Kreuzer is a work in progress: Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kreuzer is a work in progress: Ratten

By Greg Buckle 04/05/2011 04:13:06 PM Comments (0)

Matthew Kreuzer hasn't even made his AFL comeback yet and already Carlton coach Brett Ratten is urging critics to hold their fire.

Ratten says the ruck-forward will play for VFL feeder team the Northern Bullants in the next few weeks but he could be months away from a return to his best at AFL level.

The 2007 No.1 draft pick suffered a season-ending knee injury in round 13 last year.

Carlton play St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Monday night and have the bye in round eight.

Ratten said he had no specific return date in mind for Kreuzer's AFL comeback.

"I don't try to look too far out, knowing that the game's brutal and next minute players are out very quickly," Ratten told a press conference on Wednesday.

"Matthew will start his campaign back through the reserves.

"He'll be really close to playing in the bye week. It will be that week or the following week that he'll play.

"With high draft picks, there's an expectation all the time.

"If you think Matthew Kreuzer's going to come in, whether he plays forward or ruck or whatever, and dominate games of football, that is very unfair on an individual."

Ratten said Kreuzer, fifth in the club's 2009 best-and-fairest award, would return as the same hard worker he has always been.

The 200cm ruck-forward averaged 14 possessions in 2009 and 12 touches last year.

"He's going to take a bit of time. He's going to take a month of footy to get a handle on the speed," Ratten said.

"He's going to make a few blues, but his effort won't change.

"If he gets 10 possessions or he gets 20, he's going to be hell-bent on putting the opposition under pressure and winning the ball, putting his body on the line.

"He just might not get as much of the ball as he did maybe before his injury."

While the third-placed Blues are keen to slot Kreuzer back into the side and give him every chance to return to top form, experienced midfielder Brock McLean continues to bide his time in the VFL.

The former Demon has shed several kilograms over the summer but despite strong form for the Bullants, the 25-year-old is yet to play a senior game this season.

McLean is not overly quick and is a natural inside midfielder, yet Ratten wants to turn him into a more versatile onballer.

"The performance of our midfield last week was pretty good so I'd probably say no," Ratten said when asked about a promotion for McLean.

Only a week ago, Ratten hinted McLean was set for a recall.

"I didn't guarantee him a spot (last week). I said his form's good," Ratten said on Wednesday.

Ratten admitted the 100-game veteran faced a mental challenge to keep slogging away in the reserves.

"He looks like he's getting over the ground a lot more. His ball-winning ability in close is very good and that hasn't diminished," Ratten said.

"But we'd like him to win a bit more ball outside and defend a bit more outside, which he's working very hard on."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news