JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Blues daze for coach

Gold Coast players celebrate as the end of the match nears.

Gold Coast players celebrate as the end of the match nears. Photo: Getty Images

KNEE-JERK reactions are rife in football. In which case Carlton coach Brett Ratten could be about to feel their full effect.

The Blues' coach, under pressure all season to keep his post despite having a year left to run on his contract but looking safer recently after Carlton's four wins in its past five games, might have had those credits more than wiped out in one of the upsets of the season on the Gold Coast last night.

Carlton has known more embarrassment than its entire previous history this past decade, including its first wooden spoons, but last night's 12-point loss to the fledgling Suns, with so much at stake, will sting as painfully as any of them.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten arrives back in Melbourne.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten arrives back in Melbourne. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The Blues' finals hopes are shot. And more than likely their coach's career with them. Even over the course of Carlton's mini-revival this past month, there has remained elements of the club's board and powerbrokers still agitating for change.

They can be expected to give full vent to their discontent now. And if former Collingwood premiership coach Mick Malthouse hasn't already taken a phone call or two from someone with Carlton connections, he most assuredly will.

The miracle it would now take for Carlton to still make it to September requires Fremantle to lose to North Melbourne today, very possible, but also to Melbourne at home the following week, an upset on the same scale as last night's.

And given the likely shock waves coming out of Visy Park over the next few days, even that might not make a difference.

That might be unfair, for as has been well-documented, injuries ripped the heart out of the Blues' playing list at a critical stage of the season, during which they lost six games out of seven to plummet from early premiership favouritism to a team battling to stay in touch.

The gradual return of the stars, and the ''discovery'' of replacements such as Levi Casboult, Tom Bell and Andrew McInnes, righted the ship to a point where by last week's 96-point smashing of Essendon, Ratten looked arguably more likely to stay in the post than not.

But if several senior Blues had spoken publicly about ''playing for their coach'' recently, and that's certainly how it has appeared, they couldn't have delivered a more hurtful slap to his face than the apathetic manner in which they started last night, conceding the first six goals to a wooden-spoon candidate.

They should, and will, be on the end of a truckload of criticism. But those gunning for Ratten, given the finals death knell, will be wheeling out his pre-season boldness regarding a top-four finish as a smoking gun. And so will they pounce on another example of the mental fragility that has reared its head consistently at the worst possible moments, arguing those lapses of attitude in a collective sense, must ultimately be worn by the man in charge.

There have certainly been several stark examples in 2012. But last night, given the level of football Carlton achieved just last Saturday in its crushing of Essendon, might top them all.

Carlton's win over Gold Coast, winner of just two games all season, was taken as a given, the only question by how much it could boost its percentage in a race with Fremantle for the last spot in the finals. But instead we were delivered a script no one could have foreseen.

As a long bomb from Gary Ablett was marked by Suns veteran Campbell Brown close to goal, Carlton trailing by 10 points with under five minutes left on the clock, the cameras captured Ratten dropping the phone he had been gripping tightly, and clasped both hands to his head.

That might prove the moment he realised two games were up. For his team. And for his own career in charge of the club he loves and served with distinction as a player.

Yesterday, in his newspaper column, Paul Roos wrote that he believed a rational assessment by Carlton powerbrokers would see Ratten retained. There was, however, a qualifier: ''But there will be those who see Malthouse as the answer to lifting the premiership cup once again for this extremely proud and demanding football club.'' After last night, you can rest assured that rightly or wrongly, there will be a lot more joining that band.

21 comments

  • For a bloke who seems down-to-earth, you're a bit of a turncoat Connolly. You scathingly wrote off your beloved Essendon last week, criticising their list that put them in the top4 for nearly 3/4 of a season, and now gleefully put the knife into Ratten.

    You've lost my support dude, you're just another hack, looking to shill a more more lucrative gig for the Murdochs, contributing to their hysterical charade of footy 'experts'.

    You're just Mark Robinson with a better diction!

    Commenter
    Yazza
    Location
    Greensborough
    Date and time
    August 26, 2012, 12:32AM
    • They should have Grant Thomas'd Ratten last year. After two previous 1st round exits (one of them a particularly gutting upset), last year should have been prelims or bust. Instead, winning one final (against an Essendon side which made the 8 despite winning less than half of its games- compare that to the fringe of this year's 8!) somehow got him retained.

