Judd adds to Blues' backing for Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Judd adds to Blues' backing for Ratten

Melissa Woods 08/08/2011 06:07:10 PM Comments (0)

While there's uncertainty surrounding coaches at a number of AFL clubs, Brett Ratten's future is secure at Carlton if his skipper's got any say in it.

Blues captain Chris Judd on Monday backed Ratten, who's in the final year of his current contract, to win a new term.

"He's had a great year and I think he's really flourished," Judd said.

"It's good to see the club giving him their backing."

The skipper's support came after Carlton chief executive Greg Swann gave Ratten his blessing.

"Something disastrous would have to happen for him not to get reappointed and I don't think that's going to happen," Swann said recently.

That was a very different notion than Swann's pre-season assessment of his coach when he said the Blues would need to show "significant improvement" for Ratten to keep his job.

The Blues have fallen in tight clashes in elimination finals in each of the past two seasons, to Brisbane in 2009 and Sydney last year, leaving them yet to win a final since 2001.

Despite a much-improved campaign - they already have more premiership points than in either of the past two seasons, with three games still to play - they could be thrust into a third straight cut-throat final.

If West Coast win their remaining matches against a string of lower-ranked teams, the fourth-placed Blues will fall to fifth, even if they win their last three games.

The most likely scenario then would be a nerve-tingling cut-throat final against fierce rival Essendon.

But even before the season reaches the business end, Judd has no doubt Ratten, in his fourth full season in charge, has "improved" in some significant ways.

"I think he's probably narrowed down his focus areas ... he has delegated more to the assistant coaches which I think has been a big help for him, rather than try to do everything," Judd said.

"I think he's really taken on any feedback that the players have had and has really acted on it, which in turn encourages the players to give more feedback.

"They're some of the main things he's really improved at."

Judd said Ratten had also made a point this season of improving his personal relationships with the players.

"I think that's important for the playing group as well."

Swann said the club planned to wait until the end of the season before starting contract negotiations with Ratten.

Judd also weighed into debate on the recent spate of lopsided AFL clashes, saying the gap between the best and worst teams was clearly growing and was set to widen further as the league expanded.

"With more teams that will just increase," he said.

"It's one of the dangers we have.

"You look at the NBA and they play 70-odd games and a lot of those games are pretty average to watch.

"Then the play-offs come and it's a completely different game they're playing.

"It would be a shame if AFL got to that stage, and I'm not sure if it will, but it's certainly something that the league needs to be wary of."

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