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Blues defend tackling after Judd AFL case
By Guy Hand
18:36 AEST Wed Jul 18 2012

Carlton have strongly defended their tackling tactics, saying it is unfair to cast any slur against the AFL club in the wake of the Chris Judd suspension.

Blues coach Brett Ratten has staunchly defended both his skipper and the club over the now-infamous chicken-wing tackle despite Carlton deciding not to fight Judd's four-match ban.

Ratten says Judd possesses among "the finest" character of anyone he has come across in more than 20 years in the sport.

And he bristled at claims the Blues needed to change their tackling techniques, saying it was unfair to single out Carlton among AFL clubs.

"I find that pretty offensive really," Ratten said.

"I think the scrutiny could go through a lot of teams if you want to put the time into it - which I don't think people do - and have the same scrutiny as they do on Chris Judd on the tackling techniques of all the teams in the competition.

"It now becomes a focus that our football club goes out of our way to do these types of things (harm other players).

"It's not right and it's not fair."

Ratten blamed "bad technique" for the look of Judd's tackle on North Melbourne's Leigh Adams, in which the Carlton skipper lifted and twisted the Kangaroos forward's arm as he was pinned face-down in a tackle.

Adams suffered a shoulder injury in the incident.

"I've worked with Chris for five years ... and his character and what he does as a leader, he's in the best people I've seen play the game and the spirit that they play the game too," Ratten said.

"I can tell you Chris wasn't there to harm him (Adams).

"Anyway, he's been done, he's got four weeks. But if you talk about character and what people bring to the game, he's one of the finest I've seen."

The day after the most talked about suspension in the AFL this season, the league was forced to deny claims of interference in the Judd case.

Judd's manager Paul Connors slammed the tribunal's decision to hammer Judd with the lengthy ban, claiming AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson had interfered in the process which led to the suspension.

But Anderson strongly denied any influence in the decisions by the match review panel to refer the case directly to the tribunal, and the tribunal to suspend Judd until round 21.

Both the panel and tribunal operate as independent bodies from the league, Anderson said.

"The comments were baseless and offensive to the process that was in place to determine these incidents on behalf of the AFL," Anderson said.

"The allegation of interference is a very serious one, and a wrong one."

Connors apologised later on Wednesday for his comments - made on Melbourne radio station SEN - to Anderson and match review panel chairman Mark Fraser.

"I jumped to incorrect conclusions and stated them as fact," Connors said in a statement.

"I accept that the MRP (match review panel) and the tribunal are independent bodies and I apologise to Adrian for suggesting that he would interfere and to Mark for suggesting that he would allow such interference.

"I didn't intend to undermine confidence in the MRP and tribunal system and hope I haven't done that."

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