From: Steve Butler Melbourne, The West Australian June 14, 2012, 7:13 am
Old boys rally for Ratten
The old boys of Carlton have rallied behind coach Brett Ratten as pressure continues to build on the Blues ahead of their crucial clash with West Coast at Patersons Stadium tonight.
Geoff Southby, Jim Buckley, Percy Jones and Alex Marcou all agreed yesterday that Carlton's hopes had been hijacked by injury to key players after a barnstorming start to the season.
Preparing to celebrate in August the respective anniversaries of the Blues' 1972 and 1982 premierships, the quartet gathered at Jones' well-known Carlton hotel, affectionately known as Percy's Pub.
Southby, a dual club best and fairest who was named in Carlton's team of the century in a back pocket, reflected the quartet's thoughts on Ratten and the club's rollercoaster season with his belief that injuries had played a rotten role.
"They're pretty disappointing at the moment in what's been a tough year," Southby said.
"We started in a blaze of glory and then went from chocolates to boiled lollies very quickly.
"We've had a few injuries, but we've also dropped off badly in our intensity at the ball over the last five or six weeks and it's hurt us badly.
"We're really going to have to get our act together to get back and be a contender for the eight.
"To finish top four was a reasonable expectation after the last couple of years and it wasn't beyond them.
"But it's a tough competition and amazingly competitive.
"Ratts has done very little wrong in his time there. He's made his way and gradually improved the team and deserves to be where he is at the moment.
"He loves the club ... he's given his heart and soul to it both on and off the field."
Southby also said he hoped the Blues would be able to revive their season in time for the 30 and 40-year celebrations of their grand final wins, both over Richmond.
The Taming the Tigers luncheon will be held at Etihad Stadium on August 3.
"It will celebrate the wonderful era of the two premierships against the Tigers," Southby said.
"It's a great day for the Spirit of Carlton (the club's past players group) and raising the spirit.
"The lies are getting bigger and bigger by the year, as are the kicks and the stats, so there will be plenty of that going on."