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Blues battlers to the end


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.''


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.


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.


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 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122 vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93 vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54 vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113 vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72 vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57 vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86 vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112 vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 9 9 0 0 151.61 36
West Coast Eagles 9 7 2 0 161.19 28
Sydney Swans 9 7 2 0 134.49 28
Collingwood 9 6 3 0 128.24 24
GWS Giants 9 6 3 0 110.26 24
Hawthorn 9 5 4 0 151.26 20
Adelaide Crows 9 5 4 0 113.37 20
Richmond 9 5 4 0 108.86 20
View all
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