Big AFL final all about team, says Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Big AFL final all about team, says Ratten

By Roger Vaughan 06/09/2011 07:54:08 PM Comments (0)

Brett Ratten faces a critical moment in his AFL coaching career this Sunday, but he counters it's a far more important day for Carlton's modern history.

Ratten and Blues captain Chris Judd have dismissed ongoing speculation about the coach's future ahead of the massive elimination final this Sunday against Essendon at the MCG.

So much is riding on this match, a cut-throat final between two of the league's fiercest rivals.

The Blues suffered heartbreaking elimination final losses to Brisbane and Sydney in the last two seasons.

It is also their first Melbourne final since 2001.

Essendon have improved this year under the new regime of coach James Hird and have made the eight for the first time since 2009.

But they have not won a final since 2004 and are determined to upset the Blues.

Then there is Ratten, who is out of contract after this season.

The Blues have improved this year but if they lose to Essendon it will fuel the talk about whether they give Ratten another contract.

"Let's see what the result is ... but we've had a process in place to look at it at the end of the year," Ratten said.

"There have been KPIs (key performance indicators) set, so that will govern whether I get another contract or not.

"It's not about me or a contract ... let's get on, it's about Carlton and let's see if we can get this win we've been chasing for 10 years."

Judd added that the speculation about Ratten's future would not distract the players.

"All that contract talk will take care of itself, it's not a focus for the players," he said.

The changes for Carlton's team this Sunday remain unclear, with ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, defender Michael Jamison and midfielder Andrew Carrazzo all likely to play.

Key forward Jarrad Waite is also making a late bid for a shock recall as Carlton's substitute.

Ratten said Thursday's training will be "D-Day" for Waite, who has been out for several weeks after hip surgery.

"Where we sit, from the position of we need a forward, geez, he'd be not a bad sub, would he?," Ratten said of Waite.

"Could we maybe put him there and see if we can use him later in the game, when long kicking might be something that we do a little bit?

"He could stand out of the goalsquare and go pretty well."

Jamison (soreness) and Carrazzo (neck) should come back, while Kreuzer was hospitalised over the weekend after suffering a numb left foot early in Saturday night's loss to St Kilda.

It is understood Kreuzer had a cyst on an artery that supplies blood to the foot, but the Blues remain cagey over the exact nature of the problem.

"He (Kreuzer) did a little bit today and so did 'Jamo', they look alright at the moment, but there's still a fair bit of water to go under the bridge," Ratten said.

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