Suns put Ratten's reign on the line
Shining Sun: Campbell Brown celebrates. Photo: Getty Images
IT WAS the question that had to be asked, the one Carlton coach Brett Ratten was expecting after the upset 12-point loss to the Suns, and his response was icy and to the point.
"What do you reckon, mate?" he said, in regard to whether it would have ramifications for his continuing tenure. "Come on, you asked me, what do you reckon?"
Collectively, that was taken as a yes. Ratten nodded. "Good guess," he said. It was all that needed to be said, really.
The loss means if Fremantle beats North Melbourne today the Blues have no hope of qualifying for the top eight.
Captain Chris Judd was measured. "There's no doubt the players let everyone down tonight. It's not about 'Ratts', it's about us letting down our entire footy club and our supporters, and the senior players need to take responsibility for that."
The more immediate ramification for the Blues' loss to Gold Coast is obvious and shattering for a side that, early in the season, looked like a potential premier.
"It means we can't play finals and that was a goal of ours as a football club," Ratten said.
It has been a cursed season for the Blues and the game was full of ill portents from the outset. "It was a bit like a train wreck today," the coach said. "From the first bounce, [Andrew] McInnes does an ACL, you know. It just went poorly for us in a lot of areas. And, you know, full credit to the Suns early - they scored, but [it was] just the way they scored, and our intensity was just really off the pace.
"By the end of the game we've dominated nearly every area of the game, but our inability to score and the way that they kept scoring - even in the third [quarter], they took it in [inside 50] eight times and scored five times.
"We were taking it in numerous times and by the end we've had 31 shots and three or four out on the full, so we've had 35 shots from 66 entries to 43. It's just very, very poor football, and we've only got ourselves to blame."
Inaccuracy certainly cost the Blues. "We fought our way back into the game, but we just didn't kick it through the big sticks," Judd said. But to focus on Carlton's mistakes sells the Suns' efforts short, as Ratten acknowledged.
"The Suns' record up here has been pretty solid, against the Kangaroos, Essendon, and through periods of the game they played well last week. So we knew we'd be in for a real fight. It's slippery up here, it's dewy, those types of things.
"But at the end of the day, for Levi [Casboult] and [Jarrad] Waite to get 11 shots at goal, you'd think you'd get a better result than two goals nine [behinds].
"We gave the Suns a look, and we spoke about it before the game, that if we do, they're going to be there all day, and they were, they were right at us. We gave them the opportunity, and they delivered."
For the local team, they delivered in front of 15,251 mostly delirious fans in just the Suns' third win of the year - matching the victory tally from their debut season in 2011.
But it was easily their most famous victory, having limped into the round with a 20-strong injury list and banishing out-of-knick star utility Jared Brennan to the reserves this weekend.
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