Pies v Blues regains blockbuster lustre - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pies v Blues regains blockbuster lustre

By John Salvado & Robert Grant 29/04/2010 06:53:39 PM Comments (0)

For much of the last two decades, AFL clashes between traditional foes Collingwood and Carlton have been blockbusters in name only.

While the fans of the two powerhouses could always be counted upon to flock to the MCG in large numbers, last year was the first time since 1994 that the Magpies and the Blues were finalists in the same season.

It's still early days in 2010, but recent events suggest that something more significant than inter-suburban bragging rights is once again on offer.

Collingwood tuned up for Sunday's clash at the MCG with a 65-point trouncing of Essendon on Anzac Day, while Carlton could hardly have been more impressive in dispatching reigning premiers Geelong by six goals at the same venue.

Both matches drew huge crowds and another attendance in the region of 90,000 is expected on Sunday, although even that hasn't been enough to sway Channel Seven to telecast the match live.

Collingwood's longest-serving skipper and now head coach-in-waiting Nathan Buckley knows better than most how much beating Carlton means to the black and white hordes.

"If you ask a Collingwood fan what game they would most like their team to win throughout the year, then Carlton would be right up there - if it's not No.1 then it's pretty close," Buckley said on Thursday.

"(But as coaches) we want to win every game we play in the inner sanctum.

"So we plan the same way, we put just as much work into the opposition, we put just as much work into our structures and our players to make sure we go out and get the job done.

"How much do you draw on the emotional aspect of the supporters' want to win the game or the rivalry of the past? I think that's a game by game situation.

"In this particular week both teams are in good form, both teams are going to back their structures, it's going to be a fantastic game of football and it will only add to that rivalry.

"How we see it or how we view it emotionally comes second to how we deal with it from an inner sanctum perspective."

Carlton coach Brett Ratten - like Buckley a former playing great of his club - admitted earlier in the year that in his first couple of years in the top job he made too much of games against the Blues' oldest few rivals.

And he wasn't backing away from that position on Thursday ahead of the clash between the third-placed Magpies and the sixth-ranked Blues.

"It's just another game for us to try and get that consistency in our group - I think it's been a little bit up and down at times," said Ratten.

"In the last few weeks we've really made the most of the start of the game and our appetite to compete.

"... I think the start of the game will be really critical.

"Collingwood have got off to really big starts - they kicked seven goals last week and some of the performances through the first five weeks have seen them really jump their opposition at the start of games.

"That was one thing we tried (in wins over) against Adelaide and Geelong - to make sure that we were in the game, that the opposition couldn't dictate terms."

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