Carlton will take on Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium in what looms another must-win for David Teague’s men.
Carlton come in to this game in reasonable form. After their most disappointing loss of the year to North Melbourne, the Blues were able to respond with a comfortable, exciting, 31-point win over the St Kilda last Friday night.
The Suns got completely outclassed by Melbourne by almost 100 points, going down by 98 points.
For Carlton, they have made it past seven wins in a season for the first time since 2013, and facing Gold Coast at home, they should see it as a massive opportunity to build towards ten wins for the year and still push for that unlikeliest of finals appearances.
The last time these sides met, Carlton were able to win a close encounter in Round 4 on the Gold Coast, holding out by 11 points in the end.
These are the players that could make a difference to this game for both sides.
For Carlton, these were the players that stood out against St Kilda. Harry McKay was sorely missed against North Melbourne. In his return game, he managed to kick five goals, along with 11 kicks and seven marks.
Sam Walsh had 26 disposals, 13 kicks, 13 handballs and three goals. Patrick Cripps had 26 disposals, eight kicks, 18 handballs and a goal. Jack Silvagni had 25 disposals, 12 kicks, 12 handballs, five marks and a goal.
Charlie Curnow returned, and will look to have more of an impact in this encounter after his team-lifting goal in the second quarter. He will be looking to find better form after a quiet return.
As for the Suns, the players that could make a difference and that stood out against Melbourne included the following players.
Alex Sexton had 14 disposals, ten kicks and four handballs. Touk Miller had 34 disposals, 19 kicks and 15 handballs. David Swallow had 26 disposals, 17 kicks, nine handballs and nine marks. Noah Anderson had 23 disposals, 14 kicks and nine handballs.
David Teague’s job was well and truly on the line after Carlton’s horror loss to North Melbourne, but Carlton really did respond last week against the Saints.
Having McKay and Curnow return from their injuries has provided with Blues with a lot more structure and quality.
If Teague really wants to keep his job, and Carlton are to truly prove to the AFL world that they are improving, they simply must win this one.
If we are talking nine to ten wins for Carlton, then that is a certain pass mark for them this year, as getting past seven wins was a start for them.
I expect that Carlton can continue to show the form they showed last week against a struggling Gold Coast outfit, sitting in 15th.
They simply must get the job done. It is crucial for their up-and-coming, young side to gain confidence and learn consistency now.
Prediction: Carlton by 36 points.