Sandilands selection a risk: Carlton - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sandilands selection a risk: Carlton

By Justin Chadwick 12/08/2011 06:17:14 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten has labelled Fremantle's selection of AFL ruckman Aaron Sandilands a risk, but says he understands why the Dockers are willing to roll the dice on the three-times All-Australian.

Sandilands has played just two and a half quarters since May 21 and enters Saturday's crunch clash at Patersons Stadium with major question marks surrounding the durability of the troublesome tendon in his left big toe.

But with ninth-placed Fremantle in desperate need of a win in order to keep their finals hopes strong, Ratten said he had expected the Dockers to name Sandilands.

"We've had someone watch (Sandilands) for a few weeks, so we know exactly where he's at," Ratten said on Friday.

"They're probably taking a risk but when you've got a quality player like him I think you take those risks.

"I think they'll use the rotations and the ground time (to limit the burden on Sandilands).

"The growth of (back-up ruckman Zac) Clarke might change their thinking (as well). It's always handy to have two good ruckmen going at the same time."

Sandilands' limited preparation could see him spend more time up forward, a situation that could cause Carlton's undersized defence all sorts of headaches.

However, Ratten said any mismatches also had the potential to play into the Blues' hands.

"I think most teams try and stretch us in our defence, nearly every week," Ratten said.

"I think that's always the conundrum when you go to match committee and you talk about the height and the run.

"If they catch it we'll look silly, and if they don't catch it, we'll run.

"Hopefully we can get the game on our terms and the pressure's really good, so the ability to mark the ball is decreased and then we get a chance to really run in the game."

With West Coast breathing down the neck of fourth-placed Carlton and Fremantle fighting to break back into the top half of the ladder, Ratten warned his charges to expect a fiery contest.

"It is (a danger game)," he said.

"With Fremantle and where the season sits, they're going to be desperate for the four points, as we are to stay where we want to be.

"We've looked at the next three games (against Fremantle, Hawthorn and St Kilda) and ... they are all really tough competitors, and this will be another chance we get to rehearse and prepare for finals.

"The four points are going to be really critical."

The Blues recalled Andrew Carrazzo and Dennis Armfield, while Sandilands was joined in the Dockers' line-up by debutant Peter Faulks and tagger Ryan Crowley.

Carlton's trip to Perth is just the fourth time this year the Blues have been forced to travel.

Bright sunshine greeted the players as they trained at the WACA Ground on Friday, with Ratten labelling the trip an important team bonding exercise.

"You get a lot more down time (when on the road) to talk about, not just footy, but about life in general," Ratten said.

"We take the opportunity to build the relationships and keep talking to players, which is great."

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