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Carlton’s slim final eight chances go on the line tonight when they travel north to face Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium. We’ll have live scores from 7.40pm AEST.
For a side who were written off six weeks ago and whose coach, Brett Ratten, seems constantly under pressure to keep his job, Carlton aren’t actually travelling too badly of late.
Four wins out of their past five mean the Blues are only four points outside the eight and a win tonight over the 17th-placed Suns would actually seem them slide into eighth spot ahead of Fremantle’s clash with the Kangaroos in Melbourne tomorrow.
A number of players have come back into the side in recent weeks and after a major mid-season slump, seem to be growing in confidence at the perfect time of the year.
Put simply, tonight will not be a problem for Carlton. The second year of the Gold Coast Suns has held some positives at times but after five months of gruelling football their list has been physically battered.
Swallow, Bock, Rischitelli, Prestia, O’Meara, Patrick, Hunt – it’s an horrific injury list, and that’s only half of it. Any AFL side would struggle to compete with a double-digit injury list, and Guy McKenna’s young group is certainly no different.
Back in 2011 the fresh-faced Suns ran out onto Metricon Stadium for their first AFL experience and were ruthlessly savaged by Carlton. The 119-point hiding remains the two sides’ only AFL meeting.
The home side come into this one on a six-day backup after what was a reasonable performance last Sunday when they lost by 64 points to Hawthorn. With Carlton’s percentage possibly becoming a factor at season’s end next week we’re unlikely to see the Blues let their foot off the pedal at any time tonight.
It might not reach the 119-point deficit of their last meeting but then again, it might not be far off.