Blues won't rush De Koning contract decision: Cripps
Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps says the Blues won't rush talented ruck-forward Tom De Koning into making a call on his future, amid speculation the 23-year-old could field big-money offers from rival clubs including Sydney when his contract expires at season's end.
"I'm big on this. I just allow players to (make these decisions) in their own time," Cripps told reporters at the AFL captains day at Marvel Stadium on Thursday.
"We love him as a player and love him as bloke, and will try to support him, but he'll make the decision when the time is right for him.
"I was the same. When I signed my last contract I didn't do it until the middle of the year. They're big life choices."
Cripps wouldn't comment on the likelihood of the athletic big man staying at Ikon Park beyond 2023, but said he's hoping De Koning can form a powerful combination working with ruckman Marc Pittonet this season.
"If you look at our early rounds last year, they both played and played really good footy together," Cripps said.
"Obviously they didn't play a lot of footy together because of injuries, but the better connection they build together, the better we'll be."
It remains to be seen how De Koning will split his time between the ruck and forward line, where he provides a dangerous third tall option alongside Coleman Medallists Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.
"There are a lot of different mixes we can throw ... so you never know, each game could be different," Cripps added.
"It's about all the different levers you can pull. We talk about having a squad mentality. You want to have depth in your squad and different roles that people can play."