Cats on the rebound a worry for Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats on the rebound a worry for Blues

By Sam Lienert 28/05/2008 05:00:18 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten says Collingwood's thumping of Geelong is a handy lesson for every other AFL club, but unfortunately timed for the Blues.

Carlton meet the Cats at Telstra Dome on Saturday night and Ratten said there couldn't be a worse time to face them than after the sting of their first loss in nine months.

"It is definitely (the worst time)," Ratten said.

"They had a week off and Collingwood really came to play and they were switched on and sort of suffocated them early and got their own confidence up, but it's a huge challenge for us.

"Geelong are a great team and they just looked a little bit off.

"They'll be in the grand final again and they've got great players. What a challenge for our group to cop a great team like Geelong on the rebound."

Ratten said the Blues' task would be made even harder with key defender Jarrad Waite out suspended, while Michael Jamison is still out with a shoulder injury.

He said with Geelong ruckman-forward Brad Ottens to return for his first game of the season, the Carlton defence would have an enormous task.

"This is the biggest challenge that you get, the premiership team, they'll play in the grand final and their forward line is super talented," he said.

"Now Ottens comes back, he'll probably sit in the goal square and he'll take another one of our defenders, so that's a huge challenge for our boys."

But he said Carlton and every other AFL club would have taken note of the way the Magpies played in their 86-point thrashing of the Cats, with Collingwood's fierce tackling the key ingredient.

"It was a lesson for everyone," Ratten said.

"If you bring that game to the table, it doesn't matter if you play Geelong, Hawthorn, the Bulldogs, you're in with a chance and that's what Collingwood did.

"Tackle pressure, it is nearly the most important aspect of the game and it just shows, even as young players, if you do that well without winning the ball you can have an impact and assist the team."

Meanwhile, Ratten said the Blues' self-belief was at a high after coming from behind to defeat Fremantle on Saturday, with persistence a feature of their game in recent weeks.

"I think our fighting spirit to stick on, sometimes it's not going the way we want it, but we don't give up and I think that shows," he said.

Ratten said defender Bret Thornton and ruckman Cameron Cloke would both return from injury, with defender Thornton's return particularly important given the absence of Waite and Jamison.

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