career, finding the ball at will and running the midfield with nine clearances, a career-high.
More importantly, Anderson was able to use his 30 disposals with great effect, notching up 546-metres gained.
The moment that would’ve had Suns fans the most excited was when Anderson burst away from a stoppage in the back pocket before taking a bounce and hitting a teammate on the chest with a 40-metre pass.
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