RIDING the highs and the lows. 

That’s what Cath Cripps describes as a ‘mum’s role’ within a footy club. 

Joining esteemed hosts Tracey McKay and Jackie De Koning on the ‘Mums with Mics’ podcast, the mother of Patrick Cripps admits she wasn’t expecting her middle son to make the AFL in the early days, but his determination and persistence paid off, now solidifying himself as one of the league’s best players.

“He was a strong junior, but coming through his teens, he was quite short: he didn’t grow,” Cripps said. 

“Our junior club was a very strong community club, we’re a strong community. When people say what’s in the water at Northampton, everyone pitches in, everyone helps.”

Referring to the 11 players from Northampton who have made an AFL or AFLW list from a town of less than 1,000 people, Cripps thinks the community spirit that the town displays fosters good people, good farmers and good football players. 

Suffering a detrimental cyclone three years ago where a lot of farmland was destroyed, the nine past and present AFL players (at the time) put together a fundraiser for their beloved hometown, desperate to give back to the place that gave them so much. 

“Northampton had a cyclone three years ago, and we had people from BlazeAid come over and help people on farms, we lost so much,” she said. 

“The nine footballers at the time from Northampton got together to fundraise, headed by Andrew Lockyer, and they raised over $250,000.” 

From the midwest community of Northampton, the trek to Melbourne isn’t easy, with the town sitting about a five-hour drive from Perth Airport. 

Regardless, Cath and husband Brad make the effort to get to as many games as possible to support Paddy, knowing how important family is to him and relishing watching the 29-year-old flourish before their eyes. 

Made extra special with the arrival of her first grandchild, the visits are becoming more frequent for the pair, with the proud matriarch describing how she heard the news from Paddy.

“We get a text saying ‘not long to go now guys’, and then we get a text ‘Koda has been born, Mon dominated. I thought we were at a footy game’,” she read from her phone.

“As a mum of three boys, it’s very special. She’s the first grandchild on both sides and absolutely spoilt rotten.” 

A joyous occasion for the entire family, being there through the bad times is almost as important as being there for the good, according to Cripps. 

While she describes her favourite Carlton memory as last year’s historic finals run, she admits the hardest part of her time at Carlton was that very same year, prior to Round 14. 

“Last year when Essendon beat us and we were looking bad was probably one of the hardest times I’ve seen: we actually stayed in Melbourne an extra week to support Paddy through it,” she said. 

“We started watching Ted Lasso and I heard him laugh again and have fun. We came out and beat Gold Coast and the rest was history, we made a preliminary final. 

“To win two finals, the atmosphere, the crowds, our supporters, that was just unbelievable. 

"I would rate that higher than the Brownlow – Paddy has had a lot of individual success, but he would give all that up to win a premiership and have success as a team like that.”