Carlton Blues / Round 4 Preview: Carlton vs. Gold Coast

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Round 4 Preview: Carlton vs. Gold Coast

Written by Bryce Whitney (@AFLBryce) on 14 April 2017

Carlton fans have been on a well-deserved high this week after taking down the archenemy, Essendon. The Blues will look to go back-to-back and be 2-2 on the season, but it won’t be easy.

Gold Coast embarrassed the Hawks at Metricon Stadium last week and will be looking to carry their form into Etihad when they take on the Blues on Saturday night.

IN: Zac Fisher, Charlie Curnow
OUT: Sam Kerridge (Omitted), Rhys Palmer (Omitted)

Zac Fisher will make his debut for the Blues, who have included the 18-year-old in their starting squad.

Charlie Curnow will come back into the team after spending a week on the sidelines, while Rhys Palmer and Sam Kerridge have shown that is going to take more effort than what they provided last week to stay in the side.

Carlton has started to get an enormous amount of depth in their team, which makes selectors jobs very tough week-to-week.

What I’ll be watching

The crowd

Carlton fans showed up in flocks against the Bombers, but it’s going to be important to have Blues fans come to Etihad just the same.

The Blues have just given the supporters hope with the win last week, so the fans need to return the favour. A crowd of 20,000 isn’t going to be good enough. Bluebaggers need to be out in force to get 30,000+ into Etihad. The players need to know their members and supporters are with them every week and have invested in their present and future.

Kouta will ring the blue bell to get the match started on Saturday night, and get the baggers pumped to take out the Suns.

The debutant

The Blues have blooded four debutants this season in their first three games and will debut a fifth against the Suns.

Pick 27 in last year's draft, Zac Fisher doesn’t stray away from a contest and will be seen bursting away from the pack on countless occasions throughout his career. Fisher made his debut for the Northern Blues on the weekend and racked up 16 touches and two goals, both of which came in the last quarter.

After the great game he played on the weekend, he’s going into battle against the Suns. Carlton has made it known through their documentary series ‘The Journey’, that they will be drafting players that have great character, respect, and embody the spirit of the Carlton Football Club. Fisher is very levelheaded, ticks off all of the above and will be one of the cogs of our midfield in the future.

Repeated effort

Last week was about four quarters of a solid effort from an entire team. To move forward as a club, we must have the same structure, intensity, and togetherness as last week. To maintain this effort, the players need put the team first, follow the game plan, and keep up the tackling pressure.

Tackling is a big part of what won the game last week, so it will be necessary for us to keep up at a high standard. The win against the Bombers was a relatively smooth process from start to finish, but that was only made possible by sticking to a precise plan.

Key matchups

Does Sam Rowe go to Tom Lynch?

Rowe has done managed to shut down some of the best forwards in the competition over the first three rounds, including Riewoldt and Hogan.

Tom Lynch is a big body who can do damage to the Blues, as he showed us early in the 2016 season when he kicked four goals in the Suns 54 point victory. Tom Lynch will be a huge challenge for Rowe, but he has shown that he is up to the task.

Battle in the Ruck

Jarrod Witts has been something of a revelation for the Suns this year, after being recruited for the #1 ruck role. He recorded a season-high 40 hit-outs last week against the Hawks and will make the Sun's midfielders job a lot easier if he can produce the same effort.

Kreuzer was in our best last week with his constant attack on the ball; he recorded 11 tackles along with a career-high eight clearances. An injury-free Kreuzer is crucial to a successful Carlton team and can contribute to winning us the game out of the ruck.

Dominating the midfield

There are some damaging players in the Sun's midfield. Superstar Gary Ablett is the biggest threat to Carlton, and we may see a run with role by Simon White or Ed Curnow in an attempt to shut him down.

David Swallow has returned to the Sun's midfield and managed 34 touches and six tackles against the Hawks last week. He is another player that will test our interior, but it’s up to guys like Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy to lead from the front like they did last week. We were overrun by the Suns last season in every area, so exacting some revenge for the Carlton faithful would be a great sight.

My prediction

Carlton's structure looked sharp last week, Gold Coast will be on a high from the win against Hawthorn, but Carlton’s coaching and young talent will be good.

The Blues by 19.