Curnow lifts Blues to comfortable win over Suns

Anna Harrington |

Charlie Curnow (c), who scored four goals in Carlton’s 29-point win over Gold Coast, takes a mark.
Charlie Curnow (c), who scored four goals in Carlton’s 29-point win over Gold Coast, takes a mark.

Charlie Curnow has stood tall when it counted to deliver Carlton a 29-point win over Gold Coast and steer the Blues back into the AFL top eight.

The Blues’ poor goal kicking and failure to capitalise on dominance around the ball in the first half almost proved costly at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, while Curnow was well held early by boom Sun Mac Andrew.

But Carlton broke away in the third term, with two big contested marks and goals from Curnow ensuring the contest stayed in their favour, before kicking away for a 15.12 (102) to 11.7 (73) win.

Curnow’s four second-half goals, plus four from Zac Williams, did the job in attack in front of 39,597 fans.

Zac Williams.
Zac Williams scored four goals in Carlton’s comfortable win over the Suns. (Rob Prezioso/AAP PHOTOS)

Midfielders Sam Walsh (32 disposals) and Patrick Cripps (31 touches, 13 clearances) and ruckman Tom De Koning (25 touches, 10 clearances) were prolific.

It was a disappointing showing from the Suns after their thumping of Geelong nine days earlier.

Andrew (10 marks) was dominant early but was ultimately eclipsed by Curnow, while Ben King booted three goals but missed two gettable chances.

Blues fans were incensed by a lopsided free-kick count throughout, with Carlton receiving just three across the opening three quarters.

Sixth-placed Carlton, who have a mounting injury list, had lost three of their previous four games heading into Saturday’s showdown.

Gold Coast suffered a pre-game blow of their own, with in-form Sam Flanders ruled out through illness and replaced by Alex Davies.

Carlton smashed the Suns around the ball early and kicked the first three goals of the game, with Williams snagging two.

But Carlton failed to take advantage of their first-quarter dominance and let Gold Coast back into the game, despite dominating contested possessions (43-27), clearances (14-10) and inside-50s (14-8).

King and Lloyd Johnston gave the Suns a foothold in the game, with the latter celebrating his goal with a backflip, and they trailed by nine at quarter-time.

The Sus trailed by seven at the main break but couldn’t find the clinical edge required to snatch the lead in the third term as Curnow stepped up.

A contentious 50-metre penalty against McKay for crashing into Jarrod Witts kept the Suns alive.

But a wonderful late goal from Matt Kennedy allowed Carlton to enter three-quarter-time with a 17-point buffer.

Then the Blues cranked up the heat, with two goals from Curnow and Williams’ fourth putting the game to bed.