Carlton won't believe the hype - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carlton won't believe the hype

By Guy Hand 13/04/2011 07:22:37 PM Comments (0)

Form rather than emotion will define Carlton's build-up for their second AFL blockbuster in a week.

The Blues attempt to bounce back from pushing premiers Collingwood but falling just short, to tackling in-form arch-rivals Essendon on Saturday at the MCG.

It shapes as the competition's battle of the upwardly mobile.

Both teams have 2-1 win-loss records. Both are showing finals-type form.

Carlton were expected to push for the top eight.

Essendon weren't. Instead they are rising and surprising, and the rest of the AFL is craning its neck for a second look.

Two 50-point plus wins by Essendon over top four sides - the latest over grand finalists St Kilda last weekend - have spiced what for many years has been more mock-buster than blockbuster.

Brett Ratten admits the Bombers have stepped up a level this season but also believes that tag applies to the Blues.

"Their form's been outstanding - NAB Cup form going through to the grand final over the last few years has really stood up.

"They've transferred that into the home-and-away season so they've done a really good job to come out swinging.

"But our form's pretty good as well. I think the indicators for us are pretty good as well."

Ratten is less sure of the merits of playing up the traditional emotion of Carlton-Essendon clashes.

Turning up the hype too much comes with its dangers, he says.

"There's always a little more to it but what we've identified over the last few years is the four points are there every week.

"If we change, and try and lift emotions above and beyond, it probably doesn't have the best of outcomes.

"If we stick to the process and get that right, the opportunity to win those four points are there."

Ratten has flagged some minor tinkering with his side despite a solid performance in the 28-point defeat by Collingwood.

Several players are back from pre-season injuries and knocking on the selection door, most notably tall defender Paul Bower and key position prospect Lachie Henderson.

Ratten said there may be "a couple of changes" for an important match - Bower the most obvious to add height and experience to a young back six.

"Probably at least a couple (of changes) but our performance was pretty solid," Ratten said.

"There were players who were down who can respond pretty quickly."

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