Blues through to pre-season semi-final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues through to pre-season semi-final

01/03/2009 09:37:47 PM Comments (0)

Reaching the semi-finals of the AFL pre-season competition won't sway Carlton coach Brett Ratten from his plan to give his stars adequate rest before the season proper.

The Blues secured their place in the last four by coming back to beat reigning premiers Hawthorn by 24 points at Docklands on Sunday night, 2.13.16 (112) to 2.10.10 (88).

But Ratten flagged the possibility of stars Chris Judd, Brendan Fevola and Marc Murphy either sitting out Saturday night's semi against Geelong or having reduced roles given the focus is entirely on the March 26 season-opener against Richmond.

Carlton trailed by 30 points early in the second quarter, but rallied with seven goals in the third term on the back of Fevola's four goals and the influence of Judd, Murphy and Bryce Gibbs against under-strength Hawthorn.

Although pleased with the fightback, Ratten said he was not compelled to field his strongest team next weekend.

"No ... we've headed with this agenda for the start of the NAB Cup series," he said.

"Geelong yesterday, they gave (Gary) Ablett and (Cameron) Ling and (Matthew) Scarlett and all these blokes a rest, and if it means we have to do something similar for our preparation for round one, we'll do that."

Asked who he might be granted the night off against the Cats, Ratten said: "Maybe Juddy might, Brendan will be looked at and we're keen to have a look at the loads that Murphy and (Kade) Simpson have had because they played the (international) rules series.

"Then we'll see what game time other players get, like Gibbs and so forth, whether they're just subs ... we'll assess what happened tonight and what the output was from the GPS and stuff like that."

Geelong reached the semi-finals with an 18-point win over Port Adelaide on Saturday.

The winner of the Cats-Blues game will play the winner of Friday night's semi, to be played between Collingwood and Essendon.

The Magpies opened the second round of the pre-season competition by beating Richmond by 46 points last Thursday night, although Ben Cousins made an encouraging debut for the Tigers.

The Bombers beat the Brisbane Lions by two points on Friday night.

In the next round of practice games, the Lions and Melbourne play in Cairns, St Kilda and Richmond clash in Shepparton, Sydney host the Western Bulldogs, Adelaide and Hawthorn meet in Berri, West Coast and Fremantle play a derby at Subiaco and North Melbourne and Port clash at Princes Park.

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