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Carlton need to bridge the gulf between Cripps and next best

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20.03.2019

When Carlton finally traded out Bryce Gibbs at the end of 2017, there were multiple repercussions.
One was that the Blues gained two first-round draft picks, one of which was converted into Lachie O'Brien. The most significant and immediate consequence – which the club was quite aware might transpire – was that they lost ground, falling further into recession as the injuries mounted.
The other obvious outcome from losing Gibbs was a heavier weight on the imposing frame of Patrick Cripps, who would defy a 2-20 season to become perhaps the game’s best extractor, earning 20 Brownlow votes.

The gulf between Cripps and the next most productive Carlton midfielder was greater than the gap between the numbers one and two midfielders at any other club. Dustin Martin has Trent Cotchin, and vice versa. Patrick Dangerfield is backed up by Joel Selwood, and others. Clayton Oliver, a younger ball-magnet rival to Cripps, is taking flight in tandem with Angus Brayshaw, Jack Viney and the rest. Collingwood is so deep that Jordan De Goey is merely an occasional relief midfielder.

Star Patrick Cripps.Credit:AAP

At Carlton, it was Ed Curnow – the most blue collar of midfielders – who acted as Tonto alongside........

© The Age