The already injury-ravaged Blues managed a 10-point win over Collingwood in Friday's match simulation hitout on Friday at Ikon Park, with senior coach Michael Voss sure to be pleased with a multitude of aspects from the result.
Key talls Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay proved to be a menace for the magpies' last line of defence, while key-position utility Tom De Koning was critical in the win with his efforts in the ruck and forward of the ball.
Carlton have lost Zac Williams for the season due to an ACL injury, while Jack Martin (calf), Corey Durdin (hamstring) and Marc Pittonet (knee) are also among the casualty ward contingent at the club.
Blues fans might've sensed their injury run was had only gotten worse when Cripps hobbled off the field late into Friday's clash with an ankle complaint, sparking further fears for Carlton's Round 1 plans.
Despite the issue, Clarke confirmed the club weren't worried about Cripps' ailment, with the onballer showing no signs of injury shortly after the final siren.
“Crippa rolled his ankle. He hobbled off the ground but he was walking around the rooms and handing balls out after the game,” Clarke said after the win, via News Corp.
“So we are pretty sure he is going to be fine.”
Cripps will again hold a key role in Carlton's midfield to start the season, especially in the absence of his right-hand-man in Walsh.
A selection call for who supports their star-studded midfield as the first-string ruckman is set to be made in the coming weeks, with De Koning making his case for the role as Pittonet features for the Blues' VFL side in his pathway back from a knee issue.
Clarke expressed his delight to see De Koning impress in the middle of the ground, with the off-contract Blue among the standouts for Voss' side.
“The best thing about Tommy's game was how reliable he was in the ruck,” Clarke said. “He gave us a really strong contest early and our mids loved that.”
“He provided a really good contest, and that's his role. He is reliable when he plays that role.
“I thought our forwards worked really well together. You had Charlie, you had Harry, and Tom De Koning had his opportunities to go and mix it with those two guys, and that's what we have been working on all summer.”