Forget beating Brendan Fevola, Carlton is desperate to upset Brisbane on Thursday night to erase the heart-breaking memories from last year’s finals implosion.
The scars of the 2009 elimination final defeat to the Lions are still raw for the Blues, who gave up a 30-point final-quarter lead to lose by seven.
Carlton coach Brett Ratten admitted the loss continues to haunt his team and will be the prime motivating factor, well beyond overcoming Fevola, in its round two return to the Gabba.
“We don’t have to dig up the tape (to motivate players),” he said.
“The look on the players’ faces and in their eyes after the game, it’s something that sits with them.
“You look at Marc Murphy and (Kade) Simpson, those types of players, and how much it hurts and that’s what footy’s about.
“That was one that was a bitter taste and sat with the players and was a motivating force during the pre-season.”
The April Fools Day clash pits Blues discard Fevola against his old team-mates for the first time in the AFL premiership and could eclipse the record Gabba crowd of 37,224 set in 2005.
Ratten has not spoken to his former spearhead since the club traded him to Brisbane following his alcohol-fuelled Brownlow Medal antics.
“If he wants to ring me he can ring me,” he said on Wednesday.
Ratten will not address his players about how to deal with Fevola, saying it was “up to individuals”.
Michael Jamison, who would have spent countless training sessions matching up on Fevola in Melbourne, has the duty of minding him in the Gabba goal square, while either Paul Bower or Bret Thornton would take Jonathan Brown.
It is Brown who Carlton fears more after the Lions skipper was in brilliant form to kick five goals and take 14 marks in Brisbane’s 32-point opening round win over West Coast.
Ratten said his defensive preparations did not alter much from when Daniel Bradshaw lined up at full-forward.
“It maybe went to Brendan a lot more than Bradshaw, they went to him 27 times which was probably more than we did in games,” he said.
“Whether it’s Bradshaw or Fevola, Brown and his team-mate down there are dangerous and Brown’s form the other night was outstanding.”
Carlton is unchanged from its 56-point thrashing of Richmond while the Lions have promoted Cheynee Stiller in place of Sydney recruit Amon Buchanan.
Brisbane gained a boost on Wednesday morning with vice-captain Jed Adcock passing a fitness test on his injured ankle.
“For him to get up is a nice little bonus for us,” Lions coach Michael Voss said.
Both coaches predicted a tight contest on the basis of the rivals’ history of thrilling finishes in the last two years with Carlton winning three of the last four which have all featured final-quarter comebacks.
Ratten hoped an extra two days preparation time for the Blues would be telling for the visitors as Brisbane has not been able to train in their short five-day turnaround.
“Our games have been full of momentum in previous encounters so hopefully the momentum is with us with the run in the last quarter,” Ratten said.
“The experts have picked us out of the eight this year and picked Brisbane in the top four so we’ll get a good gauge where we’re at by the end of the game.”