Eagles star Cox will test Warnock - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles star Cox will test Warnock

By Roger Vaughan 23/06/2011 04:06:58 PM Comments (0)

Robbie Warnock's ruck role model will now provide a formidable test when he returns to the Carlton lineup for their big AFL clash against West Coast.

Warnock will take over from Shaun Hampson, who could miss two months with a knee injury.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten said Warnock and Matthew Kreuzer will know exactly what is coming when they go up against in-form Eagles ruck duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

"Robbie looked at Cox when he was developing as a young ruckman and in the (national under-age championships), Kreuzer and Naitanui competed against each other a fair bit through that," Ratten said.

"So some of those old battles will be reunited at Etihad on Sunday.

"It will be a good challenge - Cox, Naitanui, even (Quinten) Lynch can go in there."

Ratten is in awe of how well Cox can dominate the ruck.

"When you look at Cox's ability to give his midfielders first possession ... and the way it's just handed to them on a plate, (it's) outstanding," he said.

"We'll have a real battle in that midfield to make sure the clearance numbers are about the same or we can get our nose in front in that area."

Carlton will make at least two changes for Sunday's match, with defender Nick Duigan to also miss because of a calf muscle injury.

Ratten said a key to Carlton's development this year is making sure they can cope with injuries without losing momentum.

"This year is about if we lose a player in a game or someone's out, we don't have to rely on just one individual," he said.

"It's about the form and consistency in the team.

"That's been something really pleasing about our depth - someone coming in, taking up the slack, making sure that we don't fall away in our performance."

This will be the second-successive week where Carlton can solidify their place in the top four at the expense of the fifth-placed side.

Last Sunday they dominated Sydney and that meant the Swans gave up fifth spot to the Eagles.

Ratten plans to use the Etihad Stadium dimensions to Carlton's advantage, noting that it has slightly different shape to Patersons Stadium in Perth.

"West Coast have had great success at Patersons Stadium and outside of that, they've been pretty successful against the Adelaide teams," Ratten said.

"Etihad will be another challenge for them, they played pretty well against Essendon at the start of the year.

"(They had) a really good start to the game and their starts have been a bit of a key for them through the season.

"Maybe a different venue might be a little bit harder, maybe we can exploit that, with them coming to foreign territory and maybe finding the space a little bit more than that tighter fit (at Patersons)."

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