- from afl.com.au
CARLTON coach Brendon Bolton is confident his young key defensive unit can nullify the influence of Tom Lynch after the Gold Coast star tore the Blues apart in round four.
The Suns spearhead was unstoppable with a career-best seven goals in Gold Coast's 26-point win at Etihad Stadium.
Despite the loss of experienced stopper Alex Silvagni to a knee injury, Bolton was sure Jacob Weitering, Caleb Marchbank, Lachie Plowman and the rejuvenated Liam Jones could turn the tables on Lynch in Saturday night's return clash at Metricon Stadium.
The coach's optimism comes from the fact his young side kept a potent Greater Western Sydney attack to just nine goals in last week's stirring victory.
"(Alex 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 said at Melbourne Airport on Friday.
"(Lynch is) a quality mark, in fact, he's probably as good as anyone in the competition in the air.
"We expect exactly the same this week that they stand up."
The task of containing arguably the AFL's best key forward should be assigned to Jones at some stage of the game, and a good job on Lynch will go a long way to proving last week's starring performance against the Giants wasn't a flash in the pan.
Bolton said the "signs are promising" the penny has finally dropped for the former Bulldog in the last season of a three-year deal.
"That's just a little hint for him that he can do it at the level in that position," Bolton said of Jones.
"It's only one game, and he and us are fully aware of that.
"It's just not 'Jonesy's' mindset that gave him the opportunity, there's a lot of coaching in and around that."
Like Jones, midfielder Blaine Boekhorst is a player looking to resurrect his AFL career after playing just 18 games in three seasons at the Blues.
Taken with pick 19 in the 2014 NAB AFL draft, the 23-year-old has earned his first senior game of the season following impressive form at VFL level.
"He's a really good runner, plays the wing/half-forward role really, really well, and he's earned his spot," Bolton said.
"That's something we need to make sure we continue to do is reward those who are playing good footy at VFL level."
Second-year key forward Harry McKay will travel with the side to the Sunshine State as an emergency, but will fly home on Saturday to play in the VFL unless a teammate suffers a mishap.
Bolton said the former first-round pick was "close" to a senior debut after battling back injuries, but the 19-year-old needed to do more at state league level.
"Like all our youngsters we're looking for real consistent form in and around VFL level, and he's striving towards that," Bolton said.
"I would hope that if he continues along the way he is at the moment he'll get an opportunity before the year is out."