Patrick Cripps has done a mighty job leading the Blues. Pic: Getty Images
Patrick Cripps has done a mighty job leading the Blues. Pic: Getty Images

Cripps at risk of ‘falling off cliff’: Eade

THE CAREER of Patrick Cripps could be cut short unless Carlton finds its superstar some midfield support, according to former coach Rodney Eade.

Cripps, 23, is on his way to the Blues' second best-and-fairest after booting three goals from 29 disposals against Collingwood on Sunday.

But Eade said the physical nature of Cripps' game would wear him down unless the Blues place some big bodies around him in their bare engine room.

"For sure you can (build a team around Cripps and Charlie Curnow), there's no doubt about that," Eade said.

"But they'll need support. Especially Cripps, they need some other midfielders because he's a star, isn't he?

"His consistency to carry the side and in the midfield and he's targeted every week and he plays a physical game.

"It will wear him out physically. It might be three or four years, but instead of being a 30-year-old he'll be a 27 or 28-year-old that'll start to fall over the cliff.

"That's going to be their issue."

Blues list chief Stephen Silvagni told the Herald Sun the club was in the market for midfielders.

"Our salary cap is a in a very good state," Silvagni said. "Whether it's free agency, or trades, we're looking at all avenues."

Carlton has tabled a contract offer to captain Marc Murphy although the skipper is unsure whether to re-sign or explore his own free agency options.

Cripps has captained the Blues in Murphy's absence nine times this season.

The Blues are one of several Victorian clubs hunting West Coast star and Brownlow chance Andrew Gaff.

 

Patrick Cripps does plenty of heavy lifting for the Blues. Pic: Getty Images
Patrick Cripps does plenty of heavy lifting for the Blues. Pic: Getty Images

Cripps has recorded more than 20 contested possessions in 13 of his first 72 games. The next best is six games, shared by Clayton Oliver (48 career matches), Josh Kennedy and Tom Liberatore.

The only other players to have more than two matches yielding 20-plus contested possessions from their first 72 games are Chris Judd, Tom Mitchell (three games) and Nat Fyfe (four).

Cripps has played every game this season and didn't miss a match last season until breaking his leg in Round 16.

Eade said the Blues also had to find support for athletic key forward Curnow.

"Again, Curnow against good defences he'll need other support because they'll just shut him down," Eade said on RSN.

Fellow key forward Levi Casboult was a late withdrawal on Sunday after dislocating his finger in the warm-up.

 

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