Blues face massive April Fool's Day test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues face massive April Fool's Day test

By Roger Vaughan 26/03/2010 05:49:44 PM Comments (0)

Carlton's much-anticipated AFL clash against Brisbane at the Gabba on Thursday night falls, appropriately enough, on April Fool's Day.

Key forward Brendan Fevola, who will be the focus of attention, was traded from the Blues to the Lions because he made a drunken fool of himself at last September's Brownlow Medal count.

Earlier that month, Carlton's 2009 season had ended with an elimination-final loss to Brisbane, also at the Gabba.

The Blues and their captain Chris Judd looked foolish with how they handled the aftermath of Judd making contact with Michael Rischitelli's face during that game.

Judd initially tried to explain the incident away as seeking a pressure point behind Rischitelli's ear, a comment he called a poorly timed joke during his tribunal hearing.

Judd was suspended for three games and Thursday will be the second match of that sentence.

But for all the obvious focus on Fevola, and how dearly the Blues would love to have Judd back in the team, Carlton coach Brett Ratten is more concerned about the lessons that came out of that elimination-final loss.

Brisbane kicked six goals to one in the final quarter and won by seven points - making the Blues look a bit foolish in the process.

After starting the 2010 season with a 56-point win over Richmond on Thursday night, the Blues are determined to build some momentum and gain some revenge.

"I thought that's more important, the final that slipped away," Ratten said.

"We're just taking, the old cliche, one week at a time, but it was a great start for us as a team.

"Now the challenge we have, with Chris still out of the team, is to back that performance up and it's going to be interesting how we respond mid-week."

Ratten said the final-quarter disaster against Brisbane had been a crucial lesson for his team.

"We play a very offensive brand of football and maybe we had to change that and work a lot harder (to stop) the momentum of games," he said.

"That was really a reference point for us to go back to through the summer period - OK, well, we've played really good football for this part, can we play that style of momentum football?

"That's something that has gone now and we'll work on it and keep going forward, but I think it was a great learning curve for us as a team."

While the Blues continue to develop their game style, obviously their defenders will have a busy few days preparing for Fevola and Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown.

Fevola's trade means Brisbane now boast the most dangerous duo of key forwards in the AFL.

Blues defender Bret Thornton, who celebrated his 150th game against Richmond, acknowledges the immense focus that Fevola-versus-Carlton will generate.

"This one has been brewing for a while - we sort-of got it out of the way a bit in the pre-season a couple of weeks ago (when the two sides played), but that was pre-season," Thornton said.

"Next week it's four points, it's going to be full-on.

"Brendan will be going 100 per cent and we'll be going 100 per cent, so it's going to be great."

Thornton also has no doubts there will be plenty of pre-game mind games between Fevola and his former teammates.

"He loves getting on the 'texties' and getting inside your head - it's all part of it," Thornton said.

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