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Carlton Blues’ decimated defence up for Freo test

CARLTON coach Michael Voss is confident the Blues’ decimated backline can grit their teeth and find a way to lock down Fremantle’s tall forwards.

Jacob Weitering, Oscar McDonald, Mitch McGovern and Caleb Marchbank’s respective absences were compounded when mid-season recruit Sam Durdin suffered a knee injury on debut against Richmond.

Fremantle forward Matt Taberner will return for Saturday’s game at Marvel Stadium to stretch Carlton’s defence alongside Rory Lobb and Griffin Logue, while Nat Fyfe is also a marking threat.

It has forced the Blues to call upon versatile young tall Brodie Kemp to partner Lewis Young, with Voss joking he felt like he was announcing Carlton’s newest key defender each week.

Carlton’s Lewis Young attempts to spoil from Richmond’s Shai Bolton and Jack Riewoldt in round 14 at the MCG on June 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

“We’ve had different looks down in that back six, back seven for most of the year. We’d clearly like some continuity in that particular area,” Voss said.

“(Kemp’s) more than capable of being able to come in and be able to do that job for us, based on what he’s been able to do across the whole season.

“We don’t need any heroes in the way that we play.”

Winning the ball at contests and pressuring the Dockers will be crucial, especially after Richmond had 76 inside-50s against the Blues last week.

“If the ball’s living in our back half like that then it will be a very, very long day for all of us,” Voss said.

“What I really encourage our whole team to ensure that we provide is that there’s pressure on the ball.

“We get enough pressure on the ball, then we can at least interrupt some of their build-up play and how fast they get it in there and that gives us a really fighting chance.

“If we look back to the last time we played Fremantle (a 35-point loss in round six), their contest was just far better than ours. It starts for us there.”

Voss admitted knocking over a top-three team would be “significant” but was unwilling to get too caught up in how big Saturday’s game was.

Meanwhile, he dismissed any interest in free agent Jordan De Goey, whose contract talks with Collingwood have been parked until season’s end after his partying in Bali.

He stressed the Blues were focused on their long-term list build.

“That’s got nothing to do with the conversations around him but that won’t be happening for us,” he said.

“We’ve been pretty clear on what our long-term draft strategy is. So we’re not going to deviate off that.”

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