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We've lost our spark, says Ratten

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Martin Blake and Michael Gleeson

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Small forwards inspire big win

St Kilda's small forwards dominated in their win over Carlton on Monday night, our footy experts review the fiery encounter.

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Carlton coach Brett Ratten says his team has lost its early-season spark, and threatened changes after the Blues were surprisingly beaten by St Kilda at the Docklands last night.

But he denied complacency had set in. "I don't think we're as sharp as we have been early, in the first three weeks. If you take a snapshot of the first three or four weeks, I thought we were up. Not the Essendon game, but outside that, Collingwood, Brisbane, Richmond, we were really up and about in our intensity. How fanatical we were to put heat on the opposition was really good. I think that's dropped away the last three weeks.

"I spoke to the boys post-game in regards to getting that back and that's something we have a big challenge to make sure we do because I think we've seen a snapshot."

An animated Brett Ratten speaks to his players at three-quarter-time.

An animated Brett Ratten speaks to his players at three-quarter-time. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Ratten said the Blues were one-paced last night and had failed to exploit their pace advantage.

"One of our advantages is our speed, we need to use our speed not just offensively but defensively," he said.

"Some of our players would have got a wake-up call tonight with regards to their position in the team. That will be looked at."

Ratten said Chris Yarran would definitely return for the game against the resurgent Adelaide on Sunday, again at Docklands.

"I don't think we're getting ahead of ourselves. We're really aware of the competition and how even it is."

Ratten said the Blues' ball use inside 50 was "terrible", giving the tall forwards no chance. In contrast, St Kilda was highly efficient at converting inside-50 entries to scores as its trio of small forwards turned the Blues inside out.

The Blues coach defended back pocket Aaron Joseph, who had a poor game and was substituted, saying that he had recently beaten Fremantle's dangerous small forward Hayden Ballantyne.

"It was a bit of alarm bells for us about (that and) we have a little bit more work to do in that area of the game (defence)," Ratten said.

"They hunted us today and they really got after us. We kept chipping away. But every time we seemed to get any momentum we made an error, and it was usually a big error."

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