Carlton AFL co-captain Patrick Cripps is doing just fine in coach David Teague’s view, he just needs some of his Blues teammates to lift around.
Finding out just who wants to rise to Cripps’ standard is a prime motivator for Teague over the final weeks of the season.
The Blues’ finals hopes have all but evaporated after a nine-point loss to Greater Western Sydney at Metricon Stadium on Thursday.
That defeat leaves Carlton two games behind the eighth-placed Giants with three matches to play and with an inferior percentage.
Influential leader Cripps was a peripheral figure for most of the night on the Gold Coast, picking up just 13 disposals and having just two score involvements.
Teague said the 25-year-old was struggling with a cork picked up after a collision with Collingwood’s Chris Mayne on Sunday, which left the Magpie nursing a broken cheekbone.
The Blues have been criticised for being over-reliant on Cripps and potentially running him into the ground.
Teague said while he’s comfortable with Cripps’ form and fitness he is also challenging those around him to stand up over the remainder of 2020.
“We need to spread the load and get an even spread of players,” Teague said.
“We’ve shown throughout the year that we’ve done that at times but we probably need more guys to step up and share the load when the heat’s on and the pressure’s on and that’s our growth.
“Our growth is to see, who is it? Who are those guys going to be that they put their hand up to step up when the game’s on the line?”
While it would take some kind of miracle for the Blues to make the finals now, Teague believes there’s still plenty for his team to play for over their last three fixtures.
“We’ve got three more games to get better and see what happens. Every game is important for us to improve,” he said.
“I thought there was signs that we did get better in areas today (Thursday).
“Unfortunately, again, we just didn’t do it for four quarters and that’s that’s probably our biggest growth – we’ve got 12 quarters, at least, to go and we need to show that we can play good footy for 12 quarters.”