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The Roar


Cripps laughs off Blues pair's training dust-up: 'We train the way we want to play'

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2nd September, 2023

Far from satisfied by reaching the AFL finals for the first time, Carlton captain Patrick Cripps is determined to have an impact on the big stage.

Cripps will return from a week off in top shape for Friday night’s elimination final against Sydney.

It will be the 28-year-old’s first final after 180 games – and a Brownlow Medal last year – over the course of a decade.

“It’s one thing making it, now we’ve got to impact it,” Cripps said ahead of his club’s first finals campaign since 2013, a few weeks before he was drafted.

“We don’t want to be making up the numbers.

“We’re pretty eager to have a big impact and we know our best footy stacks up.

“We’ve got one more main (training) session before the Swans on Friday and we’ll be having a red-hot crack.”

Ruckman Marc Pittonet and Matt Kennedy were involved in a brief, but heated, scuffle and had to be separated by teammates.


The pair shook hands and laughed off the incident a few minutes later.

“We train the way we want to play,” Cripps said.

“When Pitto is at his best, he’s a big boy throwing his weight around and being aggressive.

“Our brand is that physicality and making the opposition feel us.

“He leads the way in that, along with the big King (Tom De Koning).

“The big boys do that, the rest fold in behind.”


Cripps’ last taste of finals football at any level was half his lifetime ago, when he was 14 years old in Western Australia.

The tough midfielder is excited by the prospect of lining up again at a packed MCG and senses a similar vibe from long-suffering Blues fans, who have been on a roller-coaster ride with Michael Voss’s team this season.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, as well as a lot of the other boys,” Cripps said.

“We’re fortunate playing for a big club like Carlton, we play in prime-time slots (in front of big crowds) … so although a lot of us haven’t played in a final we feel like mentally we have.”

Runners-up in 2022, Sydney won six of their last seven home-and-away matches to secure a finals berth and enter September brimming with confidence.

Cripps is expecting a physical contest.

“That’s our brand but that’s also their brand,” he said.


“You talk about the ‘Bloods culture’ and we know what’s going to come our way.

“Finals becomes a contested game and it could be an arm wrestle for a long part of the game, it’s just whose system and contest can hold up for longest.”

Cripps trained well at a Carlton supporters’ open day at Ikon Park on Saturday, declaring himself fully fit, and eased fears over key forward Harry McKay, who left the track early as part of his “load management”.

The Blues are yet to rule out wingman Blake Acres after he was subbed out of the round-24 loss to Greater Western Sydney with a shoulder injury.

“He did some laps today and he’s pretty bullish that he’ll get up,” Cripps said.