Cripps keen for AFL work-life balance

Carlton's Patrick Cripps (2R) wants player workforce experience if the AFL pre-season is shortened.
Carlton's Patrick Cripps (2R) wants player workforce experience if the AFL pre-season is shortened.

Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps says if there was a move to push back AFL pre-season training, he'd like to see that time replaced with an initiative to give players workforce experience.

With most AFL teams back training, there have been discussions around the length of pre-seasons, with many players in training from early November until pre-premiership matches in late February.

"It all depends where your list is at, I think," Cripps said.

"I think we're at the stage now where our list is at a good - I suppose an old enough - level where they actually know what they've got to do in the break to come back in really good shape, which the boys did.

"I'm a big advocate of if we get less time in pre-season, I think we should go out and get a job somewhere to get a bit of work-life experience.

"I think that'd be good for mental health but also just career development after footy."

Originally from rural Western Australia, Cripps said he'd look to move into agricultural business, emphasising the importance of footballers experiencing the "real world".

"I think just getting out in the real world and experiencing what it's like - we spend all our lives in the footy bubble. It's good to meet different people and I suppose put footy in perspective of what life's all about."

Cripps said he'd lost weight to try to be more mobile.

"I've dropped a few kilos - two or three - it's just something you always try to find a way to improve your game and, look, I know if this doesn't work over the pre-season, I can quickly chuck a few on in the weights room," he said.

"I feel like I'm moving a bit better but still got a long grind of the pre-season to go so I'll work out what weight I best play at."

Fellow co-captain Sam Docherty is embracing the pre-season grind, having spent two years sidelined with knee injuries.

"I'm probably one of the only blokes in the AFL at the moment that's pretty excited about a long pre-season," he said.

"I was chomping at the bit to come out and, obviously, had a really good week (training) in Philadelphia before I came back and fit, firing and training well, so feeling really good."

Australian Associated Press