Patrick Cripps set for another stellar season in 2024. VIA: Rose Zarucky/@rosewithone_eye Instagram

After sustaining injuries at the back end of 2023, Carlton’s Patrick Cripps is fit and firing – continuing to lead to way in the Blues’ engine room.

Whilst many were predicting Sam Walsh to have a career best year in 2024, his absence has put a spotlight back on to Cripps – who, as the 2022 Brownlow Medallist, still has plenty of give going into his tenth year.

The captain, who has had his knee strapped heavily since Christmas, was free of any taping against Geelong last week and dominated the midfield in signs of a big year to come.

“I feel great, I’m ready to go,” said Cripps.

“Personally, I’m in as good a shape as I’ve been … lucky to have a full pre season, so I’m ready to just get after it.”

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Based on fan-collected statistics, Cripps was one of the leading disposal getters against Geelong in a game which consisted of high rotations. He made his presence known in the forward line, too.

He carried a rib injury throughout the Blues’ drought-breaking 2023 finals series – the first of his career and the first for the Club since 2013 – and notably hobbled off the ground with a knee complaint during an open training session in December.

The Blues’ leader, now back to full fitness, could be set for another career-best season in a Carlton side that is focussing heavily on its contested work.

He managed yet another top-ten Brownlow finish in 2023 and was the Blues’ leading clearance winner – well ahead of the pack with 162. He also amassed 327 contested possessions, beating out Adam Cerra – who claimed second place – by over 100.

He led Carlton’s disposal count and ranked third for goal assists, proving that he is as important as ever to Carlton’s hopes of a 17th flag.

Across the pre-season, his goal-kicking looks to have been a focus, seeing him convert shots from various ranges and angles. 

Now free of any injury concern, he has moved well, tackled hard and stood out across sessions and match simulations, displaying his agility and strength.

Despite carrying an injury, Cripps was integral to the Blues’ finals campaign in 2023 – recording vital goals against Sydney (Elimination Final) and Brisbane (Preliminary Final) whilst collecting a game-high seven clearances to accompany six tackles against Melbourne (Semi-Final). 

Carlton will face Melbourne in the AAMI Community Series at IKON Park on tonight at 6:40pm.  

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