      "Top 4 or bust!" was right. Injuries could be blamed for not making top 4 if they made the top 8 and made some noise now they're as close to full strength as anyone still is at this stage of the season. Instead they lose to an injury ravaged Gold Coast with finals on the line, which shows that injuries aren't the problem. A rational assessment is that Ratten has had enough years in the job to shape and build this team to the best of his ability, it's not good enough, time to give someone else a go. The Saints made the right call on dumping Grant Thomas, and he got his Saints further than Ratten has got his blues. There's a reasonable argument that the Bulldogs should have done it to Eade (the same way Sydney did to Eade years earlier, a very good rebuilding coach but not one who seems to be able to take a team to the final hurdle). Carlton will only regret delaying the inevitable here.

      Commenter
      Arky
      Date and time
      August 26, 2012, 12:48AM
      • I feel for Ratts, and this result should not be the reason to replace him, a decision should not be made on one game no matter how bad...kick straight and the team would have won. He deserves to go around again next year. All this talk about Malthouse, a man who only delivered 2 flags in 20+ years when during that time those teams should have delivered at least 4? why the hype? Keep Ratts, he has grown and will continue to grow with the team he has put together after he inherited a terrible list.

        Commenter
        Macca
        Date and time
        August 26, 2012, 2:32AM
        • Stuff sacking Ratten, I vote merger. Carlton Tigers sounds good. St. Kilda Blues? Get rid of some of those wanna be players too. Get players with some heart and guts, fighters, go get 'em blokes. Screw Malthouse, too old, too short term. Carlton Demons? Colours aren't too much of a stretch. Look how well the Bears did after they merged. North Blues? We could nab Scott as a coach and have Ratten assist. Not bad. Carlton Vixens? After last night's performance I think the Blues would do well at netball, although they might struggle to score...

          Commenter
          Have a go ya mug
          Location
          P. Park
          Date and time
          August 26, 2012, 3:01AM
          • Rohan Connolly has made a sterling defence of Ratten's performance as a coach, citing injuries as the main cause for Carlton's disappointing season. Clearly, those injuries didn't help. But the assessment is much more complicated than that. It's what he does on the field - or more to the point, what he doesn't do - that should be the determinant of his continuing tenure.

            What has been glaringly obvious is that, tactically, he's either just too slow or, as has been embarrassingly revealed week after week, he is simply devoid of ideas. On top of that, he has not been creative or proactive in the use of the list of players available to him. He's not blooded players nearly well enough to provide them with senior game time experience in order for them to be able to adequately cover the injury situation Carlton found itself in. Players like Casboult, Bell and McIness only fell into the team when there simply weren't enough of the usual suspects who were injury free.

            Yes, the players should be accountable for performances like the one yesterday but it's the coach's job to train his charges to be switched on and to stay switched on week in and week out. If they're not, then it's down to the coach. He does that on the training track as much as on game day. Creative moves on the field can inspire a team to respond. If there's not much light emanating from the coach, then the light in the players goes out as well.

            Commenter
            DJS
            Date and time
            August 26, 2012, 5:11AM
            • The traffic on the Hume highway will busy on Monday as all those Carlton supporters head off on their September holidays. Long time supporters would have booked their holiday many weeks ago, but for those die hards that were planning on heading into the finals series as favourites, ROFL. I bet your wishing now you had taken part in "tanking season" with those other loosers, Essendon. The lesson for this season is; Being on top in May does not win you a premiership in October.

              Commenter
              Bluey
              Date and time
              August 26, 2012, 6:46AM
              • I am not sure that you can slate all the blame at the coach, but maybe a new coach is needed to bring the broom through the squad. Waite overpaid and over-rated, loses as many games for us as he wins. We desperately need a key forward who will do the job more often than not, our mid-field must find it incredibly frustrating to send the ball forward time and time again for no result.
                If the Fev can't be brought back, scour the country leagues for a seasoned performer, as the set up of relying on smalls and Waite will continue to fail this club. Look at Geelong who found the Pod. There are blokes out there, who would love a crack at the big time.

                Commenter
                Blues at Hervey Bay
                Location
                Hervey Bay
                Date and time
                August 26, 2012, 7:48AM
                • Norwood.

