Patrick Cripps will officially be Carlton’s sole captain, with players, coaches and board members ratifying him for the 2022 season
A fit-again Patrick Cripps is embracing being Carlton’s stand-alone skipper this year as he tries to lead the Blues back to the finals.
New coach Michael Voss revealed the club’s new three-man leadership structure on Saturday morning, with Jacob Weitering and Sam Walsh serving as Cripps’ vice-captains.
Sam Docherty had shared Carlton’s captaincy with Cripps since the end of 2018, but he chose to stand down a fortnight ago to focus on his recovery after suffering a testicular cancer recurrence last year.
Cripps’ teammates, coaches and board members endorsed the 26-year-old midfielder, who re-signed for six more seasons in June last year.
“No matter what role I’m in at the club; I’m going to do the exact same thing. I’ve always said that. My goal is I want this place to be the best place possible,” Cripps said.
“I want people to enjoy being here, I’m going to drive high standards and, at the end of the day, you want to build a team that has success.
“To captain an AFL club is a massive honour and a privilege.
“I always reflect that I grew up in a small country town in Northampton to now be captain of the Carlton Football Club. It’s pretty special and something that I don’t take for granted.”
Cripps hasn’t reached his All-Australian heights of 2018 and 2019 in the past two seasons, at least in part because of injury, including a small but much-discussed fracture in his back last year.
But he said not only him but the Blues as a whole planned to “pride ourselves” on their contested work, after last year’s four preliminary finalists were also the AFL’s best contested teams.
“I’m going to get back to being big in the contest and being aggressive, and play to my strengths,” Cripps said.
“That’s my sole focus. My body now feels really good. I’ve had a solid block of work now, so, like I said before, it’s a good platform to build off.
“We have a real desire to compete. The depth we’ve got on the list now; there’s a lot of competition for spots.”
Cripps also delivered some good news about Docherty, who is back training after undergoing chemotherapy for a second time.
“He was nearly best-on today at the start (of match simulation). He was awesome; it was good to see,” he said.
“He’s one of the best blokes you’ll meet. He’s resilient, he gives a lot of people time and he’s one of my best mates.
“Although he doesn’t have the ‘C’ next to his name; he’s going to be a leader of this team. I can’t speak highly enough of him. To see him out there today and the way he played; it was pretty special I thought.”