Blues defeat Suns as Barlow stretchered off

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    Carlton have withstood a second-half Gold Coast comeback to secure a hard-fought 10-point AFL win.

    The Blues dominated the opening stanzas but fell behind for the first time with 10 minutes to play before a late spurt secured a 12.11 (83) to 11.7 (73) victory at Metricon Stadium.

    The loss was compounded for the Suns with recruit Michael Barlow stretchered off in the fourth quarter with what looked like a serious injury to his left leg.

    Bryce Gibbs was sensational for the Blues, leading the way in defence as the Suns wiped out a four-goal halftime deficit in the third term before kicking two vital majors in the final quarter.

    Gibbs finished with 43 disposals, 10 tackles, eight marks and those decisive goals.

    Jack Silvagni also booted two final-term goals as the Blues backed up last week’s win over Greater Western Sydney.

    It shouldn’t have been so tense for the visitors however.

    The Blues were dominant throughout the opening term, picking up 18 inside 50s to just three for the Suns.

    Their pressure told on the scoreboard as well with a three goal advantage at the turn.

    The second-term was more one-way traffic for the Blues but they were guilty of missing some good opportunities to put the home team away, only extending their advantage by one goal at the main break.

    The Suns made the Blues pay for their profligacy in the third quarter, sparking a comeback somewhat fittingly after Levi Casboult missed a set shot that would’ve taken the Blues’ lead past 30.

    The hosts booted four unanswered goals after the blunder, charging to within three points of the visitors at the final break.

    Suns superstar Gary Ablett was a key in the third term turnaround, breaking free of the suffocating pressure applied by Carlton’s Ed Curnow to pick up nine disposals and six contested possessions in the quarter.

    When Jack Martin kicked his third goal of the match with just 10 minutes to play the tables had turned and the Suns found themselves ahead for the first time.

    Ex-Fremantle player Barlow, who suffered a horror leg break in 2011, immediately called for assistance after his left leg buckled in a tackle.

    The stoppage as he was attended to proved crucial as the Blues kicked two quick goals to restore their lead and go on to secure the points.

    Suns’ spearhead Tom Lynch, who booted a career-high seven goals against the Blues earlier in the year, finished with just one mark and no goals on a tough day for the big forward.

    Carlton take on Richmond next week at the MCG while Gold Coast face St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

    © AAP 2017

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