Carlton coach fires back at Port rival - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carlton coach fires back at Port rival

11/06/2008 07:34:48 PM Comments (0)

The sniping warfare between Carlton and Port Adelaide has escalated with Blues coach Brett Ratten branding his Power counterpart Mark Williams a sore loser.

The bad blood between the two AFL clubs started when Port's Chad Cornes unintentionally suggested the Blues were easybeats before their clash last Sunday.

Ratten responded by contending that Port were heading for a fall if they thought they could "downhill ski" over his men.

Ratten also accused the Power of playing "outside" the packs - code for soft - and Blues spearhead Brendan Fevola suggested Cornes did not put his head over the ball.

Williams said he believed his players would show the tag to be untrue but he added further fuel to the simmering tensions by claiming the Blues "hoarded first-round draft picks".

He also said Carlton had "pinched" chief executive Greg Swann from Collingwood and bought their way out of trouble through chairman Richard Pratt's money.

Although Williams' remarks preceded Carlton's remarkable comeback win at AAMI Stadium last Sunday, Ratten set the tone for more barbs to come before the clubs' return bout in round 19.

"Personally, I didn't think Mark would be such a bad loser, but that's the way it goes," Ratten said.

"He doesn't have to (apologise); that's his point of view and that's the way he sees it.

"He'll talk about first-round draft picks, (but) I thought every team got a first-round draft pick when they go to the draft."

Williams has stood by his comments but admitted the Blues were the better team on Sunday.

"They played well, they deserved to win the game and there's no doubting they've still got a lot of money there and owe a lot to the draft picks," Williams told the Seven Network.

But Ratten believed Williams was trying to shift attention away from the Power's record of surrendering big leads against Brisbane, Hawthorn and Carlton, which prompted the Port coach to concede his players were "chokers".

"Maybe (his comments) might be to deflect what he's got going on over there," Ratten said.

Carlton stormed back from 30 points down at three-quarter time to win by 12 points.

Ratten said the victory was character-building for the team and gave him ammunition to return fire to a parochial Port crowd.

"I think at three-quarter time when I walked down, I copped a few handy sprays so you're sort of looking for people saying `Where are you now?'" Ratten said.

"It's just refreshing to know that our players, in any situation that they're thrown into, they can work their way through, stick to the team rules and what we put in place at three-quarter time."

Ratten was also pleased with captain Chris Judd's leadership, Bryce Gibbs' response to a serve to shut down Port playmaker Cornes and said Matthew Kreuzer's match-winning three-goal effort in the final term would give him tremendous self-belief.

But he said this Sunday's blockbuster against arch-rival Collingwood in front of more than 80,000 fans at the MCG would be a great test for his young team.

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