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Combative Carlton up for Swans challenge

Carlton coach Michael Voss is imploring his surging Blues to continue playing with a combative mindset ahead of their AFL blockbuster against Sydney.

The Blues (7-2) host the Swans (6-3) at Marvel Stadium on Friday night as the top-four contenders meet in the clear game-of-the-round.

Carlton are off to their best start to a season since 1996, after almost a decade of misery not playing finals.

The Blues will front up just five days off a bruising victory over GWS at Giants Stadium last Sunday.

The spotlight has shone on Swans star Luke Parker this week after cameras captured him taunting Essendon midfielder Dylan Shiel last Saturday night.

Voss, one of the AFL’s fiercest competitors during his legendary playing career with the Brisbane Lions, called the Parker-Shiel incident “one of the most over-talked things I’ve seen”.

“The moment we walked off after the GWS game we very quickly shifted our minds and bodies into what was coming up, you don’t have the luxury in a five-day break to rest and reflect a hell of a lot,” Voss said on Thursday.

“As a coach I’m forever trying to put out getting our guys to play with an edge.

“That comes with things that people might look at and agree with or not agree with but we’re trying to send out a really combative nature in the way we want to play.”

Carlton have been able to overcome a number of injuries this season, including reigning Coleman medallist Harry McKay for at least another month.

Blues tall Oscar McDonald has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a stress fracture in his back and has been moved onto the inactive list.

His absence opens another spot for Carlton ahead of the mid-season rookie draft.

“(McDonald’s) disappointed because obviously he’s got to manage the injury again and disappointed because he started the season so well for us and was a really important player,” Voss said.

The round 10 clash with the Swans will be the first time George Hewett faces his former club after the important midfielder’s off-season move to Carlton.

Voss is confident Hewett will receive the same level of support from teammates Adam Cerra did when he played against Fremantle last month.

“We’re very thankful we’ve got (Hewett),” Voss said.

“He’s been magnificent for us and been extremely reliable in the way he’s performed.

“He’s gelled so well with our group, he’s built a strong connection with us and we’ll support him when we need to.”

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