Blues face massive test against 'Pies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues face massive test against 'Pies

By AAP reporters 10/07/2011 09:26:08 PM Comments (0)

Carlton will return to the MCG next weekend, seeking AFL redemption for the second game in a fortnight.

Only this time, the stakes will be greater and the opposition much tougher.

The Blues dropped from third to fourth on the ladder and lead West Coast by only half a game after Sunday's 27-point twilight loss to the Western Bulldogs.

The 14.12 (96) to 9.13 (69) loss also featured key forward Jarrad Waite being subbed off before half time with groin tightness, just a week after he returned from a hamstring injury.

The Blues have a massive test looming on Saturday against arch rivals and reigning premiers Collingwood, who regained top spot with Sunday's 117-point annihilation of North Melbourne.

"It's pretty important ... but back to the MCG, against our arch enemy, it will be something," said Blues coach Brett Ratten.

"We responded last time after West Coast ... it's something the group has done extremely well, to bounce back.

"What a great occasion to do it."

A fortnight ago, West Coast easily beat Carlton at Etihad Stadium and the Blues hit back the next weekend at the MCG with a 103-point belting of Richmond.

Ratten admitted to concern about how his team is playing Etihad Stadium.

"They've both been at Etihad, so that's something we might have to look at," he said of the losses to the Eagles and Bulldogs.

The Magpies improved their record to 13-1 as they revelled in the wet conditions at the MCG to smash the woeful Kangaroos 22.15 (147) to 3.12 (30), shredding North's reputation as top-eight hopefuls.

Collingwood hold a significant edge in percentage over second-placed Geelong, whose loss to West Coast on Friday night was first-year coach Chris Scott's second successive defeat after a 13-0 start.

The Eagles stayed fifth after holding on for the 14.12 (96) to 13.10 (88) win over the Cats.

Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui's front-on bump on Taylor Hunt and Cats big man Brad Ottens' clash behind the play with Mark Nicoski are expected to come under scrutiny from the match review panel.

Officials on the Gold Coast and also at AFL House in Melbourne will anxiously await Monday's medical report on Gary Ablett.

The Suns skipper suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of Saturday night's loss to Sydney at Metricon Stadium.

Bottom side Gold Coast were beaten 15.16 (106) to 4.12 (36) by the sixth-placed Swans.

Eighth-placed Essendon finished with 10 unanswered goals starting from late in the third term to steamroll Richmond 15.15 (105) to 9.12 (66) at the MCG on Saturday night.

The 13th-placed Tigers face an anxious wait to see if small forward Jake King and big man Ty Vickery will face striking charges.

Hawthorn claimed third spot from Carlton with a 16.9 (105) to 9.9 (63) win over struggling Brisbane in Launceston on Saturday.

St Kilda beat Port Adelaide 17.7 (109) to 8.5 (53) on Sunday at AAMI Stadium as last year's grand finalists climbed one place to 11th.

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