Rat­ten sup­ports Rich­mond’s place in opener

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - Townsville Bul­letin

CARL­TON coach Brett Rat­ten be­lieves his­tory jus­ti­fies Rich­mond shar­ing the open­ing night AFL spot­light with the Blues amid un­cer­tainty over his own fu­ture.

Rat­ten is one of just four cur­rent AFL coaches who have taken their team to the fi­nals for the past two years.

Yet, as he pre­pares to open the AFL sea­son against the Tigers at the MCG tonight, he ac­knowl­edges the Blues hi­er­ar­chy is right to de­mand more in the fi­nal year of his con­tract.

‘‘ The club’s been built on suc­cess and de­mands suc­cess and we won’t shy away from that,’’ Rat­ten said.

‘‘ That’s some­thing the club’s been built on, the foun­da­tion, so we want to make sure we keep push­ing for­ward as a group. We’ve had two dis­ap­point­ing years, we want to make sure that this year we win a fi­nal.’’

Rat­ten, a for­mer Blues skip­per and three-time best and fairest, says nar­row losses in elim­i­na­tion fi­nals in the past two sea­sons have been dis­ap­point­ing.

Par­tic­u­larly at a club that, level with Essendon on 16 pre­mier­ships, is the most suc­cess­ful in the VFL/ AFL.

It is that sense of his­tory which makes Rat­ten a firm sup­porter of the Blues and Tigers con­tin­u­ing to start the sea­son, as they have for the past three years.

Carl­ton de­stroyed Rich­mond in the most r e c e n t t wo s e a s o n - o p e n e r s , prompt­ing ques­tions over the Tigers’ wor­thi­ness of the block­buster oc­ca­sion, de­spite draw­ing 70,000-plus crowds to the fix­ture. But Rat­ten said the pas­sion be­tween two clubs that have met in six grand fi­nals – four of which Rich­mond won – and 22 times in fi­nals could not be wiped away by a cou­ple of one-sided re­sults.

‘‘ That’s very un­fair. The his­tory be­tween Carl­ton and Rich­mond goes back for years and grand fi­nals. It’s great to have two tra­di­tional Mel­bourne teams to kick the sea­son off.’’

And while the Blues’ pre-sea­son has been much bet­ter than Rich­mond’s, he is not ex­pect­ing an­other easy night. ‘‘ I ex­pect them to come out snarling. ‘‘ The emo­tion of round one, there’s a lot of ten­sion and ev­ery­one’s been itch­ing to go and it’s go­ing to be prob­a­bly on at the first bounce.’’

Brett Rat­ten

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