Waite AFL return uncertain for Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waite AFL return uncertain for Blues

Sam Lienert 20/08/2011 12:46:56 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten says key forward Jarrad Waite faces a battle to return and help the Blues' misfiring attack for the start of the AFL finals series.

Carlton look set to be plunged into their third elimination final in as many years, after their top-four hopes suffered what is probably a killer blow in Friday night's 10.18 (78) to 8.18 (66) loss to Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium.

They managed just one goal in the first half, although their attack lifted in the second half when returning fullback Michael Jamison was swung forward.

Ratten acknowledged he would dearly love Waite, who is out with a hip injury, back in time for finals.

But he said the key forward's recovery timeframe remained unclear.

"This week will be a really big week for him personally, to get back," Ratten said.

"He needs to play VFL this week to really stake a case for finals

"... He might have to actually play a couple at reserves level and we might have to win finals for him to come back in (later in the finals series)."

Ratten was uncertain whether Waite would be ready to play VFL in the coming weekend.

"We're governed by probably pain and how it's travelling," he said.

With Carlton having the bye next weekend, Jamison will play VFL to give him more match practice in the run to the finals.

He kicked 1.3 in the second half, including hitting the post twice, after being shifted forward, to almost help the Blues charge back from 45 points down.

Ratten said Carlton's best defender might have to be used in attack again.

"He looked pretty dangerous up forward, he didn't kick the goals with all his shots, but we might have to get more goal-kicking practice into him going forward."

Despite the likelihood of missing out on top four and the double chance, Ratten preferred to highlight the positives from Friday night's loss, saying it was encouraging that his side fought back after Hawthorn's early dominance.

He insisted facinga cut-throat game in the first week of finals would not be a major setback.

"We're just going to have to win our finals, it's not going to change for us," he said.

"We wanted to get ourselves into a position to get a home final, we get that opportunity, we know where we're heading and we know pretty much where our list is from a personnel point of view."

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