Senior Coach Stuart Dew believes the first quarter of the match against Carlton is absolutely crucial for his team to arrest its dip in form over the last six quarters.

The SUNS dropped away in the second half against Brisbane a fortnight ago, before being beaten by Melbourne convincingly last weekend.

Carlton currently sit 12th on the ladder and Dew said it was important the SUNS start well against the Blues to set the tone for the match.

“They've still got finals on the horizon so we expect their best,” Dew said.

“We expect a pretty intense game… I think that they've shown in the last few weeks that they're best is really good and that's what we've planned for.

“From our end we're going to make sure that we can disrupt that as much as possible by bringing our strengths to the table.

“We also need to get on the front foot a lot more, we were up against the ropes last week and we were able to box on marginally for the first 20 minutes and then it fell away from there.

“So we're looking for a really good start and to et the game on our terms as much as possible against the Blues because when they get a run on they're very dangerous they’ve got good firepower.”

The team has been in Melbourne since last weekend, and Dew said the players and staff were prepared to do whatever was necessary to ensure the season can continue amongst the COVID uncertainty.

With three games remaining in the regular season, he said it was important for the club to finish strongly.

“There's always something to be gained,” Dew said.

“That's short term but also to springboard into next year.

“We're obviously currently away from home, but we’ve got to try and narrow the focus and concentrate on tomorrow and make sure that we do our absolute best to get the win.

“We're very, very lucky. We know industries and businesses are hurt and have had to shut down so we're aware of our responsibility, but also our opportunity so our guys are really grateful that we're able to continue to play.”

The match against Carlton will be played at 1:45pm at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.