AFL coaches differ on rivalry factor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL coaches differ on rivalry factor

By Roger Vaughan 28/07/2010 03:26:39 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood v Carlton remains one of the AFL's great rivalries, but Magpies coach Mick Malthouse thinks that is now more for the fans than the players.

While Carlton counterpart Brett Ratten says the mere mention of their hated rival is enough to fire up his team, Malthouse suspects the evolution of the national competition has diluted the impact within his playing group.

The Blues and Magpies will clash on Saturday at the MCG, with Collingwood holding top spot and Carlton desperate for a big upset win to shore up their top-eight position.

"Personally I would like to think they acknowledge the fact we're playing Carlton, (they're) a great rival of the past," Malthouse said of his team.

"But I'm also very much aware that each player has his own sense of occasion.

"I'd be very disappointed, quite frankly, if they're not as switched on for last week's game and next week's game as they are this week's game.

"That probably says a bit about the way football is, it's no longer a suburban brawl, it now is a national competition."

But there is little doubt the Blues will use the opposition to help build themselves up for one of their biggest games this season.

"I don't think much from our group needs to be said about the rivalry and what it means to our football club," Ratten said.

"Sometimes for the group, to just say the word `Collingwood', it gets the hairs on the back of your neck going.

"Our group gets stimulated on these big occasions and there's no bigger - Collingwood are sitting top of the ladder, playing great football, so it's even an added bonus, to see where we're at."

Ratten also has no doubts about the enormity of Saturday's task.

"They're in fantastic form ... the contribution from all their players is probably the best in the competition at the moment," he said.

"The 22 that they run out and the effort they get from them is the best going in the last month or even six weeks."

Malthouse is less concerned about the AFL ladder and more focussed on an internal model that Collingwood use to assess how they are performing.

The Magpies ladder uses various statistics and indicators that they regard as crucial to their on-field success.

"We're not on top, put it that way - so that's the goal, to get there," Malthouse said.

Malthouse and Ratten held a media conference on Wednesday morning to promote Saturday's game, where the two teams will play for the Peter Mac Cup and raise money for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

The Magpies are likely to regain key forward Travis Cloke, while Carlton's Dennis Armfield is in some doubt after injuring his neck during the win last weekend over West Coast.

Malthouse added that veteran ruckman Josh Fraser, out of the side since round 12, is "very close" to a recall.

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