DESPITE enduring a few difficult seasons of personal form and subsequent media scrutiny, Patrick Cripps believes he learned a valuable lesson which has propelled him to new heights this season.
As one of the standout players in the competition so far in 2022, Cripps - who is well into preparations ahead of game No.150 on Thursday night - admitted that he heard the commentary last year surrounding his drop in form.
Cripps was the Leigh Matthews Trophy winner in 2019, adjudged the best player by his peers, while also taking home a third John Nicholls Medal in his first season as co-captain.
Despite still posting above average numbers in clearances and contested possessions, it was a drop in form by Cripps’ lofty standards, and the talkback was a fait accompli.
It was a far different position to the one Cripps found himself in the first six years of his career — and it was a situation which, with the benefit of hindsight, he was able to put behind him.
“I had a good lesson last year. In terms of the first six seasons of my career, I got pumped up a lot in the media and then had a two-year period where I got a lot of negative stuff,” Cripps said in the latest People’s Presser answering fan questions.
“You hear it, but you’ve got to try and block it out and focus on what’s important, in terms of internal drivers and getting back to the process. That’s why I went back in the off-season and worked really hard on my body and my mindset to come out really refreshed and determined.
“You get pumped up again and you ignore it. It doesn’t impact the way you think and play: you focus on what’s important and what’s important to the team.”
Don't get your wires crossed: this isn't a case of Cripps versus the media.
The Carlton captain said that instead of wanting to dispel the doubters, it was about getting back to the football which saw him perform to an almost unprecedented level at the Blues which yielded multiple best-and-fairest wins inside six seasons.
“It wasn’t to prove them wrong: it was more just to back yourself and prove yourself right that the game’s not past you and things like that,” he said.
“This year, I’ve gone with a different sort of lens. I look back now and I’m so glad that happened… people would probably laugh when they hear that.
“But it definitely makes you grow and it makes you see what’s important, having perspective and knowing what the media is there for.
“It’s up to your mindset whether you’re going to buy into it or not.”