Judd back to his best for Blues: Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Judd back to his best for Blues: Ratten

By Sam Lienert 30/07/2008 06:06:51 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten believes Chris Judd has rediscovered his trademark burst of speed and could be poised to make a late Brownlow Medal surge.

While the former Eagles premiership skipper has had a major influence on the Blues' improved fortunes this season, he has taken time to regain the zip that was so devastating earlier in his career.

He limped through the second half of his final season with West Coast last year, before requiring post-season groin surgery.

His best work so far this year has mostly been carried out in the packs.

But Ratten said Judd demonstrated with a superb best-on-ground performance against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday night that his pace was back as a major weapon.

"We sort of looked through the game and you watch that chase, he gave Ryan Griffen 10m, 12m headstart and ran him down to touch him and force a kick out of bounds," Ratten said.

"You just think Ryan Griffen is a very quick player and Chris Judd just took that sort of gap off him in a short period of time.

"Maybe the way the game was played helped him as well with his running through the game ... he's thought for a while now he's been at 100 per cent."

Despite the early-season fitness queries and pressure of making one of the highest-profile moves in the game's history, Ratten said Judd had already made a remarkable impact.

"It's not an easy thing to change clubs and come in and have a massive effect," Ratten said.

"... He's sort of come in with a bit of a bang, I suppose, and really imprinted his style and what he represents in footy."

Ratten said the 2004 Brownlow winner's vote-attracting history - he polled votes in each of the first eight rounds last year - meant he could again be in the frame for this year's award.

"When he does play well he virtually gets the three (votes)," Ratten said.

"So if you can put in four or five games that you think he's got three votes, well he'll probably get them, he seems to always capture the umpires' eyes and he's a fair player, he plays the ball.

"... So that will give him votes, but I don't know if he's done it consistently enough for the whole year.

"Maybe the last five weeks might tell a different tale."

With the stunning, comeback win over the second-placed Bulldogs reviving Carlton's finals hopes, Ratten said they would take confidence into Saturday's crucial clash with Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Their previous solid interstate record this season - a comfortable win over West Coast at Subiaco in round seven and a stirring comeback against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in round seven - further boosted their belief.

"The great thing about the group at the moment is when we do go away there's a lot of unity and you get that bond," he said.

Meanwhile, Ratten defended full-forward Brendan Fevola against a suggestion by Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade that his opinions on the game were worthless.

The Blues star described the Bulldogs as "unaccountable" after the match, prompting Eade to sarcastically label him "the oracle on football".

"I don't know whether Brendan knows much about footy, does he? He knows how to play full-forward, he knows how to kick goals, but I wouldn't take much notice of Brendan, I don't know whether people do," Eade told radio SEN.

But Ratten said Fevola deserved more credit as a student of the game.

"I'd like Rodney to maybe have a chat to Brendan and see his footy brain," he said.

"He's very articulate about his football and what he knows about the game and his understanding of the game."

However, he said he would have preferred Fevola not to publicly criticise the Bulldogs.

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