Ratten happy mixing it with the big boys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ratten happy mixing it with the big boys

By Roger Vaughan 02/05/2009 08:15:59 PM Comments (0)

Carlton are showing they can now match it with the big boys.

A week after belting the Western Bulldogs, the Blues were gutted after losing their AFL match to defending premiers Hawthorn by only four points.

The Hawks had handed the Blues a couple of hidings in the last two seasons and coach Brett Ratten made sure his players realised the significance of doing so well against a team renowned for workrate and talent.

"We spoke after the game about the intensity required and Hawthorn are the benchmark, to win the grand final and how well they do a lot of things in the game," Ratten said.

"The pleasing aspect out of this game, (where) we should take a lot of confidence, is that's the intensity you have to play week in, week out and we, to a degree, matched Hawthorn.

"We get a lot of positives out of that ... our challenge is can we repeat that, regardless of who we play." Carlton have arrogantly marketed their memberships this season with the slogan "They Know We're Coming" and they have a point.

But the Blues paid for not making the most of their chances in the first half against Hawthorn, when they had 31 inside 50s to 19 yet still trailed by nine points at the main break.

Ratten also admitted they were surprised at the start of the last term.

The Blues had closed the third quarter well, kicking two goals to reduce the margin to only one point.

Plus, they knew they were the only team that had won every final quarter so far this season.

But Hawthorn kicked five out of six goals to lead by 25 points, before Carlton's late charge.

"We thought we could run over the top of them, but to their credit they found another level and in an eight-minute patch they went 'bang'," Ratten said.

The loss capped an emotional week for Carlton players who wore black armbands in honour of former president Richard Pratt.

Carlton will dedicate the rest of their season to the billionaire and passionate Blues fan, who effectively saved the club two years ago.

"No doubt, it has been a big few weeks, but I don't think we've been drained as a club," Ratten said.

"We've taken that burden on, we've dedicated the season to Dick ... that's just part of it now.

"Whether it was this week or in 10 weeks' time, we'll still have that responsibility to achieve something for a man who's done so much for our club.

"So that will still go on, week-in, week-out." Brendan Fevola, who kicked eight goals, said Pratt was on the players' minds during the match.

"I just said to the boys at three-quarter time, let's think of the big fella upstairs," he said.

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