Saturday, 14 July 2012
Carlton coach Brett Ratten is not prepared to concede that what appears his AFL club's spiral to finals oblivion is a done deal.
Despite a 53-point battering by North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Friday night which leaves the Blues outside the top eight and drifting further away, Ratten is not giving up hope of playing in September.
The 24.5 (149) to 14.12 (96) loss was emphatic, and deflating after the Blues' big win over Collingwood the previous week to arrest a run of poor form.
Instead, the Blues went from back on track to train wreck in the space of seven days.
Skipper Chris Judd faces possible suspension for a "chicken wing" tackle, defender Michael Jamison is also likely to be scrutinised by the match review panel and the Blues also have three fresh injuries.
But Ratten, who is likely to come under renewed job pressure if the Blues miss the finals, was defiant in the face of growing obstacles.
"We need to get some momentum. We're not getting any traction - we did early doors and then it fell away without any continuity in the team," Ratten said.
"It would be nice to not have three and four changes most weeks.
"It is frustrating but we've still got some footy to play and you can't write us off just yet.
"Until it says 'we're out', we won't be looking elsewhere than trying to make the finals. That's our aim."
Matches against the Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Sydney are upcoming and they would appear to decide the Blues' fate.
While midfielder Marc Murphy showed much promise in his first game for nearly three months and forward Jarrad Waite is on course to return from injury as soon as next week, the Blues now have doubts over defender Zach Tuohy (back), Andrew Walker (leg) and Aaron Joseph (concussion).
Judd's bizarre second quarter arm wrench on North's Leigh Adams earned him a match-day report from a boundary umpire.
And Jamison's crude, late knees-first challenge on Drew Petrie in the first quarter is also certain to come under the eye of the match review panel on Monday.
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