Blues taking it week by week: Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues taking it week by week: Ratten

By Sam Lienert 25/07/2009 03:58:36 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten says his young AFL team faces a challenge to avoid being distracted by the possibility of breaking the club's long finals drought as the season reaches the business end.

The task was made more difficult when they suffered a 14.10 (94) to 4.16 (40) loss to Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night.

The Blues, who have not played a finals series since 2001, now probably need to win three of their remaining five matches to achieve their aim of tasting September action this season.

On paper, next Friday night's clash with North Melbourne looms as one of the more likely opportunities to notch one of those victories, along with a round-21 encounter with Melbourne.

Their other three matches are against Geelong at the MCG, Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium and Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

But Ratten said the Blues could not afford to focus on anything other than trying to beat the Kangaroos next round.

"Our ambitions as a team have never wavered, but as we've said earlier in the week and previous weeks after the break, let's just concentrate on our opposition week by week," Ratten said.

"It's the old footy cliche, but for us it's really important, because we're not looking at finals at all.

"We're looking at the Kangaroos next week.

"That was a poor performance (against Collingwood), we need to rebound and we need to do it quickly."

Carlton's score against the Magpies was their lowest of the season so far, with Ratten blaming the Blues' poor use of the ball both around the ground and when shooting for goal.

They also lost Chris Johnson to a hamstring injury, while skipper Chris Judd looked to be struggling to run out the game and appeared to have his ankle strapped while on the bench in the last quarter.

But Ratten said Johnson was the only player expected to be forced out by injury for the 'Roos clash, although he suggested given the poor performance other changes were likely.

Magpies coach Mick Malthouse, whose team have won eight of their past nine matches, said it was significant that his club had been fairly consistent while rotating a large number of younger players through the side.

"We've played 36 players this year and we're going to keep filtering players through to keep as many players up as we can," Malthouse said.

"We're not going to drop ... senior players out, but if players fall off, I'd like to think we can pre-empt that quicker than seeing them bottom out, then keep bringing the players through."

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