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Blues battlers to the end

Date

Martin Blake

St Kilda's Farren Ray and Carlton's Kade Simpson contest the footy.

St Kilda's Farren Ray and Carlton's Kade Simpson contest the footy. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

ST KILDA 4.1 8.4 10.6 16.10 (106) CARLTON 4.5 7.7 10.15 12.19 (91)
GOALS St Kilda: Milera 3, Wilkes 2, Armitage 2, Gram 2, Steven 2, Saad, Goddard, McEvoy, Stanley, Milne. Carlton: Waite 5, McLean, Betts, Garlett, Mitchell, Robinson, Duigan, Bell.
BEST St Kilda: Armitage, Gram, Steven, Siposs, Milera, Geary. Carlton: McLean, Waite, Gibbs, Walker, Kreuzer, Robinson.
INJURIES Carlton: Yarran (hamstring), Judd (hamstring), Tuohy (back) replaced in selected side by Curnow, Carrazzo (illness) replaced in selected side by Ellard.
REPORTS Milne (St Kilda) and Walker (Carlton) reported for wrestling before the opening bounce.
UMPIRES S Jeffery, D Margetts, J Bannister.
CROWD 31,393 at Etihad Stadium.

ONE last time, Brett Ratten stepped up for Carlton.

He did not need to coach at all, having been sacked during the week. But he looked at the final game as the final stages of a marathon. So he was going to finish.

The scuffle .... Carlton's Andrew Walker is forced to put on a new jumper after his niggle with Stephen Milne.

The scuffle .... Carlton's Andrew Walker is forced to put on a new jumper after his niggle with Stephen Milne. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The supporters, many of them so feral towards him over the years, found voice. They stood and cheered him at the breaks, and Ratten heard it, too.

But what happened was a reflection of Carlton's year, and Ratten's year. The Blues lost two players, captain Chris Judd and Chris Yarran, before half-time, critical blows. Still they kept battling St Kilda in what was an unusually testy and spiteful game, a throwback to the 1980s without the king hits.

But at some point, you felt, St Kilda's numerical advantage would tell. It did, but not until the final 15 minutes. Halfway through the last quarter the Blues were within sight of a famous victory, 15 points up after Brock McLean pinched the ball from a throw-in and ran into goal.

Brett Ratten coaching Carlton for the last time. Click for more photos

Carlton v St Kilda

St Kilda spoilt the party for outgoing Carlton coach Brett Ratten. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

McLean had raked the ball out of congested situations all day in another chapter of his own fantastic story, logging a career-high 39 disposals. ''We were confident we were going to run over the top of them,'' he would say later. ''But they just kept coming.''

The Saints kicked the last five goals of the game. Carlton's midfielders were in quicksand, having been denied the modern necessity of the rotation to the bench, and when the Blues went forward, they missed too many shots.

Four of the men who will take Scott Watters' team forward - David Armitage (from 50 metres), Rhys Stanley (from 55 metres), Ahmed Saad (from a Carlton turnover) and Jack Steven (on the run, as is his wont) found goals when they were needed. Stephen Milne soccered the other, his only major of a testy day in which he spent two hours wrestling with his opponent, Andrew Walker.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten with Eddie Betts after the game.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten with Eddie Betts after the game. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

It was a game Carlton might well have won. With McLean motoring in midfield and Jarrad Waite (five goals) brilliant up forward, the Blues arguably had the better individual players on the day.

But St Kilda was a fraction more even, completing its 12th win of a season that might have included September action had the Saints managed to win a few more close games. Jason Gram (26 disposals and two bombed goals), Armitage (25 disposals) and Steven (18 disposals, two goals) stepped up.

Afterward, Watters and his players were disappointed that for the first time since 2007, St Kilda will miss the finals. But he said the club had started a foundation, and promised a ''ruthless'' pre-season campaign. ''In many ways, how people want to measure this year doesn't really bother me,'' he said. ''It's more about what we do with this year, now.''

Ratten did not even enter the field after the game to wave to the supporters. ''I'm just a passing piece of history at our football club now, and I really appreciate what they were trying to do,'' he said. ''But at the end of the day, I didn't want to make it about me because it's not.

''We lost the game of football. We're here to get the four points, and we missed that opportunity. I really appreciate the applause before the game, [at] quarter-time, three-quarter time, but at the end of the day, the siren was probably the curtain drawn on my coaching at Carlton.''

Carlton arranged a private box for Ratten's wife, Jo, and his family yesterday. Friend Fraser Brown was among the guests at the president's lunch, wanting to see Ratten's final game as coach. Afterwards, Carlton gave Ratten the option of of skipping the post-match media conference. He did nothing of the sort.

Someone asked if he was bitter. ''Where does that get you? It's a good lesson for all of us. You actually have to take responsibility for your own actions or how it goes. I've got things to work on as a coach, and how I do things and I'll be working extremely hard to get those right.

''I've got two young boys and at one point, if they're good enough or lucky enough to be part of the Carlton Football Club I would love them to be there.''

Ratten's much-trumpeted dignity in the face of his sacking came from his parents, he said. ''We didn't have a lot of financial wealth or anything like that but the lessons they taught me, money can't buy.''

Ratten said he would write individual letters to his players soon. When they gathered straight after the game, his theme was the raising of expectations.

''They need to lift that. When it gets tough and you're running those pre-season hills or pushing the weights, not just individually but collectively we have to start pushing the expectation bar up even higher on each other. I think they have a great opportunity. But if there's going to be any success, it has to go to a new level.''

SPITEFUL START

An uncommonly spiteful afternoon with a goalsquare confrontation that recalled Alastair Lynch and Darryl Wakelin's 2004 grand final stous. All eyes at the opening bounce were on Andrew Walker and Stephen Milne going hammer and tongs.

ECHOES OF FEV

It's been three years since a big man in a No. 25 Carlton jumper stood inside the 50-metre arc with arms raised and guns blazing in celebration of a goal. On a day for reminiscing, Luke Mitchell got Blues fans cheering when he recovered a spilt mark and rolled through a goal with his first kick in AFL football. It drew him within 574 goals of Brendan Fevola.

NO FUN IN THE SUN

Footballers looking west weren't smiling. A dropped sitter by Beau Wilkes was the first of several fumbles by players who lost the ball in the sun. - PETER HANLON

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AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
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Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
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Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
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Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

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