Patrick Cripps v Tom Green in a battle of the bulls between Carlton Blues and GWS Giants

The bruising onballer with an attacking bent is averaging 29.6 disposals a game, bettered at the Giants by only Lachie Whitfield (32.2). This includes 14 contested possessions a game, while his frenetic workrate is highlighted in averaging six tackles, polling coaches’ votes in three games. He remains a man on the rise, having been one of the Giants’ best in their three finals last season, and finishing equal second in their best and fairest.

Don’t forget that Green, in his draft year of 2019, was compared to Cripps by many recruiters.

“I think I have just been able to contribute nicely to the way that we want to play. I feel that I am playing my role reasonably well … it’s been a nice start to the year,” Green said.

It wasn’t so nice through the week when he was accidentally elbowed by teammate Lachie Ash at training, but Green was patched up, and typically got on with business.

Outta my way: Tom Green looks to dish a handball against the Blues.Credit: Getty

“He has got some flair, but he is strong and gets to the ball, and he is hard to move off it, and those sorts of things,” Maclure said.

“He is really good, but Cripps is no different. There is a match between the two of them, which will be pretty interesting.”

Cripps has also been in excellent touch, averaging a team-high (of those who have played at least two games) 24.8 touches, including almost 14 contested possessions, a game. Importantly for the Blues, George Hewett continues to ease Cripps of the clearance burden, with a team-high 33 in five games.

“It’s his job … he has to go and do what he has to do. And he has been good at it,” Maclure said when asked if he was amazed how Cripps continued to do the heavy lifting a decade into his career.

“He is a good leader – a great leader.”

Cripps will even hope to have more of an impact in possession chains now Sam Walsh is back. That Cripps has booted a goal in four of his five games helps to give the Blues a balanced scoring arsenal. Cripps had only nine goals last season, coming after 20 in his Brownlow Medal year.

Green has three goals this season, but faces greater opposition focus on Saturday, as midfield veteran Stephen Coniglio (knee) will miss.

Maclure says it’s not outlandish to suggest this clash could be a grand final preview, with each side experiencing preliminary final heartbreak last season. The Blues are seeking a quick response to last week’s fadeout against Adelaide, particularly as premiership contenders Geelong, Collingwood, Melbourne and Sydney await over the next month.


Cripps said the Blues were ready for what awaited.

“I wouldn’t say how difficult, I would say we embrace it,” he said.

“We love playing against the best teams.”

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