Carlton coach Brett Ratten has finally admitted star AFL midfielder Chris Judd is carrying an injury, but says he’ll keep the exact nature of the ailment in-house.
Judd looked well below his best in Thursday night’s 10-point loss to West Coast in Perth, with the former Eagles skipper restricted to just 12 possessions by tagger Scott Selwood.
The match was Carlton’s fourth within the space of 18 days, and Ratten said the heavy workload had taken a toll on Judd’s body.
Ratten refused to go into details about Judd’s injury, but said he was hopeful the upcoming bye would give the 28-year-old enough time to recover ahead of season-defining clashes against Hawthorn and Collingwood.
“I think he’s really looking forward to the break,” Ratten said after the 10.19 (79) to 10.9 (69) loss, which left Carlton in ninth spot with a 6-6 record.
“He’s had to do a fair bit of work to get himself up to play each week.
“He’ll really thrive from having a few days off.
“He should be right, but he’s just got to work through this bit with that injury and take the time to heal.
“We’ve got 15 days so that will allow him to get a bit of recovery.”
Although Carlton have dropped five of their past six games, Ratten remains optimistic about his team’s finals chances after pushing Geelong and West Coast all the way in recent weeks.
“We haven’t lost hope, we’ve just lost two games of football by 12 and 10 points,” Ratten said.
“They’re arm-wrestles against very good teams.
“We’ve still got to aim to get as high as we can get. The great thing is we’re going to get (Jeremy) Laidler back, we’re going to start to get a few players back and that will start to help shape the team.
“We need to do a bit of work in making sure we have the opportunity, but we’ve just got challenges in front of us, like Hawthorn when we get back (after the bye).”
Meanwhile, injured Carlton duo Marc Murphy and Laidler are expected to receive a ‘please explain’ from the AFL after criticising the umpires of the Blues-Eagles match through twitter.
Murphy tweeted: “Ruined a good game these blokes”, while Laidler put up a post saying: “Are you not meant to try and b 1st in at the footy anymore. If u do u will be pinned for holding the ball. SHOCKING!!!”