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Stars back in form as Blues waltz past sorry Suns

Highlights: Carlton v Gold Coast The Blues and Suns clash in round 20
Carlton's Kade Simpson and Sean Lemmens from the Gold Coast Suns in action during the 2014 AFL Round 20 match between the Carlton Blues and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on August 09, 2014. (Photo: Greg Ford/AFL Media)
Kade Simpson was again superb in defence for Carlton as he left Sean Lemmens and the Suns in his wake
CARLTON'S finals hopes have already sailed but the Blues are intent on shaping the eight, beating a fading Gold Coast team by 39 points on Saturday afternoon at Etihad Stadium. 
 
The Blues outmuscled their opponents from the beginning and were never headed, winning 14.13 (97) to 8.10 (58) and leaving the Suns facing an uphill battle to play finals.

Five talking points: Carlton v Gold Coast
 
The pattern of the match would have suggested it was the Blues with their top-eight hopes on the line.

They out-tackled their opponents, were more desperate in pursuit of the contested ball and ran harder to create options for their teammates.
 
The result left Gold Coast with a 10-9 record, and they could be one game and significant percentage outside the top eight by the end of the round if Collingwood beats West Coast on Sunday.
 
The player to benefit most from the Suns falling stocks was tall forward Jarrad Waite, who continued a superb run of form since returning to the team in round 18 to kick five goals and take nine marks. 
 
With his future at Visy Park up in the air, Waite has kicked a total of 12 goals and taken 27 marks in his past three games.
 
Young Blue Tom Bell, meanwhile, kicked a career-best four goals, while debutant Ciaran Sheehan was able to play a full game on debut, impressing with his ball use.   
 
Former captain Chris Judd was superb and at his attacking best, bursting through packs to win nine clearances among his 27 touches, also kicking two goals.
 
Bryce Gibbs (28 possessions), Kade Simpson (30) and Dale Thomas (27) were all prolific.    
 
It wasn't all good news for Carlton with utility Chris Yarran substituted early in the first quarter with a calf strain.
 
Meanwhile, Gold Coast midfielder Michael Rischitelli left the game in the second quarter with an apparent hip complaint and Trent McKenzie sat out the fourth quarter with concussion.
 
Without injured captain Gary Ablett, the Suns' lack of a game-turner in the midfield was obvious.
 
Young on-ballers Harley Bennell, Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia have all seen their numbers drop without Ablett, combining for 8.2 fewer possessions a game before Saturday's clash.
 
Bennell (27 disposals) and O'Meara (26) won their share on Saturday, but didn't impact the contest like they could alongside Ablett. Prestia was tagged out of the game by Andrew Carrazzo.

"There's some very good players in that side, they're coached well, and they had a lot to lose today, which made it more important for us to measure up," Carlton coach Mick Malthouse said
 
"It wasn't a good second half, but the damage was done in the first half and we were able to hold on to that lead – we ended up with a half time lead of 46 and won by 39.
 
"It's good for our morale and it's good for cementing in the mind that this is the way we want to go … we want to play this type of football."
 
Sensing an easy kill under an open roof, Carlton put its foot down in the second quarter and kicked four unanswered goals in an 18-minute burst that left them with a match-winning lead at the main break.
 
Judd burst onto a loose ball in attack and converted on the run, Gibbs took a contested mark in the goal-square and Bell kicked two outstanding goals in three minutes from opposite pockets.
 
Waite could do no wrong, forcing the Suns to replace Steven May with Rory Thompson as his opponent, with Thompson performing well in the second half.
 
Suns coach Guy McKenna made sure Simpson and Thomas were more accountable across half-back after the main break and the Blues' scoring dried up as a result with both teams kicking 1.4 in the third quarter.
 
The heat was well and truly out of the game when the Suns kicked three goals to two in the final term.

"Our boys came to play, there's no doubt about that, but our execution killed us," McKenna said.
 
"Certainly our kicking efficiency was below 60 (per cent) in the first half and – surprise, surprise – in the second half it's up close to 70 per cent."
 
Midfielder David Swallow was probably his team's best player on a disappointing day for the Suns, finishing with nine tackles and 19 possessions.
 
Gold Coast faces Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium next week while the Blues square off against Geelong at Etihad Stadium.

Watch debutant Ciaran Sheehan's unorthodox bouncing technique below

CARLTON         4.2    11.6    12.10   14.12 (97)
GOLD COAST   1.1    4.3      5.6       8.10  (58)

GOALS
Carlton:
Waite 5, Bell 4, Judd 2, Thomas, Gibbs, McLean
Gold Coast: Harbrow 2, Hall, Martin, Stanley, Swallow, Lynch, O'Meara

BEST 
Carlton:
Judd, Waite, Simpson, Thomas, Gibbs, Murphy, Bell
Gold Coast: Swallow, O'Meara, Thompson

INJURIES 
Carlton
: Yarran (calf)
Gold Coast: Rischitelli (left hip), McKenzie (concussion)

SUBSTITUTES
Carlton:
Nick Graham replaced Chris Yarran in the first quarter.
Gold Coast: Brandon Matera replaced Michael Rischitelli in the second quarter.

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Burgess, Wenn, Findlay

Official crowd: 28,840 at Etihad Stadium 

Chris Judd celebrates with Dale Thomas and Zach Tuohy after a goal against the Suns. Picture: AFL Media