The best sign yet star Blue wants to stick around
STAR midfielder Patrick Cripps has given the strongest indication yet that he wants to remain at Carlton long-term, saying he wants to "enjoy some good times" at the club.
Despite the Blues' slow start to 2018, Cripps has had a career-best season to date, averaging almost 28 disposals per game and ranking second in the league for contested possessions.
A WA native, Cripps said he was looking forward to escaping the "footy bubble" during Carlton's mid-season bye and returning home to see friends and family.
But Cripps, who's contracted to the Blues until the end of 2019, added that he loved being part of the Carlton fabric and was keen to begin contract negotiations with the Blues soon.
"I really do enjoy Melbourne. I love the Carlton footy club," Cripps said.
"I haven't had chats with the (Blues) yet, I've still got a year and a half to go. (But) I've been through some tough times, so I really want to stick around and enjoy some good times.
"I'll definitely talk to my manager later in the year, but I'd say he'd start talking with 'SOS' (list manager Stephen Silvagni) soon."
Cripps, 23, has also filled in as Carlton captain in the absence of the injured Marc Murphy.
While Cripps arrived at the Blues with leadership capabilities, he said those skills have developed over recent years.
"I really enjoy the leadership role, but leadership is like anything, it's something you develop and continue to try and improve," he said.
"Nothing really changes, it's more just getting a bit nervous before the pre-game speech."
The Blues registered their first win of 2018 at the weekend, upsetting Essendon at the MCG. It came after the club dropped its first seven games of the season.
Despite the long losing streak, Cripps said the playing group had always remained upbeat.
"It has been a tough start to the year, but I think the best thing about this year is that things haven't been going well but the morale around the place has been really upbeat," he said.
"I think we were really realistic with where we were at. We've had a few injuries, which is a bit unfortunate, to older guys and a lot of young guys have come into the side. We've kept trying to develop them and upskilling them and they played a part on the weekend.
"We've got the talent there, now we've just got to build it."