Blues still confident on Kouta - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues still confident on Kouta

10/03/2005 08:26:58 PM Comments (0)

Carlton is likely to head into one of its most significant games of the past three years minus captain Anthony Koutoufides, who remains in doubt for Saturday night's AFL Wizard Cup grand final against West Coast at Telstra Dome.

Koutoufides missed the past two pre-season games because of a build-up of fluid on his knee and trained at only half-pace on Thursday before leaving the track about 15 minutes before his teammates.

Carlton's worry is a stark contrast to West Coast, which recalled midfield stars Chris Judd, Andrew Embley and Chad Fletcher and utility Beau Waters for the club's first night grand final.

Carlton coach Denis Pagan was confident both before and after training that Koutoufides would play, but said it would depend on what sort of swelling he suffers on Friday, which would give the Blues a definite answer.

"It won't be a matter of whose call it is, if it blows up he won't play, if it doesn't blow up he'll play," Pagan said before training.

"It's as simple as that."

After watching his star train and discussing his knee troubles with him during the session, Pagan told reporters: "We think he's OK, it's going to be the test tomorrow morning.

"He trained well, he's done everything we've asked of him ... the last time I said he's going to play but he pulled out the next day, but we reckon he'll be OK."

Although underdogs, a Carlton win would be a massive filip for a club which has finished 15th, 16th and 11th in the past three seasons - the leanest trot of its history - and despite West Coast coach John Worsfold's insistence this clash was just another practice game, Pagan said it was the perfect tune-up for the season proper.

"I think it goes without saying, if you get to the grand final you want to win it, it doesn't matter who you are," he said.

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