CARLTON is breathing a sigh of relief after its upset victory over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday night, with important duo Patrick Cripps and Marc Murphy avoiding serious injury setbacks.
BLUES MAKE A STATEMENT Full match coverage and stats
Cripps came from the field in the first quarter with a jarred left shoulder, but reappeared after the opening change and played out the match despite heavy strapping following a hard tackle on Rhylee West.
The three-time best and fairest winner had just one disposal in the second term and finished with only 13 touches for the match, but Blues coach David Teague allayed fears that the injury was a significant one.
"I think (he's OK)," Teague said.
"I think it's just a jarred shoulder. I don't know too much about it. I asked if he was right to go back on, they said 'yes', I said 'that's good'. It was a pretty simple conversation.
"He seemed pretty happy in the rooms. He didn't seem to be complaining about his shoulder after the game."
Meanwhile, Murphy ended the match on the bench after pulling up lame with a hip injury due to an innocuous incident where the veteran midfielder was hovering on the outside of a contest.
Despite initial fears the injury was related to a syndesmosis problem that kept Murphy to just 10 matches in 2016, Teague revealed the former captain had tweaked his hip.
"I think it was more towards his hip area," Teague said.
"When it happened, he thought he'd hurt something. But by the time we finished the game, he said it felt good. I think he'll be all right."
Carlton's 52-point victory snapped a three-match winning streak for the Western Bulldogs, with their coach Luke Beveridge flagging changes due to a short break ahead of Friday night's encounter with Essendon at Metricon Stadium.
The Dogs have taken a full squad to the Queensland hub, with Beveridge suggesting it would give the side the ability to make alterations ahead of next week's important clash with the Bombers.
"There's not many in our group that we wouldn't give a game to," Beveridge said.
"It's the communal thing (taking a full squad). It's an opportunity to galvanise through a more challenging year than any year we've ever played. It was just common sense to bring everyone, work together and enjoy each other's company.
"You’ve got to get that balance right. Whether or not we did this week, I don't know … but we'll learn from it and we need to present better this Friday night."