AFL Rd 17 - Carlton v Adelaide
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Patrick Cripps of the Blues celebrates kicking a goal during the round 17 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

New Carlton coach Michael Voss has the task of getting Carlton back to the top of the mountain after yet another failed season.

The Blues are desperate for success having not won a premiership for 26 years, which after Melbourne's Grand Final win is the second-longest active premiership drought.

For the Blues to be contending for finals and eventually flags, they need co-captain Patrick Cripps to get back to his best footy. Cripps was voted AFLPA MVP in 2019, but injuries have seen his last two years fall short of those lofty standards.

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Cripps played through 2020 with a shoulder issue that required surgery at the end of the season. In the 2021 pre-season, he looked fit and ready to go but his form didn't reflect that.

It was revealed he was playing with a broken back that required pain-killing injections to get him through games.

He then injured his foot late in the season against Fremantle as the Blues hit a bit of a purple patch. Cripps re-injured the foot in Round 23.

Speaking on Sportsday, Voss said the Blues need to find a way to highlight their strengths as a team as well as those of Cripps.

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“I think it’s more about maximising his capabilities,” he said.

“We can’t ask necessarily for him to be all things.

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Carlton all-too-often last season relied on individual brilliance to get them over the line. There's definitely a place for that star power to shine, but when those stars are unable to have a direct influence the Blues were unable to rely on team system to get them over the line.

Harry McKay won the Coleman Medal, Sam Walsh polled 30 votes in the Brownlow medal and Liam Jones was one of the game's best intercept defenders. Yet they still missed the eight but a fair distance.

Voss said Carlton will now have a system that allows them to play their best footy as both individuals and as a team.

“We’ll be strengths-based in what we bring to the table and we talked about some of that individual brilliance," he said.

"But to be able to make sure we are able to get the best out of ourselves then we need to put a collective system around someone like Patrick or even someone like Liam Jones and Jacob Weitering down back.

“Then we can really bring their strengths to the fore. How they complement each other is going to be important. How we put a system around them so we can maximise those strengths will also be very important.

“I think if we can do that, and we stop asking him to be all things, then we’ll get the absolute best out of him.”