Ratten's Blues on the rise - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ratten's Blues on the rise

By James Dampney 30/04/2011 04:54:27 PM Comments (0)

There have been persistent question marks hovering over Carlton under coach Brett Ratten, but their victory over the Swans in Sydney is the best indication yet the Blues are indeed coming.

There is no doubt Ratten has improved Carlton's fortunes since he replaced Denis Pagan late in the 2007 season.

After wooden spoons in 2005 and 2006, they hauled themselves up to 11th in 2008, leading to the infamous slogan the following season 'They know we're coming'.

But the Blues' bandwagon then stalled somewhat, with a seventh-place in 2009 and a disappointing eighth last year.

The understanding is Ratten needs to win a final in 2011 or start looking elsewhere for employment, but the portents are encouraging.

Carlton hadn't beaten the Swans in the harbour city since 1993, but they rallied for a 12.15 (87) to 10.11 (71) triumph on Friday night that left them third on the ladder with four wins and a draw from their first six games.

"It probably shows the group has grown mentally to deal with adversity and not accept the situation," Ratten said of their second-half comeback.

"I think maybe previously we've been a little bit more immature.

"When you've got a few blokes in your team who have played 70, 80, 90, 100 games, I think the confidence and resilience to say 'we're going to keep chipping away and it'll turn', that's the most pleasing thing."

The uncertainty that nagged the Blues had already reared its head a number of times this season.

Routine wins over Richmond and Gold Coast were followed by a respectable five-goal loss to Collingwood.

But the critics were again sharpening their knives when Carlton lost their composure down the stretch in a draw with Essendon before letting a big lead slip in an unconvincing six-point win over Adelaide.

Those critics were answered in outstanding fashion at a rain-soaked SCG, where the Blues managed to live up to this year's slogan - 'No Passengers'.

"It's just a good one we've finally got rid of and I think it's just more the growth of the group," Ratten said of ending their long losing run in Sydney.

"We take on Sydney, who are renowned as one of the hardest teams in the competition, and to get the result in those conditions was pleasing.

"Some weeks we have won and carried a couple. This week I don't think we carried anyone."

They have two more stern tests to come, with clashes against St Kilda and Geelong either side of a bye.

Midfielder Marc Murphy will have scans on his shoulder this weekend after sustaining a knock against Sydney and returning to Melbourne with his left arm in a sling.

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