Ratten confident ahead of Saints clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ratten confident ahead of Saints clash

By Laine Clark 07/06/2009 04:25:32 PM Comments (0)

Two words sum up why Carlton coach Brett Ratten is confident ahead of AFL's "Mission Impossible" - Brendan Fevola.

In what would have been inconceivable just weeks ago, Ratten has challenged his team to win three straight - and become the first side to defeat St Kilda this season, no less.

Ratten dared to dream ahead of their Etihad Stadium showdown following Fevola's stunning eight-goal haul in Saturday night's tense six-point win over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

It wasn't that long ago it seemed Carlton well and truly had the Blues.

Three losses in four games.

And tellingly, just two goals in three matches from "Fev".

But backed by Fevola's remarkable 14-goal haul in their past two games, the Blues (6-5 record) are backing themselves against the marching Saints (11-0) on Friday night following consecutive wins.

"They (Saints) haven't lost this year and don't look like losing so that's our challenge," Ratten said.

"I don't know how many times we've won three (in a row) in the last four or five years so that's a great opportunity for our players."

While Fevola hogged the limelight, Carlton's captain Chris Judd showed he could play a bit too. His "outstanding" display against the Lions included a team-high 28 disposals and a key goal in the final term.

Despite Fevola's lean few weeks in front of goal recently, Ratten did not believe his trump card was out of form.

"He has been in fairly good touch without getting a lot of reward," Ratten said.

"I thought that the delivery was to his advantage (on Saturday night) and when you've got quality players, that's all they need just to put it to their favoured side and they do their thing."

Despite keeping Fevola to 3.3 by halftime, Daniel Bradshaw was moved to full forward by Lions coach Michael Voss - and the Blues spearhead clearly relished the change.

Fevola exploded with four goals alone in the third term - much to the frustration of his new opponent Joel Macdonald.

Fevola booted a solitary goal in a tense fourth quarter but it proved the difference as the Lions threatened to reel in a deficit that had blown out to 34 points in the third term.

"He was outstanding, (with) his contribution to the team and just to win the footy," Ratten said of Fevola.

"We thought Bradshaw at halftime would go forward, just with the way the game was panning out so we sort of predicted that.

"Maybe it gave Brendan a bit more freedom."

The victory also marked Carlton's first on the road this season.

"It was a very important match for us, the most important match for the year," Blues ruckman Shaun Hampson told the Carlton website.

"To get our first win on the road is fantastic and it's a great morale-booster for the boys."

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