Two-time North Melbourne premiership player David King is worried about the amount of punishment Patrick Cripps has absorbed so far this year.
Cripps suffered a deep thigh bruise in Carlton’s Round 10 clash with Geelong, but played the following week with heavy strapping.
He looked sore and King is worried about where Cripps will be in five years time playing such a contested role without help.
“This is a kid who’s played 70 games of footy, he’s 23 years of age, and I think he’s played the toughest 70 games that we’ve seen,” he told SEN’s Whateley.
“You look at the contested footy numbers, he’s had 206 contested possessions this year (ranked first in the competition), the next highest Carlton player is 100 behind – Ed Curnow at 106 (ranked 41st).
“I think he’d be the most tackled player in the competition, he’s prepared to hang onto the ball, take the physical punishment, running around with a mattress on his thigh the other night and I just think Carlton need to do something to support this guy.
“I’m not sure you just push him out in the midfield across the last 11 games and expect that this guy’s going to play this sort of football in four or five years time when they need him to.
“If Carlton are going to be back in the conversation for finals and premierships in four to five years time like they’re hoping for and they’re going through all this pain, they don’t want Cripps banged up at 28.
“He is an absolute animal, but I want him to be animal in five years too!”
Carlton will take on Fremantle at Etihad Stadium the week after their bye, where they’ll be hoping to notch their second win of the season.
Originally published on SEN.com.au