CARLTON fans will have to pop the lid back on.
After their unbeaten start to the season, the Blues struck a double whammy at Metricon Stadium on Sunday, losing to Gold Coast by 30 points and watching skipper Patrick Cripps limp from the field with a left hamstring injury.
SUNS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
Cripps lasted less than one quarter of the 13.14 (92) to 8.14 (62) defeat, but the writing was on the wall before the skipper left the field.
Gold Coast conceded the first two goals, but what followed was some of its best football under coach Stuart Dew.
The Suns led by 15 points at quarter-time – a margin that could have been greater if not for some gettable misses and poor connection inside 50 – on the back of harassing pressure and assertive defence.
The performance of midfielders Touk Miller and Noah Anderson typified the Suns' bounce back from last week's listless loss to Greater Western Sydney.
They gathered 67 disposals between them, including 18 clearances, to dominate the red-hot Blues' midfield and lay the groundwork for victory.
Co-captain Jarrod Witts (16 touches, seven clearances and 42 hitouts) was arguably the best player afield and can take a lot of credit for the Suns' win, giving his onballers first use around the stoppages with some skillful ruck craft.
Gold Coast won the clearance count 45-27, giving it a territorial advantage that led to a 64-48 inside 50 advantage.
Carlton was still well in the game at half-time, trailing by just 14 points, but what happened early in the third term would infuriate coach Michael Voss.
Nic Newman gave away a 50m penalty for an off-the-ball scuffle with Ben Ainsworth that gifted a goal to Mabior Chol, but worse was to come.
After Chol kicked another goal shortly after, the Blues gave away yet another 50m penalty for an incident off the ball to hand Ainsworth a gift from the goal line.
Suddenly the lead was 35 and there was no coming back.
Rosas wreaks havoc in his return
In just his fifth senior game – and first for 2022 – Mal Rosas had a game to remember. With the Suns on the back foot early, it was Rosas who got the momentum heading their way with the first of his three goals after finding space to get on the end of a Jack Lukosius pass. He kicked a second later in the first term and then a third with a ridiculous banana from the right forward pocket that seemed to change direction a few times in mid-air.
Cripps does his hammy
Arguably the best player in the competition through the first three rounds, Patrick Cripps lasted just one quarter before being subbed out with a hamstring injury. Cripps was having his usual strong influence – seven touches and a goal – before suffering the injury late in the first term and failing to return after the break. Carlton's midfield never really adjusted, losing the clearance count 45-27.
Is Harry McKay footy's Adam Gilchrist?
Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist was a famous 'walker' – someone who wouldn't wait for the umpire's decision and just walk off if he thought he was out. Harry McKay showed a similar trait during the second quarter when his snap for goal was initially awarded by the goal umpire despite protests from the Suns that Sam Collins had touched it off the boot. Whether it was guilt or honesty – likely the latter – McKay tapped his own hand immediately to indicate it was touched, with the decision overturned moments later.
GOLD COAST 5.5 7.7 12.10 13.14 (92)
CARLTON 3.2 5.5 6.9 8.14 (62)
Gold Coast: Chol 3, Rosas 3, Corbett 2, Ainsworth, Anderson, Casboult, Rankine, Weller
Carlton: McKay 2, Cripps, Curnow, De Koning, Fisher, Hewett, Owies
Gold Coast: Witts, Weller, Anderson, Miller, Powell, Collins
Carlton: Williams, Docherty, Hewett, Saad
Gold Coast: Farrar (hamstring), Lukosius (leg)
Carlton: Cripps (hamstring)
Gold Coast: Atkins (replaced Farrar in second quarter)
Carlton: Boyd (replaced Cripps in second quarter)
Crowd: 14,349 at Metricon Stadium