Carlton will travel to the Gold Coast to take on the Suns in Saturday night’s game under lights at Metricon Stadium.
Carlton head into this clash after their impressive first victory of 2021 over Fremantle last Sunday. After two competitive performances, it was a nice reward for David Teague’s men, who did well considering they were missing three key forwards in Jack Martin, Charlie Curnow and Zac Fisher.
Therefore, this looms as a must-win for Carlton, who are trying to prove they are on the way to being back in town.
Harry McKay led the way beautifully down forward. He led Carlton’s scoring in their 45-point victory with seven goals, 12 scoring shots, 17 disposals and ten marks.
Patrick Cripps finally unleashed his best form so far in 2021, gathering 34 disposals, 15 kicks, 19 handballs and two goals.
Lachie Fogarty is proving he is well and truly worth his trade from Geelong. He is fitting into the side quite nicely. He gathered 25 disposals, 16 kicks and a goal.
Luke Parks had a dream debut and was much loved by the Carlton faithful, gaining 13 disposals and 11 kicks. His intent was there for the AFL world to see.
Let’s not forget that the Suns have been quite competitive so far this year. They took it all the way to West Coast in Perth, leading by a point at the final change, before being overrun in the last quarter with the Eagles kicking five goals to one to run out 25-point winners.
In their only home game so far, they were able to absolutely dominate against North Melbourne, running out 59-point winners in a performance led down forward by Izak Rankine, Ben King and Alex Sexton with eight goals kicked between them.
Last week the Suns took it right up to the Crows, holding a lead late, only to be denied by two late goals to the Crows from Taylor Walker and Ned McHenry. In their competitive performance, these players stood out.
Ben King continued his great form down forward, kicking four goals from six disposals.
Chris Burgess also did his bit up forward with two goals from nine disposals and seven kicks.
Brandon Ellis was on fire with 25 disposals, 16 kicks and nine handballs.
Last time these teams met, Carlton comfortably took care of the Suns and were in control the whole game. They will be hoping for a similar result this weekend, as after they have proven they can win, Carlton will be hoping to continue that form and get their season well and truly on track.
Zac Williams is a big out for the Blues. He has been impressive over the first two outings, gathering 41 disposals, 26 kicks and eight marks from his first couple of games in navy blue.
Players who can still have an impact include Will Setterfield, who takes Williams’ place. He had a quiet outing against Collingwood with only nine disposals and three kicks. If he can step up, he can be a regular best-22 starter.
Jack Silvagni can also improve his performance against Fremantle. He kicked 1.2 from 18 disposals and if he can impact the scoreboard more, it will go a long way to helping the Blues secure back-to-back wins.
Eddie Betts was quiet in his 200th game for Carlton, but his magical goal in the second quarter got the crowd on their feet. If he can have a bigger impact on Saturday night and hit the scoreboard more, he can also earn a more regular spot following return from his injury.
Down forward he will also have help with Fogarty and Michael Gibbons looking to keep regular spots. Adam Saad would love to have a big game against one of his old teams. He will look to help bolster the back line with a strong performance.
If Carlton are to prove they are back, it is simply a must-win. The depth is starting to show for the young Blues, who have proven they can win.
Therefore, Saturday night is all about how they back up last week by playing a solid four quarters against a ruck-less Gold Coast. They must continue to develop the young players who have good futures at Ikon Park.
Prediction: Carlton by 25 points.