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Preview: Blues vs. Suns

Howard Kotton, AFL Media  April 12, 2017 9:18 AM

Injury Update | Round 3 Head of Football Andrew McKay brings you the latest injury news after Round 3.

SUMMARY

Both teams will be full of confidence after breaking through for their first win of the season last Sunday, setting up an intriguing contest at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. The Suns put a tumultuous week behind them with a record-breaking win over the Hawks at home, but their first visit to Melbourne presents a fresh challenge for Rodney Eade's men. Carlton produced a superb performance in the wet to overcome arch rival Essendon and coach Brendon Bolton will demand the same effort and intensity under totally different conditions. Both midfields are in top form, with the duel between in-form ruckmen Matthew Kreuzer and Jarrod Witts likely to be decisive. The Blues have won the only two encounters between the clubs at this venue comfortably and they should make it three from three.

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday, April 15, 7.25pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

PAST FIVE TIMES

R3, 2016, Gold Coast 13.17 (95) d Carlton 5.11 (41) at Metricon Stadium
R13, 2015, Carlton 14.19 (103) d Gold Coast 9.15 (69) at Etihad Stadium
R20, 2014, Carlton 14.13 (97) d Gold Coast 8.10 (58) at Etihad Stadium
R18, 2013, Carlton 16.24 (120) d Gold Coast 11.11 (77) at Metricon Stadium
R22, 2012, Gold Coast 15.8 (98) d Carlton 11.20 (86) at Metricon Stadium
 

THE SIX POINTS

1. When these clubs last played Gold Coast dominated the second half, kicking eight goals to two. Aaron Hall collected three Brownlow votes with 40 disposals. Tom Lynch kicked four goals and Jack Martin three.

2. The Suns are No.1 for centre clearances in 2017, averaging 18.7 a game. The Blues are ranked equal ninth with an average of 14.

3. Carlton and Gold Coast clash for the seventh time and the Blues hold the advantage, winning four games to two. Only one game between the clubs has been decided by less than 20 points.

4. The Suns handball more than any other team, averaging 196.7 a game – 10 more than the next best, the Western Bulldogs. In contrast the Blues are ranked last.

5. The Suns' recent history at Etihad Stadium is not good, losing their past five games. They have not won at the venue since round nine, 2014.

6. Gold Coast co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May are in the top five in their categories in the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Lynch is ranked third in the key forwards with 471.7 points and May fourth in the key defenders with 422.1 points.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Gary Ablett

The veteran midfielder responded to a week of intense scrutiny with a vintage performance against the Hawks last Sunday, finishing with 36 disposals and kicking two goals. In his 100th game for the Suns on Saturday night he can expect plenty of close attention from the Blues, notably the reliable Ed Curnow.