Patrick Cripps after Carlton's loss to Brisbane in round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

IF PATRICK Cripps is met by Josh Dunkley at the opening bounce of Saturday's preliminary final, Carlton is confident their skipper will win the battle this time.

In Brisbane's 26-point win over the Blues in round eight, gun midfield recruit Dunkley racked up 33 disposals and six clearances while laying 13 tackles and keeping Cripps to just 17 touches.

It prompted Lions coach Chris Fagan to label Dunkley's performance" one of the great games I've ever seen".


Carlton have no doubt Brownlow medallist Cripps will have learned from the rare experience of having his colours lowered.

"It was a good learning game for us," midfield coach Tim Clarke said.

"Crippa's a student of the game so for him he's had moments throughout his career where he's been beaten by another player, and it's a great opportunity for him to learn and to build his game and it makes him better prepared for next time that he plays him.

"He can't wait for the opportunity to come up against not only Dunkley, who had the match-up last time, but all of the Brisbane midfielders. We can't wait for the challenge that's going to be posed to us on Saturday."

Patrick Cripps is tackled by Josh Dunkley in Carlton's loss to Brisbane in round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

When asked whether he expected the Cripps-Dunkley match-up to be repeated, Clarke said "at some stage."

"He (Dunkley) hasn't been doing that role over the last last few weeks as consistently as he did earlier in the year but Crippa's coming off the back of a really solid game," he said.

"Potentially they might go to it but they've got a lot of midfielders in there that we need to prepare for. But if it does happen, I know that Crippa will be ready.

"Crippa might come and ask for that match-up. He's the kind of guy that loves to step into any challenge.

"So we're really excited whether it's a Dunkley, whether it's (Lachie) Neale, there's (Hugh) McCluggage, there's a lot of their midfielders that are in really good form and we can't wait to play on them."

Brisbane co-captain Neale has struggled to deal with hard tags but Clarke wouldn't be drawn on whether Carlton would turn to a run-with role.

"Fages (Fagan) even mentioned himself that Brisbane's midfield is a lot deeper than Lachie Neale and we view it that way," Clarke said.

"They've got some really talented players in there and Lachie Neale's one of them. He's a super player.

"We've got a lot of players who have watched what he does around the stoppages and no doubt there'll be some work put into Lachie at some stage during the game."