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Cats’ cruise adds to bad news for Blues

Highlights: Geelong v Carlton The Cats and Blues clash in round eight
Cory Gregson (left) and Mitch Clark of the Cats celebrate during the 2015 AFL Round 08 match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 22, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Mitch Clark and Cory Gregson had plenty to celebrate for the Cats on Friday night

GEELONG has increased the pressure on besieged Carlton coach Mick Malthouse, the Cats winning their seventh straight match over the Blues by 77 points at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.  

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The loss, which sees the one-win Blues slump to their worst start to a season since 2002 – the year they won three games and the wooden spoon – is their seventh for the year, and Carlton dropped to 0-14 all-time in games between the sides at Etihad Stadium.

The Cats won 22.8 (140) to 9.9 (63) despite a heated battle between Joel Selwood and Ed Curnow that saw their captain kept to just 16 disposals.

WATCH: Selwood and Curnow's Friday night battle

Pre-match radio was dominated by talk about Malthouse's seemingly at-odds position with the club, after he said on Thursday the public rebuilding status was why the players were struggling.

In response, CEO Steven Trigg said there was "potentially a point" where Malthouse's tenure could end this season despite the Blues' earlier stance he would at least coach out the year.

After the match, Trigg was adamant that the Carlton board would not discuss Malthouse's future until the second half of the season.

"We're determined to stay the plan, which is assess it, to put it on the agenda, in the second half of the season," Trigg told Channel Seven.

"What I was asked (on radio) is, does there become a tipping point? In anything, there becomes a time when you have to really assess it. We said we'd do it in the second half of the season."

Friday night's loss won't help the veteran coach's cause, although the players' effort was better than it has been in recent weeks.

Five talking points: Geelong v Carlton 

Losing Bryce Gibbs to a back injury in the third quarter compounded the late withdrawal of Andrew Carrazzo, who was replaced by ruckman Robbie Warnock. 

It means the Blues went in with a tall structure, but Levi Casboult, Cameron Wood and Warnock took just five marks between them, and Liam Jones took seven but went goalless. 

Malthouse, who after the game strongly emphasised he was "totally aligned" with the club's rebuilding position, said injuries hadn't helped the Blues' situation this week.

"Last Friday, my word was that Michael Jamison would probably get up this week, so he could play on [Tom] Hawkins," Malthouse said. 

"By Monday, it wasn't the reality so we thought we'd play Lachie Henderson on him … by Tuesday that was out of the question.

"Then we'll play Matthew Kreuzer and play him back on [Mitch] Clark … we find out Wednesday Matthew can't play.

"That's the sort of situation we're in. We're trying to get the right list up, we keep hitting roadblocks."

The Blues could also be without Chris Judd next Friday night against the Sydney Swans, with Malthouse revealing the veteran was sore after two six-day turnarounds on the hard Etihad surface.

Judd had little impact with just 12 possessions, and was icing his right knee in the rooms after the game.

They had few winners against the Cats. Kade Simpson was best in a brave performance across half back where he consistently put his body on the line and took 10 marks – four contested. 

For the Cats (4-4), it was their younger players who stood up most. 

Jordan Murdoch was the most prolific goal-scorer with a career-high bag of four, while Josh Caddy had 23 disposals and three goals, and joined Cameron Guthrie and Mark Blicavs as the prime ball-winners at the stoppages.

The Cats kicked 20.3 on set shots, their 22.8 (140) return easily eclipsing their previous best this season of 16.9 (105) in a round three win over Gold Coast.

James Kelly was also solid in his first game back after surgery to repair a ruptured testicle in round five. 

After coughing up six goals to two in the first quarter, the Blues burned some chances early in the second. 

Troy Menzel and Jones both took marks within range and missed set shots, although Dale Thomas was able to orchestrate a goal from a clever snap after some early inaccuracy. 

Thomas – who ended with 14 touches and two goals - had four shots in the first term but managed just one major and two behinds, while Menzel finished with four goals.

The Cats were also wasteful with chances at times, with Tom Hawkins burning two set shots in the second despite getting the better of opponent Simon White. 

But 11 goals to four after half time, despite Dennis Armfield keeping Steven Motlop quiet and Hawkins kicking just one, saw the Cats fire up the blowtorch. 

Geelong coach Chris Scott said the way the Cats finished was a "step in the right direction" after some recent fadeouts. 

"If you take the focus away from the scoreboard, we’ve been inconsistent with the way we’ve played as well," Scott said. 

"That was the primary focus at half time, ‘Let’s lock down in the way we want to play and deliver that for 100 per cent of the game'.  

"You never get it, but you should be aiming for it. I thought it was a step in the right direction tonight."

Chris Judd and the Blues were starved for space by Geelong on Friday night. Picture: AFL Media 

GEELONG     6.1   11.5   18.6   22.8 (140)
CARLTON      2.4    5.7    8.8    9.9 (63)

Murdoch 4, Caddy 3, Clark 3, Selwood 2, Kersten 2, Hawkins, Guthrie, Johnson, Gregson, Lang, Kelly, Lonergan, Stanley
Carlton: Menzel 4, Thomas 2, Yarran, Tutt, Armfield

Geelong: Murdoch, Caddy, Guthrie, Thurlow, Blicavs, Stokes, Kelly
Carlton: Simpson, Curnow, Armfield, Menzel

Carlton: Andrew Carrazzo (calf) replaced in selected side by Robbie Warnock, Gibbs (back)

Darcy Lang replaced by Andrew Mackie in the third quarter
Carlton: Bryce Gibbs replaced by Dylan Buckley in the third quarter

Report: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Stevic, Mollison

Official crowd: 32,032 at Etihad Stadium