Blues aim for speed in 'combat' game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues aim for speed in 'combat' game

By Roger Vaughan 26/04/2011 12:41:55 PM Comments (0)

Carlton are feeling the need for speed even as they prepare for "combat" footy in Friday night's AFL clash with Sydney.

While midfielder Brock McLean could play his first senior game this season to give the Blues more grunt at the stoppages, coach Brett Ratten also wants to hit the Swans with some David Wojcinski-style pace.

Wojcinski was crucial for Geelong in their round-four win over Sydney, with the Cats speedster kicking three goals.

"Your ability to win the ball in close will be really important, but the balance is to be able maybe to spread and run," Ratten said.

"You've just seen what Wojcinski did up there in that wet game, it was pretty critical.

"There's a real fine line - if you go too much contested ball, you become a bit too slow and you still need your run and carry outside as well."

McLean had another good game on the weekend in the VFL and Ratten acknowledged on Monday that the onballer was pressing for a senior recall.

"He'll come into calculations (against) a Sydney team who thrive on stoppages," Ratten said.

Defender Paul Bower was also set to return this week, but he hurt a quadricep muscle and will miss at least one match.

Utility Chris Yarran could be in doubt after hurting his hamstring in Saturday night's six-point win over Adelaide.

"If he (Yarran) pulls up sore we wouldn't play him, because we don't want to risk him," Ratten said.

But mindset will be even more important than personnel for the Blues, who will come off a six-day break for the Swans clash at the SCG.

Carlton have a horrid record against the Swans, winning only two of their last 17 games.

The SCG has also been a wasteland for the Blues - their last win there was in round seven, 1993 and they have lost seven times since.

Ratten said the focus this week would be on mental, rather than physical preparation because of the short break.

But he felt three tough games against Collingwood, Essendon and Adelaide would prove strong preparation for Friday's challenge.

"The battles we've had ... have really prepared ourselves for a big combat game against Sydney," he said.

"The tackles will be through the roof and stoppages are usually at least 10-15 up more than any other game."

One thing that Ratten does not care about is revenge.

Sydney beat Carlton by five points in last year's elimination final, a heartbreaking end to the Blues' season.

"That's gone. That was last year, the game has changed so much, just with the sub rule, the personnel, different coaches," he said.

"We wouldn't even look down that path - it's nothing.

"It's a game we should've have won, we missed our opportunity and we move on.

"It's about 2011 for us."

But Ratten admitted goalkicking accuracy has become a worry.

Carlton nearly blew the Adelaide game by kicking 11.19 to 12.7.

Ratten said their accuracy has dropped off noticeably so far this season.

"You just have to work so hard to win the game when you could have made life a little bit easier," he said.

"We have to keep chipping away and the wheel will turn."

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