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Cripps keeping the faith

Marc McGowan for AFL.com.au  November 15, 2017 11:35 AM

Cripps talks pre-season and new players Patrick Cripps fronted the media ahead of training today.

CARLTON'S decision to trade blue-chip midfielder Bryce Gibbs home to Adelaide has not shaken star Blue Patrick Cripps' belief in the Club's direction.   

Critics suggested the decision to send the veteran onballer back to South Australia – a year after he first requested to join the Crows – was a sign Carlton is still years away from being a finals contender.   

The Blues received picks 10, 16 and 73 in this year's NAB AFL Draft, as well as Adelaide's 2018 second-round selection. Adelaide received Gibbs, pick 77 and Carlton's 2018 second-round and third-round choices.   

"Internally, we know the direction we're heading," Cripps told reporters on Wednesday morning.   

"From the outside, it might say it's a step backwards, but that's what pre-season is for. We've got guys like Samo (Petrevski-Seton) 'Zaccy' Fisher, Matt Kennedy and Darcy Lang.   

"We're going to put a big pre-season into them and strength in numbers, I think we'll definitely be able to fill the void from 'Gibba'.

"I trust 'SOS' (list manager Stephen Silvagni) and 'Bolts' (coach Brendon Bolton) that they were doing the best thing for the club."  

Kennedy and Lang joined the Blues from Greater Western Sydney and Geelong, respectively, in the NAB AFL Trade Period in October and are set to join Cripps in the midfield.   

Former Kangaroo Aaron Mullett also crossed to Ikon Park as a delisted free agent.   

But the 195cm Cripps ruled out the potential of him, Kennedy (188cm) and Charlie Curnow (194cm) being in the middle at the same time, suggesting they would be "too slow" as a unit.   

Cripps is preparing for his first full pre-season after recovering from a left leg break against Melbourne in round 16, when Demon Jayden Hunt accidentally kicked him in the back of the leg.   

The 22-year-old contested-ball beast previously broke his right leg. Cripps has been running for eight weeks after a 10-week layoff following the injury.   

He had a torrid year, also playing with a broken jaw and broken ribs at different stages of the season.   

"I actually thought I was made of chalk by the end of the year – I had a few broken bones," Cripps said.   

"I haven't done a full pre-season yet, so I'm really excited to put my body through a tough pre-season (and) I know my best footy is ahead of me, so I'm really excited about that."   

Gibbs headlined a series of players that asked to be traded back to their home state, including Jake Lever, Charlie Cameron, Josh Schache, Adam Saad and Lachie Weller.   

But Cripps, a West Australian, refused to be critical of any of those players, although he joked he might give Gibbs "one over the ears" when they first face off on the field.   

"Everyone's different. I know personally it's definitely tough moving away from home and I don't hold anything against players moving away from home," he said.   

"I know at Carlton we have a really good culture and I've really enjoyed my time here and since I've walked in the door, they've helped me settle in and I really love Melbourne life now.   

"I think it's up to every individual on their situation."