Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps has called on the Blues to deliver on their potential but played down any perceived advantage of spending the first month of the AFL season restart in Victoria.
The Blues haven’t qualified for the finals since 2013 – before Cripps was drafted – and haven’t finished higher than 16th in the past three seasons.
But the star midfielder – who has won just 24 of 102 AFL games he’s played – said given Carlton’s list had matured, it was time to turn words into actions.
“I want to play finals footy, there’s no doubt about that,” Cripps told reporters.
“I’ve been at the club for six years, a lot of us have been through some really tough losses but we’ve really started to grow as a group and it’s been a couple of years now where we’ve solidified a group that’s taking us forward.
“A lot of these younger guys are now the age – between 23-26 years – where your performance really starts to spike.
“So we know actions do the talking but we’re excited to have a crack at it.”
The Blues will resume their season with four consecutive games in Victoria, playing Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, Geelong at GMHBA Stadium then Essendon and St Kilda at the MCG, with seven-day breaks between each.
“We’ve got a lot of seven-day breaks, there’s a lot of consistency with the actual training weeks,” Cripps said.
“It’s the same thing, you adapt to what you’re given.
“I don’t think there’s any benefit (to less early travel).
“Good teams, no matter where they go, what time, they just get the job done.
“I don’t really buy into things that really help us, it’s just what opposition you’ve got, how many days’ break you’ve got and that’s just what you play with.”
Cripps slimmed down over pre-season and maintained that approach during the season suspension, when he returned home to country Western Australia.
“You always try to find little ways to get better and I’m always going to be strong as a tall midfielder, so it’s just finding little ways to get marginal improvement,” he said.
“Who knows, I’ll have to let my footy be the judge of that but I feel good.
“I definitely feel better being a bit lighter and covering the ground a fair bit better.”