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A vintage Chris Judd performance has spearhead Carlton to a 39-point win over Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium, dealing a severe blow to the Suns’ finals hopes.
Having already won twice there this season Guy McKenna’s men headed to Docklands knowing a win would put them back inside the top eight, but from start to finish they looked anything but a finals contender.
Carlton had the opening goal inside a minute and kicked the first three of the game to lead by 19 points at the first change.
It was part of an 11-goals-to-four first-half ambush from the Blues, with Jarrad Waite and Tom Bell combining for seven majors before half-time.
Waite finished with five for the afternoon, while Bell had four.
Gold Coast would rally in the second half, kicking three majors in the final term to add respectability to the scoreline, but by that stage the match had been well and truly killed off.
The loss was the Suns’ ninth of the season and by the end of the weekend it could leave them four points and percentage outside the top eight, with matches against fellow finals contenders Port Adelaide and Essendon still to come.
Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna refused to blame his side, arguing poor first-half kicking efficiency was the reason for the defeat.
He insisted the Suns could still make the finals.
“We just have to take care of our own results and let the cards fall,” he said.
In a season decimated by injury Judd had managed just eight games prior to Round 19 but he looked close to his Brownlow Medal-winning best here, finishing with 27 disposals, nine clearances and two goals.
With his contract up there has been speculation as to whether 31-year-old Judd would go on in 2015 but Blues coach Michael Malthouse said he wouldn’t stand in the former skipper’s way should he want to continue.
“If someone says to me I’m going to retire, I rarely ever try to talk the player out of it,” he said.
“Juddy, really, if he says to me ‘I reckon I can go on’, I’ll certainly be saying ‘so do I’.
“He’s certainly playing some good footy.”
The win was Carlton’s third in their last five matches and will help ease pressure on Malthouse as he continues to fend off speculation about his future at the Blues.
– With AAP