Monday 19 March 2018

O hAilpin survives Blues cull

Daragh O Conchuir

Carlton's leading goalkicker, Setanta O hAilpin, has survived the wrath of his coach to retain his place on the team that takes on Adelaide at AAMI Stadium tomorrow.

O hAilpin, who has nine goals to his credit from three games, was among those heavily criticised by Brett Ratten in the wake of last weekend's tame defeat by Essendon. Ratten singled out the former 'hurler of the year' as he expressed his disappointment with how the Blues' big men played.

As expected, Carlton have gone for a smaller, quicker forward line, but it is experienced duo, Jarrad Waite and Bret Thornton, who have been culled, with O hAilpin's form in the previous two rounds saving him from the chop.

He is selected at centre-forward for the clash with the Crows, but it is clear from his coach's comments in mid-week, that O hAilpin needs to produce this week.

"Maybe some of the performances of individuals in that game when they had the opportunity was very poor'', said Ratten. "Setanta had one possession (in the first quarter) and it was from a smother and a kick-off-the-ground goal, so you'd expect maybe a little bit more out of that.

"Overall, our big men played very, very poorly on the weekend, just failing to compete -- and that's been highlighted during the week."

Tadhg Kennelly returns to the starting line-up after two weeks operating from the interchange bench. The Listowel man is named in the full-back line for Sydney's fourth-round trip to North Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.

Pearce Hanley is unlikely to make his seasonal debut for Brisbane Lions, but the Ballaghadereen native is named as an emergency for the first time, and could be in line for a call-up if there are any late injuries.

Irish Independent

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