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Carlton finally break winning streak

13/04/2008 07:25:46 PM Comments (0)

Coach Brett Ratten felt an 80kg weight lift off his back after Carlton finally snapped their losing streak at a record-equalling 14 games with a 23-point triumph over Collingwood at the MCG.

Led by a seven-goal haul from spearhead Brendan Fevola, the Blues led at every change to record their first victory since early June last year, 17.9 (111) to 13.10 (88).

Their 14 straight defeats since then had equalled their worst-ever run set way back in 1901-02, while the victory was also Ratten's first in 10 games as coach.

"Under a bit of adversity today I thought our boys really stuck together and supported each other fantastically," said Ratten.

"I felt like about 80 kilos just jumped off my back.

"It's just good.

"You always reflect on your first win, as a player and as a coach ... I had to stand in the circle with the six blokes who won their first game and we sang the song."

The Blues had heroes everywhere, including Fevola, centre half-back Jarrad Waite and rising midfield stars Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs.

Then there were the unsung types like Michael Jamison, Paul Bower and Shaun Grigg, who more than held their own against big-name Magpies Paul Medhurst, Travis Cloke and Heath Shaw.

Carlton set the physical standard early with Gibbs (twice), Heath Scotland and Bret Thornton all laying crucial tackles in the first term.

They led at every change and, most importantly, refused to be rattled early in the last quarter when Collingwood kicked two goals in less than a minute.

Fevola kicked three of his seven goals in the final term and also laid on another one for Grigg to sent the Carlton fans in the 77,873-strong crowd into Blue heaven.

"When (Fevola) chases players down and that pressure he puts on, that helps our backline enormously and the midfield," said Ratten.

"If he kicks 10 goals that's fantastic.

"If he kicks two when he's chasing blokes down like that, I can never complain."

Collingwood coach Michael Malthouse defended his decision to leave Harry O'Brien on Fevola for all but a few minutes of the final quarter.

"I think what (O'Brien) will take out of that is that Carlton used the ball far better and Superman, or Batman nor Spiderman wouldn't have done any better," he said.

"When Fevola is in the zone he's pretty hard to stop."

Collingwood's better players included midfielders Dane Swan and Ben Johnson, but they struggled in attack all day with key forwards Cloke and Anthony Rocca only managing one goal apiece.

"We're not blaming anyone ... I'm saying Carlton were better than us in most areas of the game today," said Malthouse.

"Otherwise I'd be over-estimating and not giving true value to Carlton's win.

"They were very, very good."

Carlton midfielder Nick Stevens was reported in the third quarter for striking Magpies forward Alan Didak, although there appeared to be little in the incident.

The Blues are now in the box seat to win two straight games as they play hapless Melbourne next weekend at the MCG.

The Magpies' next match is against North Melbourne.

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