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Opposition watch: Gold Coast

Jacqueline Guldon, Carlton Media  June 16, 2017 5:46 PM

Bolton previews Suns clash Brendon Bolton fronted the media at the airport this morning, with the boys heading up north for the Round 13 match against Gold Coast.

After a hard-fought victory over premiership favourite Greater Western Sydney, Carlton is in line for another litmus test – the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium.

Under the lights at the Suns’ home deck, the Blues will look to secure their first interstate victory of the season and consolidate back-to-back wins on Saturday night. 

The Round 13 clash will see Gold Coast return home after defeating Hawthorn by 16 points at the MCG. With a win against West Coast one week prior, the match against Carlton will have Rodney Eade’s charges attempt to square the premiership ledger at six wins and six losses.

When the two sides last met just nine weeks ago, it was the red and gold outfit which stole the show on the Blues’ home stage with a 26-point win.

In that match Carlton captain Marc Murphy gathered the most possessions for the Blues with 28 disposals, but in opposing colours, Gary Ablett (34 disposals), Aaron Hall (29) and Brandon Matera (29 and three goals) dominated the midfield.

And while Blues youngster Jack Silvagni was lively with three goals and 10 marks, Gold Coast co-captain Tom Lynch starred to damaging effect, booting seven of his side’s 17 majors.

Ahead of the second 2017 encounter between Gold Coast and Carlton, the Suns’ spearhead said a complete performance would be required if his team was to do the double against the Blues.

“If we don’t bring 100 percent effort (against Carlton) we won’t come away with the four points,” Lynch told the Media on Tuesday. 

“They (Blues) were super on the weekend (against GWS): it’s going to be really tough.”

When the teams meet again on Saturday night, Carlton will take to the field with a new weapon in defence – Liam Jones.

Jones pulled on the navy blue last Sunday for the first time since Round 23, 2016, following his recent success as a backman in the VFL. Standing at 198cm tall, he was a valued inclusion in defence alongside youngsters Caleb Marchbank and Jacob Weitering, with the three combining to curtail GWS talls Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton. 

While the Blues will face the Suns without Alex Silvagni (injured), senior coach Brendon Bolton was confident his charges in defence could back up its appearance against GWS. 

"(Silvagni is) a significant loss, but in saying that we think Marchbank, Weitering, Plowman and Jones all stood up last week against a quality opposition," Bolton told the media on Friday.

“We’d expect exactly the same this week, that they stand up.” 

Superstar midfielder Gary Ablett could be the difference in this week’s clash, with the two-time Brownlow Medallist ranked second in the league for disposals, averaging 32.6 per game and fourth for centre clearances, averaging 3.5 each time he laces up his boots.   

With Ablett in rich form, Bolton said the Blues would be wary of the 33-year-old. 

“The string of form that he’s (Ablett) put together in the last month or so still states that he’s as good as anyone in the competition,” Bolton said.

“We’ve got to keep a strong eye on him."

While the Suns will field an unchanged line-up for the first time this season, the Blues have replaced injured pair Alex Silvagni and Liam Sumner with a returning Samo Petrevski-Seton and Blaine Boekhorst - the latter featuring in the senior side for the first time this season.

Carlton and Gold Coast will go head-to-head for the eighth time from 7:25pm on Saturday night.