Magpies survive scare to edge out Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies survive scare to edge out Blues

By Roger Vaughan 04/08/2007 07:38:27 PM Comments (0)

Carlton caretaker coach Brett Ratten vehemently denied any suggestion of 'tanking' as Collingwood won their AFL match by 24 points at the MCG.

The Blues led by a goal at the start of the final term and scores were tied three times before the Magpies kicked the last four goals to win 18.12 (120) to 14.12 (96).

Carlton full-forward Brendan Fevola briefly left the field after he kicked his sixth goal in the final term and a couple of the Blues' midfield rotations during the last quarter also raised eyebrows.

The draft system, with its priority picks, means bottom teams routinely must fend off speculation about their motivation towards the end of the season, but Ratten said his only focus was winning.

"You come into our room and you tell the blokes that we're tanking and you come into the box - I will let you sit in the box and you see if I am tanking the game," he said.

"I will tell you now, I'm not and I won't be tanking any game - it's not on, it's not part of the game, it's not sportsmanlike."

In his second game as senior coach following the sacking of Denis Pagan, Ratten said he told his team at three-quarter time that the youngest Blues side in 37 years had the opportunity to upset its bitter rival in the run to the finals.

Instead, Magpies key forward Anthony Rocca kicked four of his five goals in the final term.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse said Rocca was close to joining three other players who were late withdrawals from the team.

Malthouse again said the only way to end speculation about tanking was for the AFL to scrap the priority pick system.

"If we've got doubts, and I think a lot of people have doubts, eliminate that process," he said.

"Let me tell you, that's not very wise for a coach, not to win games."

Malthouse has a theory that most coaches are only three-straight losses away from feeling the blowtorch of speculation about their job security.

He said given the talk about whether Kevin Sheedy might one day return to Richmond, Tigers coach Terry Wallace would entertain no thought of tanking when his bottom-placed side plays the Magpies next Friday night.

"You don't reckon Terry Wallace, with the heat of the media's frenzy with Sheeds, is going to say 'aw, we'll lay down'," Malthouse said.

"We've got a fight next week, against Richmond, because he won't tank it."

The Magpies had a massive scare late in the match when trainers had to help vice-captain James Clement from the field.

He had been out since round six with a torn calf.

But Clement only had mild concussion and is expected to be fit for next Friday night.

Late withdrawals Shane O'Bree, Guy Richards and Shane Wakelin could also return.

Magpies half-forward Travis Cloke was again excellent, while onballers Heath Scotland and Andrew Carrazzo impressed for the Blues.

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