Patrick Cripps' moment of AFL madness jeopardises Carlton's season

Patrick Cripps has his jersey ripped during the match against Brisbane.
The AFL match review officer holds the fate of Patrick Cripps' season in their hands after high high bump on Brisbane's Callum Ah Chee. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Carlton's promising AFL season could well have been dealt a final blow, with midfield dynamo Patrick Cripps likely to be suspended for a high bump on the back of their 33-point loss to Brisbane.

After an exciting start to the 2022 season, in which the Blues firmly established themselves as top eight condenders, Michael Voss' squad has been battling to remain in the finals frame.

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Last weekend's 33-point loss to Brisbane had the potential to spell disaster, but the Blues remain 7th on the ladder thanks to a two-point advantage over Richmond, as well as St Kilda's heavy loss to Geelong.

Finals are far from a certainty though, and Cripps' likely absence for a high bump on Brisbane's Callum Ah Chee will come as a significant blow to their chances.

Ah Chee was left prone after the collision, receiving attention from trainers before being subbed out of the game due to a concussion.

Cripps was supported by Voss in his post-game press conference on Sunday, with the coach suggesting the fact Ah Chee was subbed out of the game shouldn't count against Cripps.

Seventh-placed Carlton, chasing a first finals berth since 2013, face Melbourne and Collingwood in their last home-and-away fixtures, while Brisbane play St Kilda and the Demons.

"I thought it was a good contest," Voss said.

"The umpire probably told the story, didnt he? He didn't pay a free kick, did he?

"From what I've seen the arms were outstretched and it was a pretty even contest.

"If we are asking players to make micro-second decisions, I don't know whether the game enables that. I really don't."

Voss added that he wasn't attacking Ah Chee and that Carlton took concussion as seriously as any club, but that he believed it had been a fair contest.

"I don't think he is there to cradle the person to the ground, is he?" Voss said.

"It was unfortunate, we hope he is okay. Clearly, we have empathy in terms of that side of things but we've also got to respect that the game is going to be evenly contested, and that looked like an even contest to me."

Carlton's finals hopes at risk after Brisbane loss

Carlton need to win at least one of their remaining matches to lock up their finals spot, or risk the Western Bulldogs or St Kilda jumping above them.

The Blues sit seventh, above Richmond (11-1-8) in eighth, but the Tigers have favourable matches to come against Hawthorn and Essendon.

The Bulldogs (10-10), last year's beaten grand finalists, have endured an inconsistent season and were soundly beaten by Fremantle on Saturday.

But the 10th-placed Bulldogs could still play finals for the fourth-straight year if they defeat GWS, as expected, next Saturday and Hawthorn in Launceston in the final round.

The Bulldogs would then require Carlton to lose both of their games while hoping to make up a small percentage gap on the Blues.

St Kilda (11-9) remain an outside chance to sneak into the top-eight but poor percentage could end up costing them.

The Saints will need to beat the Brisbane Lions on Friday night, then the in-form Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium in the final game of the home-and-away season.

Geelong are all but certain to claim the minor premiership after thumping the Saints on Saturday night.

The Cats have games against Gold Coast (away) and wooden spoon contender West Coast (home) to come.

Next Sunday's blockbuster at the SCG between the Swans and Collingwood will go a long way towards securing a top-four spot for the winner.

With AAP

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