Carlton have had an intense pre-finals training session in front of thousands of pumped AFL fans at Ikon Park on Saturday.
The Blues faithful rolled in for the open day, only to witness a physical ‘simulation’ match where things boiled over between ruck Marc Pittonet and midfielder Matthew Kennedy.
Cameras caught the moment when tempers flared, forcing teammates to move in and cool things down (see all the pics below).
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
Carlton last played finals in 2013, which was before skipper Patrick Cripps arrived at the club. In fact, Cripps last tasted finals football at any level when he was 14 years old.
But the superstar said he was loving the intensity and the crowd noise during Saturday’s session.
Matthew Kennedy and Marc Pittonet get physical during a heated training session at Ikon Park Credit: Getty ImagesTeammates rushed in to separate the pair. Credit: Getty ImagesPittonet was clearly not happy with Kennedy during the match sim. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
“We train the way we want to play and when Pitto (Pittonet) is at his best, he is a big boy who loves throwing his weight around,” Cripps said.
The biggest names up for grabs in this year’s AFL trade period
“We love that (type of) physicality.”
Cripps has been wearing padding around his ribs in recent weeks, and it was very evident that thick padding was there again for the rough-and-tumble session.
Pittonet and Kennedy might also be in a fight to make the final 22 for the cut-throat final with Sydney on Friday night at the MCG.
Pittonet is now behind Tom De Koning as the Blues’ No.1 ruck, while Kennedy has only managed 14 games this year.
During the match simulation, there were also robust cheers for injured pair Blake Acres and Jack Silvagni as they ran laps.
Cripps likened the noise to the crowd at the MCG when fans were watching the Matildas’ penalty shootout at quarter time during Carlton’s battle with Melbourne.
The hard-running Acres – who has a sore collarbone – is still a question mark for the Blues
“(Acres) did some laps today and he’s pretty bullish that he’ll get up,” Cripps said.
“He’s been a pretty important player for us this year and creates a lot of energy.
“He does a lot of stuff that people don’t see on TV and we highlight internally.”
Kennedy managed to push the ruckman down. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty ImagesSkipper Patrick Cripps said he loved the intensity. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
The out-of-a-contract Silvagni has a knee injury and is an outside chance to be fit for Carlton’s second final, if they beat the Swans.
Cripps says is determined to have an impact on the big stage and says he will be in top shape on Friday night.
It will be the 28-year-old’s first final after 180 games – and a Brownlow Medal last year – over a decade.
“It’s one thing making it, now we’ve got to impact it,” Cripps said ahead of his club’s first finals campaign since 2013, a few weeks before he was drafted.
“We don’t want to be making up the numbers.
“We’re pretty eager to have a big impact and we know our best footy stacks up.
Thousands of fans turned up for the session on a glorious Melbourne day. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
“We’ve got one more main (training) session before the Swans on Friday and we’ll be having a red-hot crack.”
The tough midfielder is excited by the prospect of lining up again at a packed MCG and senses a similar vibe from long-suffering Blues fans, who have been on a rollercoaster ride with Michael Voss’s team this season.
“In my mind I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, as well as a lot of the other boys,” Cripps said.
“We’re fortunate playing for a big club like Carlton we play in prime-time slots (in front of big crowds) … so although a lot of us haven’t played in a final we feel like mentally we have.”
Last year’s runners-up, Sydney won six of their last seven home-and-away matches to secure a finals berth and enter September brimming with confidence.
Cripps is expecting a physical contest.
“That’s our brand but that’s also their brand,” he said.
“You talk about the ‘Bloods culture’ and we know what’s going to come our way.
“Finals becomes a contested game and it could be an arm wrestle for a long part of the game, it’s just whose system and contest can hold up for longest.”
Cripps trained well and eased fears over key forward Harry McKay, who left the track early as part of his “load management”.
– With AAP
Reigning champs send ominous AFLW warning in season-opener
AFL legend smashes junior footy comp for bizarre rule change
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.