                  Commenter
                  billygoat
                  Location
                  ponziville
                  Date and time
                  August 26, 2012, 8:04AM
                  • Injuries are no excuse. West Coast and Collingwood have had just as many, if not more, and they're both vying for a top 4 finish. And Carlton started their losing streak before the injury "crisis" really hit. Carlton's "return to form" coincided with a run of games against lower ranked teams, and giving Essendon a hiding is hardly an achievement given the state they are in at the moment. The stated ambition at the start of the season was top 4. The call after round 3 by all their fans was that the premiership was theirs for the taking. Take no notice of the fans because they're deluded, but the club itself should be marked against it's own pre-season assessment. And on that score they get a BIG FAT "F". Pure and simple. Which means Ratten has to go. If it isn't done after next week, then it will only mean an early end to his season next year, because the year will pan out exactly the same as this year. With top 4 ambition and a failure to make the finals.

                    Commenter
                    dms1972
                    Location
                    Adelaide
                    Date and time
                    August 26, 2012, 8:26AM
                    • As a Blues supporter of 36 years, I can only say that last nights performance was embarrassing. However, I do not think that the finger can be pointed at Ratten. To let the Suns kick the first 6 goals is on the players. Our own appalling kicking at goal was on the players. Our disposal inaccuracy is on the players. Getting rid of Ratten is not the answer. The same cannot be said for getting rid of some of the lower tier of our playing group.

                      Commenter
                      Michael
                      Location
                      Melbourne
                      Date and time
                      August 26, 2012, 8:29AM

                      More comments

                      Comments are now closed

                      Related Coverage

                      AFL 2015

                      Round 1
                      Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
                      CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
                      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
                      MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
                      SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
                      BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
                      WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
                      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
                      STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
                      ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
                      FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
                      Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
                      HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 2
                      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
                      WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
                      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
                      RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
                      GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
                      COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
                      GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
                      PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
                      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
                      GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
                      ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
                      NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 3
                      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
                      COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
                      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
                      CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
                      ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
                      SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
                      NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
                      BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
                      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
                      HAW 127 vs WBU 57 13:10AS
                      GEE 105 vs GCF 96 15:20SS
                      WCE 81 vs FRE 111 16:40Domain Stadium
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 4
                      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
                      RIC 51 vs MEL 83 19:50MCG
                      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
                      STK 81 vs CAR 121 11:10NZ
                      ESS 49 vs COL 69 14:40MCG
                      GWS 119 vs GCF 53 17:40SO
                      PTA 99 vs HAW 91 19:40Adelaide Oval
                      FRE 74 vs SYD 60 20:45Domain Stadium
                      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
                      BRI 65 vs WCE 118 13:10G
                      GEE 67 vs NTH 83 15:20SS
                      WBU 125 vs ADE 68 16:40ES
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 5
                      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
                      CAR 45 vs COL 120 19:50MCG
                      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
                      RIC 76 vs GEE 85 13:45MCG
                      SYD 73 vs WBU 77 14:10SCG
                      GCF 118 vs BRI 54 16:35MS
                      NTH 70 vs HAW 130 19:20ES
                      WCE 120 vs GWS 33 19:40Domain Stadium
                      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
                      MEL 50 vs FRE 118 13:10MCG
                      STK 80 vs ESS 82 15:20ES
                      ADE 91 vs PTA 115 16:40Adelaide Oval
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 6
                      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
                      COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
                      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
                      NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
                      WBU vs STK 14:10ES
                      GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
                      GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
                      MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
                      FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
                      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
                      CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
                      PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 7
                      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
                      ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
                      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
                      ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
                      HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
                      CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
                      SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
                      WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
                      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
                      WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
                      RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
                      BRI vs PTA 16:40G
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 8
                      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
                      GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
                      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
                      STK vs WCE 13:45ES
                      GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
                      GCF vs COL 16:35MS
                      HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
                      FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
                      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
                      ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
                      MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
                      PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
                      View All Fixtures
                      Round 9
                      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
                      SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
                      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
                      HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
                      MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
                      WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
                      RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
                      ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
                      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
                      BRI vs STK 13:10G
                      COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
                      WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
                      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 5 5 0 0 151.10 20
                      Collingwood 5 4 1 0 147.53 16
                      Western Bulldogs 5 4 1 0 104.75 16
                      Hawthorn 5 3 2 0 149.86 12
                      West Coast Eagles 5 3 2 0 145.92 12
                      Sydney Swans 5 3 2 0 118.26 12
                      Adelaide Crows 5 3 2 0 111.40 12
                      GWS Giants 5 3 2 0 102.87 12
                      View all
                       
                      Featured advertisers