“I GO out there and play and enjoy the contest. I’m going to hunt the ball, get after the man and try and play my role for the team to win.”
While conversation rages about opposition treatment, Patrick Cripps is focussed on one thing: winning games of football.
Cripps had 16 possessions in the seven-point win over North Melbourne, but it was the attention he was receiving which dominated football media on Monday morning.
The no-fuss co-captain acknowledged the commentary but maintained his and Carlton’s mantra over the course of the 2020 season: control what you can control.
“There’s been a lot of commentary around it this week which has been interesting to see,” Cripps told Carlton Media.
“It’s one of those things as a player that you can’t get too involved in it: I go out there and play.
“I know Brad Lloyd and John Barker are in constant dialogue with the AFL: I know they’re going in to bat. I know the AFL will do the right thing by it all.”
In recent weeks, Senior Coach David Teague has cited Cripps’ ability to attract attention and free up his teammates as a key reason behind Carlton’s winning form.
While Cripps still ranks first for centre clearances and second for contested possessions in the competition, it was the performances of Will Setterfield and Matthew Kennedy which were crucial to Saturday’s win.
Last year’s AFLPA MVP was quick to mention his midfield counterparts as a key reason behind his enjoyment so far this season.
“I’m just enjoying winning games of footy and seeing guys like ’Setters’ and Matty Kennedy playing some really impressive footy,” he said.
“They’re starting to feel like they belong out there which is good to see. We’ve got guys like Zac Fisher, Tom De Koning and Paddy Dow.
“There are definitely spits and spurts we can add to the midfield which is going to be pretty dynamic.”
Cripps also believed that Carlton’s ability to not play to their maximum potential but still grind out a winning result was a positive sign for the team’s recent development.
“You want to play in those tight contests because you know where you’re going to go, and where we want to get is finals footy,” he said.
“To not play our best and to win, I’ll that take any day from where we’ve been in the past.
“It was another step forward.”