MELBOURNE – Carlton coach Brett Ratten has questioned inequalities in the AFL draw, which could cost the club a finals spot.
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Ratten said questions should be asked if a team which was able to chalk up 13 wins this year did not make the top eight.

While the Blues are currently 11th on the ladder with 10 wins, victories on the closing three rounds would give them 13 – but not necessarily a finals berth.

Essendon at eighth on the ladder has 11 wins, just one more than the Blues.

Carlton this year will have played power side Collingwood and Essendon twice and clubs near it – St Kilda and Richmond – twice.

North Melbourne is sixth on the ladder with 12 wins and by contrast has met bottom sides Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs twice.

“It’s interesting; if you won 13 games and didn’t make the eight, does that put it down to the draw?” Ratten asked.

“We’ve got to win this week before we can say we’re going to win 11 games, but that would be very interesting for teams to have a year like that.

“It would be the first time a team has won 13 games and not made the eight, which then would really put it down to: is the draw that fair then?”

Former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse said earlier this week that ladder leaders Sydney and Adelaide did not deserve their positions because they had had easier draws.

Ratten said a 50% win-loss ratio was arguably not a strike rate that should warrant a finals spot.

“I think if you win 50%, if you’re 11 and 11, that really puts you in the basket of, do you deserve to be there or not?

“But when you get to 13, I think you might have a case to say you’re in pretty good shape and maybe you should make it.”

Ratten said the addition of new club Greater Western Sydney added a new variation to the top eight.

“This first year was always (a matter of) how’s it going to pan out?” he said.

“I think we’re just having a look as a competition across the board to see what’s the new number for teams making the eight.”

Malthouse claimed Hawthorn was better than both Sydney and Adelaide.

“I just can’t get my head around it. Looking at the ladder and seeing Sydney on top, Adelaide second,” Malthouse said.

“I can’t get my head around them being the best two sides in the comp _ because they’re not.

“It’s a lot to do with the draw. They’re not the best sides. I’m not saying they’re dreadful sides but I don’t think they’re the best sides, and they can finish on top of the ladder.”

Brett Ratten

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