Ratten questions Freo’s tactics
Carlton coach Brett Ratten has ramped up the pressure on Fremantle, describing their tactic to rest key players in round 21 as a “big risk”.
Sixth-placed Fremantle can guarantee a home final if they win Friday’s match against the eighth-ranked Blues, who could also host a playoff match if they win the Subiaco encounter.
Ratten says Fremantle’s decision to field a weakened team in last weekend’s 116-point loss to Hawthorn in Launceston could come back to haunt them.
“Players that have been out for four or five weeks, we know how good they can be on their day, but form is something you just can’t turn on,” Ratten said on Tuesday.
“You just can’t flick the switch and say `Here we go, big game, big moment, I’m going to deliver and play a great game’.”
Skipper Matthew Pavlich and exciting speedster Stephen Hill were among players rested last week.
Ruckman Aaron Sandilands, who has been out for three weeks with a foot injury, and midfielder Hayden Ballantyne (foot) are also expected to be recalled.
As well as resting seven players, small forward Paul Hasleby was a late withdrawal on Saturday.
“It will be interesting to see how many of those players they bring back in and can they flick the switch to find form straight away?” Ratten said.
“We’ve had a couple (of games) where we’ve made about four changes this year.
“Two or three is about the normal for most teams … when you get up to five or six it makes it quite interesting.”
Ratten said the Dockers had put more pressure on themselves by virtually conceding they couldn’t win in Tasmania and concentrating their energies on the Carlton game.
“It does (add pressure) I suppose. It puts your eggs in one basket,” he said.
“I suppose it’s a big risk. I don’t know how to take it.
“Is it smart management? Is it disrespecting our football club?
“I’m not sure. You’ll see what the result was Friday night and say it was a clever tactic or it didn’t work.”
Ratten said he was trying to keep a settled lineup leading up to the finals and had made two forced changes last week, with Shaun Hampson and Aaron Joseph missing the loss to Geelong with ankle injuries although both were set to return for the Perth assignment.
Ex-Melbourne midfielder Brock McLean is showing good signs in the reserves and is a chance to win a recall for the finals after recovering from knee surgery, Ratten said.
Lively small forward Chris Yarran will be strongly considered for the wide open spaces of Subiaco this week.