A missed tackle, a fumble, but Cripps comforts McGovern after nailbiting draw

Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps says he wrapped his arms around Mitch McGovern after Thursday night’s drawn match with Richmond following a few final-quarter moments McGovern “would have liked back”.

The key defender, who has struggled for continuity in his four-and-a-bit seasons with the Blues due to injury, had a productive game against the Tigers, collecting seven marks, 17 kicks, and 542 metres gained in the tied match.

Carlton defender Mitch McGovern was a solid contributor in Thursday night’s drawn match against Richmond.Credit:Getty Images

But the former Crow had a couple of moments he’d rather forget in the tense final term, including a kick out on the full with about eight minutes left on the clock, a missed tackle that led to Shai Bolton marking straight in front of goal, and a fumble 60 seconds later which nearly allowed Tim Taranto to score.

But Cripps said he spoke to McGovern after the match and reiterated how important he was to the Blues’ side.

“I thought he was really good for us,” Cripps said on Friday.

“By his own admission, he had a few moments he would have liked back, but he makes us such a better side. I said that to him after the game.

“With his closing speed on the ball and his intercept marking, and his ability to use the ball is as good as anyone in the competition when he’s up and going. He had some great moments for us last night, but I’m big on that, he makes us a much better side.

“He’s got a lot of self belief. He knows what he brings to our side. We saw what he can do last night and how much that does help our back six.”

Cripps heaped praise on the defence, led by Jacob Weitering and Lewis Young, which held up resolutely for most of the final term, as the Tigers with 15-8 inside-50s in the final term.

But the Blues captain admitted his side had some room for growth, after Tom Lynch took a contested pack mark with less than 60 seconds on the clock, before kicking a goal to level the scores.

Patrick Cripps says he was proud of how the Blues defence withstood the Tigers in the final term on Thursday night.Credit:Getty Images

“There’s definitely a lot of things we didn’t quite get right last night that we will going down the track,” Cripps said.

“When you’re in those moments with the highest pressure, you need a level of composure and although we didn’t nail the last two minutes, we made some little errors, but if you look at the last six or eight minutes, where I was proud of the group was how we held up.

“They were coming and coming, and I thought our backs were sensational last night, to absorb their weight of momentum. In terms of digging in and having a crack, that was a big tick. It’s just that final execution the last two minutes [that we need to improve].”

Asked whether matches should continue when scores are tied at the final siren, Cripps said he would have preferred a result.

“I like having a result, but it’s also been in the history of the game for a long time, so I’m aware of that,” he said.

“Ideally, you’d love walking off with a result.”

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