Carlton’s miserable six-game losing streak is over after beating a disappointing 59-point Gold Coast in the MCG to ease the pressure on coach Michael Voss.
The Blues got going with an exceptional 9.3 to 0.3 score in the second quarter and opened Sunday’s game with 30 minutes of power.
After conceding the first two goals of the game, Carlton conceded the next 12 in a performance more reminiscent of the 8-2 start to the 2022 season than this year’s disappointing season.
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The Blues’ streak of unanswered goals was the highest in 25 years as they clinched an 18.12 (120) to 8.13 (61) win after the Suns mostly matched after halftime.
However, the damage was done during a devastating period of dominance in the second quarter, with the 54-point lead the second-highest all-time this season after Geelong beat Hawthorn 10.5 to 0.0 on Easter Monday.
They had lost their last six games and eight of their last nine, disappointing the club’s large fan base, who dreamed of ending their ten-year losing streak at the finals.
Unlike the past few weeks, when the Blues were booed, fans gave their team a standing ovation as the players exited the MCG at half-time and cheered as Carlton scored 100 points for the third time this season.
Carlton’s beleaguered midfield rallied, unsigned tall Tom De Koning firing into the scrum and allowing Brownlow medalists Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra to dominate the Suns’ young brigade of Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson.
In his 100th game, Harry McKay finished with a game-best three-major win, giving a confidence boost to the 2021 Coleman medalist, who has had some mental demons en route to goal that year.
As good as Carlton was, Gold Coast’s lack of work in the second quarter was a major problem for a team that had ambitions to reach a final for the first time in their 13-year history.
The Suns pulled off impressive victories against final contenders Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs in Darwin.
But the farewell came at a bad time for Gold Coast as they put on their worst performance of the season when a win would have catapulted them into the top eight.
The Blues’ upcoming farewell will be much more gratifying after a much-needed win before they take on Hawthorn in Round 16 at the MCG.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast (6-7) have an important two weeks ahead at Heritage Bank Stadium, with home games against Hawthorn and Premiership favorites Collingwood still to come.