Carlton coach backs Judd to fire back - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carlton coach backs Judd to fire back

Justin Chadwick 16/09/2011 11:57:11 AM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten has laughed off suggestions Chris Judd suffered stage fright in last week's AFL elimination final win over Essendon, saying the Blues skipper is a proven big-game performer.

Despite Carlton's utter dominance over the Bombers, Judd was restricted to just 19 possessions by Heath Hocking in an unusually quiet performance.

Judd will confront his former West Coast teammates in Saturday night's semi-final clash at Patersons Stadium, and Ratten backed the Brownlow Medal favourite to fire in the cut-throat encounter.

"I don't think we could say that Chris Judd doesn't come up to big-game standards," a bemused Ratten said before his team trained at the WACA Ground on Friday.

"He won a Norm Smith medal (for West Coast in 2005) in the biggest stage of all time.

"I think Hocking did a pretty good job on him.

"Probably stopped a bit of his momentum.

"But what it did do is allowed (Marc) Murphy and (Kade) Simpson to really get going for us, so that was really important in the game.

"And I suppose at the end of the game, how far do you push yourself to get an extra two, three or five touches ... when maybe the game's done and dusted?

"I thought he played his part really well."

Ratten said even if Judd was quiet again, it wouldn't matter so long as his teammates stepped up to the plate.

"Whether they (Eagles taggers) sit on Judd or Murphy, sometimes other players get the luxury of getting a bit of freedom," Ratten said.

"It's about our 22 and that's what's really important about finals.

"Even Parko (former Carlton coach David Parkin) sent me a message saying it's not about the one individual in finals, it's about the 22 that contribute.

"It's so important that everyone plays their part and Chris is a part of that.

"He'll get the close attention, they'll be hanging onto him and grabbing him and those things.

"Hopefully they (the umpires) protect the bloke going for the ball."

West Coast remain confident midfielder Daniel Kerr and ruckman Dean Cox will play despite their recent back issues, while Carlton are expected to go in as named despite flying over ruckman Shaun Hampson and Paul Bower as emergencies.

The Eagles encountered few problems on the way to a 36-point victory over the Blues at Etihad Stadium in round 14, but Ratten claimed the match didn't reflect Carlton's true spirit.

Aaron Joseph, Mitch Robinson, Jeremy Laidler, Nick Duigan, Setanta O'hAilpin and Marcus Davies were all missing that day but will play on Saturday, while premier defender Michael Jamison had little influence in that June encounter after suffering an early knee injury.

"I suppose (the ferocity) is the difference with this line-up ... (compared to) the one (we took into the game) at Etihad Stadium," Ratten said.

"When you put Laidler and Duigan and Robinson back in, you just think 'gees, we're a fair bit harder than we were last time, at the footy and the man'.

"So that's something we're looking forward to."

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