Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps is back running and “should” miss only one match as he recovers from a hamstring strain, coach Michael Voss says.
The Blues waited until late in the week to rule Cripps out of Sunday’s clash with Port Adelaide at the MCG after he was subbed out in the first quarter of last week’s shock loss to Gold Coast.
Challenged on the likelihood of Cripps missing just one week – as has been the disbelieving tone in the AFL world in recent days – Voss was adamant the club’s medical team was confident in its prognosis.
“The assessment that we’ve had, which has been pretty thorough, is that he should be right to go next week,” Voss said.
“Early on, we were hopeful that it was going to be so minor that we might be able to get him up for this week.
“He overstretched for a ball and got a little bit tight in that area, but certainly no major damage was there, so that gives him a chance for next week.”
They expect to know more about Cripps’ availability by the end of this weekend, but Voss said Cripps would have to prove he could train before putting his hand up for Saturday week’s match against Fremantle in Perth.
Carlton will regain Marc Pittonet (back) and has turned to one-time prized draftee Paddy Dow as Cripps’ midfield replacement after his encouraging VFL form.
“He’s been impressive. The disadvantage to Paddy is the players who have been in his spot have been going pretty good and they’ve had a large body of work,” Voss said.
“I’m having weekly discussions with him about where he’s at and what he’s doing and it’s the same with the other guys.
“What they’ve all taken a position on is, ‘I’m going to make myself ready and when you need me, I’m good to go’. I really love their collective attitude towards that.”
Voss remains close with Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley after working under him for seven years but they avoided each other this week “as competitors”.
“I’ve got a great relationship with a lot of people at Port. I’ve got a lot of friends there,” he said.
“But we’re also in the performance industry and we’ve got jobs to do.
“He’s got a job this week to get his team playing the way he wants. I’ve got a job for this team to make sure that we can get and correct a few things from last week and really play at our best.”
Voss hasn’t delved too deeply into his Power knowledge base in the lead-in, having spent most of his time focusing on what went wrong in the Suns game after the Blues won their first three games this year.
“We did go away from some of the things that have worked for us, but I think it’s just, in some ways, a reinforcement back to what we’ve done well so far,” he said.
“What it’s very easy to do is just focus on the one week and what turned up on that week and that’s where you pay all your attention to.
“But what I’ve been really impressed with, with this group, is that we’ve actually consistently been able to implement our game style over a short time.
“It was missing a fair bit, mainly around our contest method and in our pressure we were able to put on the ball, so that put other parts of our game at stress and we need to make sure that we bring it this week.”