CARLTON co-captain Patrick Cripps is taking some of the blame for their AFL thumping from North Melbourne, saying he did not fire early.
The 58-point loss is a major setback for the young Blues and it’s sparked an inevitable backlash from frustrated and impatient Carlton fans.
After some signs of life in their 1-5 start to the season, Carlton was down five goals to nil in the first quarter and the game was over.
“I was flat in the first quarter, it felt like they got on top inside with (Jack) Ziebell and (Ben) Cunnington,” Cripps said of the midfield battle.
“I was able to respond … but the damage probably was done.”
But Cripps has guaranteed an immediate lift, with a six-day break before they play in-form Collingwood.
“I’m not going to sugar coat yesterday’s performance, it wasn’t acceptable, but I guarantee we’ll respond on Saturday,” Cripps said.
He said Sunday showed what happens when they are off mentally.
“You get hit between the eyes,” he said.
“North came out, they wanted a scrap and I just don’t think the boys were ready for it.”
Cripps added that Carlton fans have every right to be angry, noting the players are dirty on themselves for the setback.
“In terms of building an identity and a brand of footy, the first six rounds, I feel like the public were seeing a really strong Carlton outfit,” he said.
“We probably should have won more games than we did.
“We’re a proud group and I feel like we let our guard down yesterday.”
He doubts the bad loss will knock the confidence out of them, noting they are a hard-working team who are determined to improve.
“A loss like that, you can take it two ways. You can either get flat and be defeated or use it as motivation,” he said.
“This group has been through a lot and I’m sure we’ll use it as motivation to keep improving.”
Defender Liam Jones is out of hospital after he was concussed in the third quarter.
Cripps also defended out-of-form key forward Charlie Curnow, who was quiet again in the North loss and went scoreless.
“Charlie’s a star – he’s had a few injury interruptions,” Cripps said.
“We didn’t help him yesterday, the ball wasn’t really getting down there.
“There’s going to be noise around him, but he’s a quality player.”
© AAP 2019