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Back-to-back Blues leave Suns further off the pace

Highlights: Carlton v Gold Coast The Blues and Suns clash in round 13
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 28: Chris Yarran of the Blues celebrates a goal during the 2015 AFL round thirteen match between the Carlton Blues and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on June 28, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Chris Yarran celebrates a goal

CARLTON'S resurgence under interim coach John Barker took another step on Sunday as the Blues walked over a listless Gold Coast team to win by 34 points at Etihad Stadium. 

Barker, who now has a 2-2 record as the Blues' coach, allowed his team to play with freedom and creativity, and so did the Suns, who never looked like winning their second match for the season after quarter-time. 

Carlton's only hurdle was its own ball-use, which was frustrating at times, but they overcame that with three quarters of sustained effort to win 14.19 (103) to 9.15 (69).   

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Gold Coast's lack of urgency when it didn't have the ball was highlighted by the lopsided handball-receives stat, which read 152-67 by the end of the game. 

The Blues had 113 more uncontested possessions and eight more tackles, making the Suns' 100th AFL game one of their most deflating and leaving them one game clear on the bottom of the ladder. 

One of their few bright sparks, key forward Charlie Dixon, was substituted in the third quarter with a left ankle injury. 

He finished with three goals, while Tom Lynch kicked four. Harley Bennell and Andrew Boston were the Suns' only other goalkickers.

The Blues were also hit by injury, with half-forward Troy Menzel substituted in the third quarter because of concerns over his reconstructed right knee, which he appeared to injure late in the first term. 

Five talking points: Carlton v Gold Coast

The Suns' milestone game was overshadowed on Sunday by illicit drug allegations, which could have distracted the players. 

They were flat from the opening bounce but able to build a 14-point lead at quarter-time based on the Blues' poor decision-making and execution.

The home team stamped itself on the contest early in the second term when half-backs Zach Tuohy and Chris Yarran became key players in launching their attacks. 

The Blues kicked five goals to one in a second-quarter blitz, and from there they ground out the match with little opposition.

 

Midfielders Tom Bell (32 possessions and six inside 50s), Marc Murphy (32 and six clearances) and Andrew Carrazzo (27 and eight) worked hard all day, as did young star Patrick Cripps (20 and seven clearances), who pushed on under a hard tag from Andrew Raines. 

Forwards Levi Casboult and Andrejs Everitt both presented and marked well to finish with 3.3 each.

"Wins are hard to come by in the AFL, there's no doubt about that, and we made it a little bit harder on ourselves with a little bit of the way we went about it today," Barker said post-match.  

"There were some patches today where we weren't quite as up for the fight, and good footy teams bring that stuff consistently from the start of games to the end.

"Our ball use was a little bit off at times as well."

WATCH: John Barker's full post-match media conference

As well as Dixon, key forward Lynch was a positive for the Suns on a dark day under the Etihad Stadium roof.

Vice-captain Michael Rischitelli did as he has done all season and led from the front to finish with 25 possessions.   

Raines faces a nervous wait from the Match Review Panel after he was placed on report for striking Cripps in the last quarter. 

Suns coach Rodney Eade tried to remain positive post-match and said his team's problems started and ended with injuries.

"I thought we were OK for a quarter-and-a-half and then, for various reasons, I thought we struggled to run," he said.

"I think once Carlton got a sniff that we were struggling to run, they obviously grew a little bit."

WATCH: Rodney Eade's full post-match media conference

 

CARLTON         3.3   8.7   11.14  14.19 (103)                  
GOLD COAST    5.5   6.7    8.9     9.15 (69)           

GOALS
Carlton: Casboult 3, Everitt 3, Henderson 2, Armfield 2, Menzel, Tuohy, Yarran, Buckley
Gold Coast: Lynch 4, Dixon 3, Bennell, Boston 

BEST 
Carlton: Bell, Simpson, Murphy, Carrazzo, Tuohy, Yarran
Gold Coast: Lynch, May, Dixon, Rischitelli

INJURIES 
Carlton: Menzel (right knee), Docherty (back/hamstring)
Gold Coast: Dixon (left ankle)

SUBSTITUTES
Carlton: Nick Holman replaced Troy Menzel in the third quarter
Gold Coast: Nick Malceski replaced Charlie Dixon in the third quarter

Reports: Andrew Raines (Gold Coast) reported for striking Patrick Cripps in the last quarter

Umpires: Farmer, Ryan, Harris 

Official crowd: 30,207 at Etihad Stadium