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Cripps backs move to target experience

Riley Beveridge for afl.com.au  September 3, 2018 9:07 AM

Crippa's AA year Watch the best of Patrick Cripps in action after the midfield bull made his first All Australian side.

CARLTON star Patrick Cripps has thrown his support behind the club's plan to target experienced talent during this year's NAB AFL Trade Period, saying he would love to be paired alongside another elite midfielder in the team's engine room.

Carlton has made no secret of its desire to attract players in the 22- to 27-year-old age bracket, desperate to secure much-needed support for young workhorse Cripps.

Giants pair Dylan Shiel and Will Setterfield, as well as want-away Crows forward Mitch McGovern, have already been linked with moves to the Blues.

But while Cripps would be in favour of adding to the club's young midfield group, securing any A-Grade talent, regardless of position, would get his seal of approval.

"I'd love to get another midfielder that's my age," Cripps told AFL.com.au at Wednesday night's All Australian awards.

"If any top-end talent wants to come to the club, you get them in. Let's just hope they want to come to the club. With quality players, you never say no to them."

Cripps, 23, shouldered a heavy burden in Carlton's midfield this season.

He broke the all-time contested possessions record across a home and away campaign, averaging 17.6 per game, while he also ranked second in the League for clearances.

But despite the extra workload taking a heavy toll on his body, Cripps wouldn't have it any other way.

Guiding the likes of Zac Fisher, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Paddy Dow, the young on-baller relished the prospect of spending more time in the centre in 2018.

"I think we had a younger midfield this year," Cripps said.

"I had to play more midfield time. But I also had a full pre-season this year, which allowed me to play more in the midfield.

"Whether I play forward or mid, I'm still going to play the same way. I'm going to go hard at the ball. I'm not the best runner or endurance athlete, so you've got to play to your strengths.

"My loads get managed pretty well during the week by the fitness staff. I thought they did a pretty good job this year."

Cripps was rewarded for his outstanding season with his first All Australian selection on Wednesday night, named alongside Tom Mitchell and Dustin Martin in the midfield.

It added to a year where he also finished second in both the AFL Coaches' Association Player of the Year award and the AFL Players' Association Player of the Year award.

"It probably won't sink in until a couple of weeks down the track," Cripps said.

"You look at some of the players (in the All Australian team), just to be recognised among them is pretty special. You don't play footy for individual accolades, but an All Australian jumper is pretty amazing."