Blues face big call, Ratten says - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues face big call, Ratten says

By Greg Buckle 30/08/2010 06:55:22 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten says the Blues face a "big call" on the selection of Andrew Carrazzo for Sunday's elimination final against Sydney.

The eighth-placed Blues will anxiously monitor Carrazzo's recovery from a hamstring complaint, with midfielders Brock McLean and Richard Hadley waiting in the wings following strong performances in the reserves.

"He's 50-50 at this stage. It will just (depend) on how quickly he comes to hand," Ratten told reporters on Monday.

"Then there's the risk factor of it in a final. We saw last week losing a player and the pressure it does put on the team about the run in the game.

"It will be one we'll have to think about a fair bit. It will be a big call but we'll just wait until Thursday.

"(McLean's) form was not too bad in the second half of the Bullants (VFL) game. Richard Hadley was pretty good in that game as well as a midfielder and Bret Thornton was really good.

"The selection debate will be really hot - the Carrazzo one will determine that."

The Blues haven't won a final since 2001 and Ratten is keen to reward the club's success-starved fans with a finals victory, even it's at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Ratten said Bryce Gibbs would be a key player for the Blues at half-back, linking up with midfielders Marc Murphy, Kade Simpson and Chris Judd.

"He (Gibbs) is one that could really take his game to another level," Ratten said.

Carlton held a four-goal lead at three-quarter time in last year's elimination final against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba before getting run down in a heart-breaking seven-point loss.

"It would be great for this group to win a final," said Judd, who captained West Coast to a premiership in 2006 against Sydney.

"In finals you just can't afford to take your foot off the pedal, whether that is in the first quarter for 10 minutes or the last quarter for 20 minutes, like happened last year.

"That whole time, the group has to be concentrating and all pulling in the same direction.

"We got a lesson from last year but by the same token we also played some pretty good footy there for three quarters."

Sydney kicked six of the first seven goals against Carlton in their round-16 match at Etihad Stadium where the Swans won by 39 points.

Ratten challenged his forwards to work hard on attack and defence.

"They hold the key this week. It will be about how well Jeff Garlett and Eddie Betts and Lachie Henderson really hold that footy in there or mark the footy in the front 50," Ratten said.

Judd said he might get tagged by Adam Goodes in a clash of the Brownlow Medallists, or he might get Kieren Jack or Ryan O'Keefe.

"This will be my sixth final against Sydney, which is a lot for someone who played about 12 finals," the Blues skipper said.

"I don't think it matters who your actual opponent is, you sort of know what you're going to get.

"Right across the field it's usually pretty clogged up around stoppages. They have a real focus on one-on-one football."

Back-up ruckman Shaun Hampson's place in the side is under scrutiny following a poor game against Fremantle, with Sam Jacobs a possible replacement.

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