AFL finals pain driving Blues: Ratten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL finals pain driving Blues: Ratten

Sam Lienert 10/09/2011 01:23:28 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten says it will be pain rather than pressure driving the Blues in Sunday's AFL elimination final against Essendon at the MCG.

Having not won a final in a decade and lost cut-throat encounters at the same stage against Brisbane and Sydney in the past two years, the Blues' credibility and potentially Ratten's career are on the line.

But rather than reflecting on the potential consequences of defeat, Ratten said Carlton aimed toharness the agony of the past two years' tight finals losses to push them a step further on Sunday.

"There's no doubt that with disappointment comes a lot of hunger and resolve and I suppose players reflect on that a little bit," Ratten said.

"Experiencing it (as a Carlton player) in '93 and '94, we went out in straight sets, then in '95 we got the ultimate success.

"But going through those losses actually makes you a lot more steelier and ready for the combat.

"Sometimes going through a loss actually helps you to get the prize that you're after."

Ratten said it was significant that Sunday's match was at home, with the previous finals under his reign having been played interstate.

Carlton will enter the match with some serious structural queries, given they are missing their best key forward, Jarrad Waite, and talented ruckman-forward Matthew Kreuzer, through injury.

It leaves Setanta O'hAilpin as the Blues' prime marking target, in what will be his first final.

But Ratten said having O'hAilpin and another marking player, perhaps Bret Thornton, in attack, would at least allow the Blues to kick long to a contest, unlike last weekend against St Kilda, when Kreuzer was taken off with a foot injury.

"When you have a big-bodied person ... just even to create a reference point for (small forwards Jeff Garlett and Eddie Betts) and those players is really handy," he said.

"Setanta will be there and another tall, so that will give us a reference point."

Fullback Michael Jamison will start in defence, but might again pinch-hit in attack, as he did against Hawthorn in round 22, his only game since June.

Ratten declared Jamison fully fit, despite missing last weekend's loss to the Saints, after returning from a knee injury against the Hawks.

The Blues also recalled Thornton and David Ellard and regained Andrew Carrazzo, a possible opponent for Essendon captain Jobe Watson, who Ratten labelled Carlton's biggest threat.

The Bombers regained veteran defender Dustin Fletcher and midfielder Heath Hocking, a likely opponent for Carlton skipper Chris Judd.

Ratten predicted Judd would cop heavy physical treatment, but warned the Blues would also dish some out.

"Most of the players of any influence for both of the teams will have a close-checking, physical sort of focus, " he said.

"(Marc) Murphy will probably get his attention, Watson will get his, (David) Zaharakis, (Brent) Stanton, they'll get theirs, so I think it will be going both ways."

AAP

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