Carlton wary of resurgent Dockers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carlton wary of resurgent Dockers

By Crystal Ja 08/05/2009 05:46:16 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten is bracing for heavy fire from Fremantle in their Saturday night clash on the Gold Coast, labelling the Dockers one of the in-form teams of the AFL competition.

Fremantle's resurgence over the last two weeks has Ratten especially wary given Carlton's distinct lack of home advantage at the Gold Coast Stadium.

The game looms as an interesting experiment in travel for the club, Ratten said, as well as an important test if Carlton are to make a claim as a top-four side.

Injury-depleted Fremantle start as $3.60 outsiders - unfair odds given their recent record, according to Ratten.

By round four, a winless Fremantle was a team in tatters after a dismal four-goal haul against St Kilda, before turning the tide with two convincing wins against Sydney and arch-rivals West Coast.

"If you look at their last two weeks, they're one of the form teams of the competition," Ratten said.

"Beating Sydney I think they scored 13 goals from stoppages in that game, and that's where Sydney are really renowned for their power and grunt.

"And putting (Matthew) Pavlich into the midfield, that's a huge plus for them, so it will be tough for us - they're really up and coming."

Carlton, sitting on three wins and three losses, need to prove a point and have a long way to go before catching up to the best teams in the competition, Ratten said.

He said they were lucky to be still riding the wave of percentage that came with their crushing round one victory over the Tigers.

For the Dockers, coach Mark Harvey said the battle would test their on-the-road legs.

He admitted to a poor away record, which has netted him just three wins outside of Subiaco since starting as coach mid-way through 2007.

"You can not always get into the mind of jetlag and travel requirements and as a coach it's always difficult to get the balance right," he said.

"(But) up here I think it's been a different story for us, the last couple of days, there's been a lot of freedom of movement and a real excitement."

Fremantle will debut rookie Luke Pratt, who was playing in the WAFL reserves just two months ago, while Carlton will give first-round draft pick Chris Yarran his first senior run.

The elevation of Fremantle's fifth debutant this season has been hurried along by the club's growing injury list - the most recent inductee being Ryan Crowley and his busted foot.

Both coaches said a potential battle between Pavlich and Chris Judd would be a highlight.

The game is the first of three on the Gold Coast this season, with Richmond and St Kilda also set to host matches later in the year.

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