Essendon clash a massive game: Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Essendon clash a massive game: Ratten

23/06/2009 03:45:42 PM Comments (0)

The pain of past losses will be mixed with the sniff of a finals double chance to fire up Carlton for Friday night's bumper AFL clash with arch-rivals Essendon.

While the glorious histories of both clubs reached a low ebb in recent seasons, they can finally again prepare for an MCG encounter with stakes to match the meeting's traditional blockbuster status.

Occupying the bottom two rungs of the top eight, both on 6-6 win-loss records, Carlton coach Brett Ratten believes that the winner can legitimately aspire to a top four berth.

"It could give one team the extra boost that maybe pushes them to an opportunity to have a crack at that last spot in the four and maybe even the extra confidence from beating your arch-enemy," he said.

But just as big a driver for the Blues is their desperation to halt a run of four losses against the Bombers.

"For rivalry this is a huge one for us," Ratten said.

"(Essendon coach Matthew Knights) has had the wood on us over the last few occasions so it's a great challenge for us to redeem ourselves."

Aggravating the pain of that losing streak, in three of the meetings, the Blues were on top before the Bombers stormed home to inflict narrow defeats.

Ratten has not allowed his team to forget their most recent clash, in round three, when the Blues had more scoring shots and led by 27 points in the second quarter, before going down by four.

"We draw on a lot of games and situations that happened in the past and grab a bit of history," Ratten said.

"We just reminded the players that our last performance was not where we'd like it against Essendon.

"I suppose when you've played those games and tight ones against teams that you've got a great rivalry over many years you bring that to the fore and we've done that."

One Blue who will recall that game more vividly than most is spearhead Brendan Fevola.

Fevola, who kicked 15 goals in two games against Essendon last year, bet young opponent Darcy Daniher $100 he would be moved off him by the final quarter.

Fevola not only lost the wager, but his wasteful 4.7, along with a shot out on the full, proved extremely costly in the defeat.

While Daniher's form currently has him out of the Bombers' side, Knights said another youngster, Tayte Pears, had been earmarked for the job this time.

"For our future, we must endeavour to play these young guys in the key posts as much as we can," he said.

The Bombers have been able to cope with Fevola's goal barrages because of the extraordinarily high-scoring nature of the contests, both teams topping 100 points in each of their past six clashes.

But with showers forecast for Friday, Ratten tipped that was unlikely to be the case again.

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