Pressure is on Carlton and Eagles: Judd - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pressure is on Carlton and Eagles: Judd

By Greg Buckle 12/09/2011 07:33:42 PM Comments (0)

Carlton captain Chris Judd says he's bemused by any suggestion that all the pressure will be on West Coast in Saturday's knockout semi-final.

The Blues went one better than their elimination-final defeats of the past two AFL seasons by scoring a 62-point win over Essendon on Sunday at the MCG.

Buoyed by their first finals win in a decade, Judd says the Blues will take plenty of confidence into their clash with the Eagles at Perth's Patersons Stadium.

"I got asked this question about being under pressure last week. It bemuses me a little bit," Judd said on Monday.

"If you're motivated to avoid getting criticism in the press then certainly the favourite is under more pressure.

"But if you're motivated to be a successful footy side then both sides are under the exact same pressure because whoever loses is knocked out and whoever wins, their season stays alive."

West Coast's four-time All-Australian Dean Cox was subbed off during the third quarter of Saturday's qualifying final loss to Collingwood with a back complaint.

The Eagles are banking on Cox to be fit to partner Nic Naitanui in the ruck, while the Blues are hoping Matt Kreuzer can return to action following a foot injury which has kept him out of last week's win over Essendon.

Judd says taking on his former side on their home turf is one of his biggest challenges.

"They have a lot of players who are in career-best form. Their talls all the way across the field, they can really stretch sides," Judd said.

But Judd says the Blues have enough firepower in the ruck to match it with the Eagles.

"Robbie Warnock, his work in the ruck (on Sunday) was probably the best game he's had for the footy club," Judd said.

"Him combined with Setanta (O'hAilpin) and Shaun Hampson has had a good day yesterday (kicking six goals in the VFL), you throw Kreuzer in the mix, we've got some pretty talented talls that will be looking forward to taking it up to the West Coast mob."

The Eagles beat Carlton by 36 points at Etihad Stadium in round 14 and Judd was kept quiet by tagger Scott Selwood.

Judd, who is favoured to win his third Brownlow Medal on September 26, also struggled at times on Sunday against the tag of Essendon's Heath Hocking.

"Probably the last three games have been average to quiet," Judd said of his recent form.

Judd said out-of-contract coach Brett Ratten, who was under pressure to win a final after early exits in the past two years, had not let the pressure to retain his job affect his day-to-day coaching.

"It has just been business as usual for 'Ratts'," Judd said.

The Blues have not ruled small forward Bryce Gibbs out of the Eagles clash despite a sprained A-C joint.

However key forward Jarrad Waite, who has been out of the side since hurting his hip in round 16, will have more surgery and his season is over.

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