Pratt's our 2009 inspiration: Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pratt's our 2009 inspiration: Blues

29/04/2009 03:53:54 PM Comments (0)

Resurgent Carlton will dedicate the remainder of its 2009 AFL campaign to former president Dick Pratt who has died at the age of 74.

Blues coach Brett Ratten said on Wednesday that the side would use the memory of Pratt as a motivating force which would be in the team's mind against Hawthorn on Saturday.

Stephen Kernahan, who succeeded Pratt as president, said the self-made billionaire was the saviour of the club.

"In early 2000 we were on our knees and it wasn't getting too much better and when Dick came along the hailstorm shut down and the sun came out, no doubt about it," Kernahan said.

He said Carlton is considering a permanent memorial to Pratt at Princes Park.

Ratten said Pratt's battle with prostate cancer had inspired the players.

"We did use it as a motivating factor (against the Western Bulldogs last week) knowing that he was at home and how we could help in that few hours," Ratten said.

"Is it a motivating force this week? I think it's going to be a motivating force for 2009 every week that we play.

"Our thoughts will be with Dick and what he's done for our club. This year we can maybe achieve something with his support and that will go on for every year that we play footy."

Pratt, the "cardboard king" who was fined more than $30 million over price-fixing charges against his company Visy, drew strength from his association from Carlton, Ratten said.

Meanwhile, Ratten said Carlton had undertaken an intensive planning program ahead of the game against premiers Hawthorn at the MCG.

"We've done a fair bit, they're up and they're starting to come," Ratten said.

"They've whacked us the last few times, the record's not flattering for us so we've put a fair bit of time in.

"They're playing a little bit different and they're No.1 in the competition for counter attacks out of the back 50 so they really use the ball well."

Ratten also singled out the impact that small forward Cyril Rioli has had on the Hawks' side, pointing to his flawless debut season last year.

"I think Cyril's a superstar," Ratten said. "In the next five years we'll look at Cyril and say he's in the top five in the competition. He's an out-and-out star.

"Then you've got Buddy (Franklin) and (Jarryd) Roughead down there who are equal on top of the goalkicking.

"They're ready to get up and go so this is a huge challenge for us."

Ratten said the match could also end up in a forward shootout between Franklin and Carlton spearhead Brendan Fevola, who are both due for breakout games.

"We could have two rockets going off at either end," Ratten said. "Hopefully ours is going a bit further and higher."

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