Blues coping with 'short week' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues coping with 'short week'

By Roger Vaughan 12/05/2010 06:10:32 PM Comments (0)

Even before the final siren sounded on Monday night, Carlton had started their preparations for Sunday's AFL clash against Port Adelaide.

The seventh-placed Blues will have to cope with a five-day break and the interstate trip for the AAMI Stadium clash on Sunday against the Power, who are a game ahead in sixth place.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten said they would make minimal changes to cope with the short week, but added they maximised their interchange rotations on Monday night at Etihad Stadium.

"There's nothing different, it's business as usual - but it's probably just more of a touch session or a light kicking session that we'd take out of the program," Ratten said.

"Other than that, the recovery is the same, the main training session will be the same and our travel time will be the same - nothing changes.

"The fitness levels of the group and with our rotations as well, we had close to 120, so we tried to look after the players - from that point of view, we feel fairly fresh and all the boys have recovered, which is great."

Carlton belted the Saints by 61 points, a fortnight after they also upset Geelong, last year's other grand final team.

But the game in the middle, the 53-point belting from Collingwood, is the result in the fortnight that sticks in Ratten's mind.

"The reality check has been the performance against Collingwood in between (the two wins)," he said.

"That's been the message from me as well, about the consistency in our performance and our approach.

"We've seen in three weeks how we can vary from one extreme to the other, so that's something that is a constant challenge for the group and the coaching staff.

"The Port Adelaide game will be big - it's sixth v seventh, it will be a great encounter for us."

One of the big questions for this season was how the Blues would cope without full-forward Brendan Fevola.

After seven rounds, they are actually slightly ahead of last year in their scoring.

But it is the improvement in defensive play that is impressing Ratten the most.

"It's been more about our defence, our team defence - what we can do to reduce the opposition's score that has been our biggest (improvement)," he said.

"Our ability to make shots on goal, whether you're kicking goals or kicking points, I don't think that's been an issue for us.

"Our ability to reduce the opposition score has been the thing we've worked at most and as you've seen against Collingwood, they kicked 155 points, which doesn't make a coach very happy.

"On the other side, when you're keeping teams to 60, 70, 80 points, it makes you very, very competitive - history says teams that defend the best, win the flag."

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