Carlton's finals hopes have already sailed but the Blues are intent on shaping the eight, beating a fading Gold Coast team by 39 points on Saturday afternoon at Etihad Stadium.
The Blues outmuscled their opponents from the beginning and were never headed, winning 14.13 (97) to 8.10 (58) and leaving the SUNS facing an uphill battle to play finals.
The result left Gold Coast with a 10-9 record, and they could be one game and significant percentage outside the top eight by the end of the round if Collingwood beats West Coast on Sunday.
The player to benefit most from the SUNS falling stocks was tall forward Jarrad Waite, who continued a superb run of form since returning to the team in round 18 to kick five goals and take nine marks.
Gold Coast midfielder Michael Rischitelli left the game in the second quarter with an apparent hip complaint and Trent McKenzie sat out the fourth quarter after suffering a head knock.
Without injured captain Gary Ablett, the SUNS' lack of a game-turner in the midfield was obvious.
Young on-ballers Harley Bennell, Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia have all seen their numbers drop without Ablett, combining for 8.2 fewer possessions a game before Saturday's clash.
Bennell (27 disposals) and O'Meara (26) won their share on Saturday, but didn't impact the contest like they could alongside Ablett. Prestia was tagged out of the game by Andrew Carrazzo,
SUNS coach Guy McKenna made sure Kade Simpson and Dale Thomas were more accountable across half-back after the main break and the Blues' scoring dried up as a result with both teams kicking 1.4 in the third quarter.
The heat was well and truly out of the game when the SUNS kicked three goals to two in the final term.
Midfielder David Swallow was probably his team's best player on a disappointing day for the SUNS, finishing with nine tackles and 19 possessions.
Gold Coast faces Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium next week.
CARLTON 4.2 11.6 12.10 14.12 (97)
GOLD COAST 1.1 4.3 5.6 8.10 (58)
Carlton: Waite 5, Bell 4, Judd 2, Thomas, Gibbs, McLean
Gold Coast: Harbrow 2, Hall, Martin, Stanley, Swallow, Lynch, O'Meara
Carlton: Judd, Waite, Simpson, Thomas, Gibbs, Murphy, Bell
Gold Coast: Swallow, O'Meara, Thompson
Carlton: Yarran (calf)
Gold Coast: Rischitelli (left hip), McKenzie (concussion)
Carlton: Nick Graham replaced Chris Yarran in the first quarter.
Gold Coast: Brandon Matera replaced Michael Rischitelli in the second quarter.
Umpires: Burgess, Wenn, Findlay
Official crowd: 28,840 at Etihad Stadium.