Blues prepare for big AFL final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues prepare for big AFL final

By Roger Vaughan 04/09/2011 09:42:34 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten was asked a one-word question - Essendon? - and after a few seconds' thought he had a one-word answer.

"Rivalry. The rivalry we have with that club ... is enormous and it's one that goes back in history," Ratten told 3AW ahead of next Sunday's blockbuster AFL preliminary final.

"This is what makes finals and big occasions.

"Especially for our group, if there's anyone who feels they're a bit complacent or they won't get the blood flowing, I think this week definitely will.

"It's going to be a great challenge."

This will be a momentous game for Carlton, who will play their first home final since 2001.

It also follows two heartbreaking elimination finals losses in the last two seasons.

Ratten has done a superb job in further developing the team this season, but he is out of contract and he needs the Blues to win to secure his immediate future.

"That's something as a football club we've been crying out for, for over 10 years, to play a home final and give our supporters the chance to be a part of our finals campaign," he said.

"Essendon will be tough, but we'll have a great chance."

Carlton lost to St Kilda by 20 points on Saturday night, but it was a much bigger game for the opposition because the Saints had not confirmed their home elimination final.

The Blues could have put St Kilda under much more pressure in the first half, but kicked inaccurately for goal and only led by 11 points.

That was also a harsh lesson from last year's narrow elimination final loss to Sydney.

"Your effectiveness on the scoreboard is so critical and turnovers and those things - even (against St Kilda) we had our chances," Ratten said.

"In big games, you have to make the most of them because teams get momentum and they get the opportunity to hurt you back.

"It's just how long they can sustain that momentum."

While the Blues sweat on the availability of ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, they are confident Michael Jamison and Bret Thornton will return to give some much-needed height.

But key forward Jarrad Waite remains in doubt for the finals as he recovers from a hip injury.

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