Blues to back themselves over Dogs in AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues to back themselves over Dogs in AFL

By Roger Vaughan 07/07/2011 03:45:50 PM Comments (0)

Carlton will back themselves in Sunday's big AFL clash to create enough pressure to make the Western Bulldogs whimper.

Coach Brett Ratten said his players had been reminded of the last time these two teams met, almost a year ago to the day, when the Bulldogs smashed them by 68 points.

That was also a Sunday twilight match at Etihad Stadium.

While mindful of the Bulldogs' improvement in the past few weeks, Ratten said the Blues had learnt a lesson in round 14 when they paid too much attention to West Coast.

The Eagles won that game, but the Blues responded by piling the pressure on Richmond early in last Saturday's game on the way to a thumping 103-point win.

"What we've done as a group is respond to messages, especially last week with that loss against West Coast. The way we came out was outstanding," Ratten said.

"We really created an atmosphere of a really tough environment for Richmond and we want to try and do something very similar against the Bulldogs.

"We'll be backing our boys in.

"We respect their players. You just think about last year and the way they fixed us up at Etihad. We've spoken about that a little bit to the group.

"But we'll play to our strengths."

While the Bulldogs have recovered from a faltering start to the season and are half a game outside the top eight, Carlton are third and firing.

Ratten clearly disagrees with the wider perception that there remains a gap from top sides Geelong and Collingwood to challengers such as Carlton.

"We'll back ourselves against the top two as well," he declared.

Amid talk that the Bulldogs had changed their playing style, Ratten said that is as much due to personnel as any tinkering with tactics.

Shaun Higgins has done well across half-back and Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney had his best game of the season in last Friday night's win over Melbourne.

Ratten said the Blues must be fearsome with their pressure on the Bulldogs when they try to move the ball out of defence.

"They're starting to get that counter-attack and run into their game. It's something we're very mindful of," he said.

"If we bring our pressure as we've done, at Etihad we average about 18 inside (forward) 50 tackles ... we want to make sure we can get around that level and really put those good users under some good pressure.

"Last year, they made us chase them. We need to make sure we're getting the ball in our hands and make it go the other way.

"So that will be the challenge."

The Blues lost Simon White with a hamstring injury, but will recall mature-age rookie Nick Duigan from a calf muscle strain.

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