Cripps hopes first AFL win can stir Blues

Patrick Cripps hopes Carlton’s long-awaited first AFL win can kick-start their season.There’s no wavering from the rebuilding script at Carlton, but stand-in skipper Patrick Cripps admits an ever-so-slight weakening of the faith this season.

The AFL powerhouse endured their worst-ever start to a season, waiting until round eight to notch a first win.

Cripps played a strong hand helping deliver it on Saturday, with 19 contested possessions in a 13-point defeat of arch-rivals Essendon.

The 23-year-old said the long-awaited win brought “joy and also a bit of confidence”.

He understands the club’s emphasis on blooding youth, and that the club won’t be judged on the win-loss this year.

But he was understandably eager to shed the club’s winless record.

“When you go 0-7 no matter how old you are you start, not doubting, but you want to get that belief back,” he said.

“Early in the year especially after JLT I thought we had that belief and we showed what we can do against Richmond (in round one).

“It’s been a tough start to the year.

“Hopefully the young guys really build some belief from that and it can kickstart a few games in a row for us.”

The Blues face an intimidating run to the bye in round 12.

They play Melbourne on Sunday before away matches to Geelong and Sydney.

Cripps, who has deputised for injured captain Marc Murphy over the last month, said morale was high even in the absence of that winning feeling – and he expected it to stay that way.

“The best thing about the group is it’s been tough but morale around the joint has been pretty upbeat,” he said.

“We’ve had a few injuries. We’re young. We know if we stick to the plan and keep up-skilling these young guys this experience is going to be invaluable.”

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