Swans suffocation 'will sharpen Blues' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans suffocation 'will sharpen Blues'

By Roger Vaughan 15/04/2009 05:51:03 PM Comments (0)

Sydney, the AFL's kings of stoppages suffocation, will quickly show whether Carlton have learnt their lessons from the upset loss to Essendon.

The Blues will have no choice at the SCG on Saturday but to sharpen their play in and around the packs, a part of their game that infuriated coach Brett Ratten last Saturday night at the MCG.

After starting the season with two impressive wins, the Blues kept Essendon in the game early with inaccurate goalkicking and then went down by four points in a high-quality game.

Ratten was particularly incensed post-match that Bombers midfielder Jobe Watson had been able to able to snap a left-foot goal from a clearance with minimal pressure.

He agreed that Carlton must give Sydney no latitude in close, where the Swans excel.

Ratten noted that while the Blues average around 80 stoppages a game, Sydney have around 110.

"There's no doubt about, we have to be spot-on with it, because we'll get replay after replay and they seem to somehow find a loophole every time," Ratten said.

"They're the best at it and we'll get some really good practice around stoppages and set plays, things like that.

"They've been a team that's absolutely mauled (other) teams in the way they've played.

"We need to be prepared for that constant combat, you could say - one-on-one, ball in tight, win your own footy."

Carlton will also have to overcome some poor recent history concerning the Swans - they have an 11-game losing streak against Sydney, dating back to 2001, and they have lost their last six games at the SCG.

Their last win at the ground was in 1993.

"Back then I was a dashing wingman, all that leg speed I had," joked the Blues coach, whose pace was never a feature of his outstanding AFL career.

"We need to change that ... it's just a good opportunity for us to maybe fix up a record that's not flattering and get back on the bike."

Ratten said Dennis Armfield would definitely return to the team, while Heath Scotland and Setanta O'hAilpin are also chances for recalls.

The Blues coach was also amused by the news out of Sydney that Adam Goodes wants to play on Carlton captain Chris Judd, repeating their epic battles from when Judd was at West Coast.

"Juddy is going to play full-forward, so Adam can play (fullback)," said Ratten.

"'Fev' (Brendan Fevola) can play in the pocket.

"I don't know if Paul (Swans coach Paul Roos) will want Goodes to play on him or does he want Kirk to play on him?

"Juddy will be around the ball, somewhere."

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