Carlton to make AFL defence even stronger

By , 7 Apr 2012

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    Carlton defender Jeremy Laidler says the Blues could face a major drama at the selection table ahead of their AFL blockbuster with arch-rivals Collingwood.

    The Blues claimed their second win from two outings in the 2012 season with a 91-point thumping of Brisbane at the Gabba on Thursday night.

    Carlton hope to regain defenders Michael Jamison (back) and Nick Duigan (knee) from injury for their clash against the Magpies on April 13.

    “It’s good to get some confidence going for next week against Collingwood,” Laidler told reporters at Melbourne airport on Friday.

    “We’ve got a few coming back into defence as well. Our back six was pretty good last night.

    “It’s going to be tough for the selection (panel).

    “It’s good that we’re all playing good footy and there’s pressure coming from underneath.

    “I think ‘Jamo’ and ‘Duigs’ will have a test.”

    Defender Paul Bower’s spot could be under pressure despite gathering 24 possessions against the Lions.

    “He put in a massive pre-season. He had a point to prove,” Laidler said of Bower, who was offered up for trade late last year.

    Meanwhile, Carlton’s Kade Simpson admits he’s in awe of midfield stars Chris Judd and Marc Murphy.

    The pair dominated as Carlton highlighted the gulf between the two clubs by kicking 18 goals to three after Brisbane grabbed a surprise two-point quarter-time lead.

    Judd kicked three goals and claimed a game-high 33 possessions and Murphy had two goals and 30 disposals.

    “Sometimes I sit back and just watch Murph and Juddy go about their business and, tonight, both were exceptional,” said Simpson, who also kicked two majors in an impressive support role off the wing.

    Judd modestly suggested last week club champion Murphy was the Blues’ premier on-baller and the 24-year-old’s first-half display was such that it appeared the two-time Brownlow Medallist wasn’t so wrong.

    But the skipper, held to just two possessions in the opening quarter, came into his own as Carlton dismantled the Lions in front of a 25,920-strong crowd.

    Coach Brett Ratten was full of praise for his entire midfield group and also singled out Andrew Carrazzo for limiting the influence of Lions veteran Simon Black.

    And then were the highlight-reel moments from Eddie Betts, who produced two candidates for mark of the year, starting with a second-quarter screamer over James Polkinghorne before repeating the effort with a cleaner, yet less spectacular, grab over Cheynee Stiller in the third term.

    Brisbane came into the match with a spring in their step following a seven-goal mauling of Melbourne, but the Blues delivered a harsh reality check.

    “We know we’ve been smashed,” Brisbane coach Michael Voss said.

    “Their pressure at the contest was as good as I’ve seen over the last couple of years.”

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