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Match report: Suns back it up to burn Blues

Highlights: Carlton v Gold Coast The Blues and Suns clash in round four
Suns co-captain Tom Lynch starred with a career-high seven goals - ${keywords}
Suns co-captain Tom Lynch starred with a career-high seven goals

TOM Lynch's star continues to rise after steering Gold Coast to a 26-point win over Carlton on Saturday night with a career-best goal haul. 

The Suns co-captain booted seven goals in the 17.6 (108) to 12.10 (82) win at Etihad Stadium and marked nearly everything that came his way as Gold Coast charged to its second victory of the season.

Full match coverage and stats 

Lynch kicked five goals in the first half and was crucial after the main break, too, as the Suns split open Carlton with a seven-goal third quarter to set up the win. 

The 24-year-old's status as perhaps the competition's next superstar garnered more traction with the stellar showing, complete with an unblemished record in front of goal.

Five talking points: Carlton v Gold Coast

He was the beneficiary of some slick ball movement by the Suns, who picked up 99 more uncontested disposals to get through Carlton's disciplined defensive set up.

Lynch's sterling solo effort overshadowed the excellent efforts of a midfield unit that is hard to stop when firing, as Gary Ablett (33 disposals), Aaron Hall (29) and Brandon Matera (29, three goals) outplayed their opposing onball brigade.

WATCH: Suns' Lynch-pin in seventh heaven

Jarrod Harbrow (23) brings important class and skill to Gold Coast's defence, while Jack Martin's development has also been superb so far this season – his fourth at AFL level. He collected a career-best 30 touches against the Blues and made an impact with most. 

"It was a great way to win – I was really pleased with tonight. The first half was a real wrestle (and) they probably were on top. (We were) certainly in front but they probably controlled the play, but we hung in there and after half-time we broke the game open," Suns coach Rodney Eade said post-game.

"It certainly wasn't pretty early but I was pleased (with) the way we won. As a young team to win that way, I was extremely pleased."

Carlton's midfield dominated Essendon in last week's win but did not have the same say against the Suns, although captain Marc Murphy (28 touches) was again among his team's best players. Sam Docherty wiped up some thing across half-back and Caleb Marchbank's form continued in defence. Levi Casboult was also solid, booting three goals from 13 disposals and 10 marks. 

The Blues had their chances to break away to an early lead with four more scoring shots in the opening quarter, but the Suns' accuracy helped them to a two-point advantage at the first change. 

Blues coach Brendon Bolton lamented the inability to convert their dominance into goals.

"There was a lot to like. We just didn't capitalise on some of the good work. Again our tackle count was reasonable – we had 84 tackles – just when we had our momentum in the first half we probably just didn't capitalise as much as we should have done," he said.

Jarrod Pickett's exhilarating pace has the potential to add a new element to Carlton's forward line, and his first quarter – full of bounces and clever crumbing – was a glimpse into his prodigious talent.

Carlton managed to stop the Suns from playing in the same freewheeling way that saw them slice through Hawthorn last week, closing down space through the corridor. 

However, his towering presence masked some of the issues the Suns had around him: their other marking options were well held, and at ground level Rodney Eade's men weren't as dangerous as their Carlton counterparts. At that point, anyway.

The third quarter saw a change in the Suns, with six consecutive goals giving them a 32-point break by three-quarter time. 

Peter Wright, having been quiet earlier, booted two majors to kickstart the Suns' run, before recruit Jarryd Lyons intercepted a kick from Carlton defender Harrison Macreadie on the goal line and snapped it through. 

But in Lynch, the Suns had a weapon Carlton couldn't counter. By the 14-minute mark of the second term, Lynch had kicked five goals and proven near on impossible to stop on the lead.

The deflating error came at a pivotal time, with the Suns slamming on the next three goals and establishing a match-winning lead. Lynch's sixth goal came midway through the quarter despite the Blues switching Sam Rowe off the star forward and replacing him with No.1 pick Jacob Weitering. 

An early goal for Jack Silvagni at the beginning of the final term gave the Blue a glimmer of hope they might be able to mount a comeback, before a virtuoso Ablett goal – he bounded through the centre square to slot the long shot – sealed the Suns' win. 

MEDICAL ROOM
Carlton: Harrison Macreadie headed to the rooms during the second quarter for treatment on a leg problem. He returned to the bench after half-time and after an extended break went back onto the field early in the third term.

Gold Coast: The Suns suffered a late blow, with key defender Steven May limping from the field with a hamstring injury with 10 minutes to play in the final term. Recruit Michael Barlow also looked to injure his hamstring, with his night cut short in the last quarter. 

 

NEXT UP
Carlton faces a big task when it travels to Adelaide next week to take on Port Adelaide on Friday night, while the Suns will be looking to win their third consecutive game when they host the unbeaten Crows at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

CARLTON           2.4    6.6    7.7     12.10    (82)                  
GOLD COAST    3.0    6.1    13.3    17.6    (108)           

GOALS
Carlton: Silvagni 3, Casboult 3, Weitering, Fisher, Pickett, C. Curnow, Simpson, Rowe
Gold Coast: Lynch 7, Wright 3, Matera 3, Bowes, Lyons, Lemmens, Ablett 

BEST 
Carlton: Murphy, Docherty, Marchbank, Silvagni, Casboult
Gold Coast: Lynch, Matera, Ablett, Hall, Witts, Martin, Miller, Fiorini 

INJURIES 
Carlton: Nil
Gold Coast: May (hamstring) 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Fisher, Margetts, Hosking

Official crowd: 24,968 at Etihad Stadium

High five if you want to stay? Ablett and chairman Tony Cochrane share a moment. Picture: AFL Photos