CARLTON won't just be out to secure the four points in next Thursday night's season-opener against Richmond, the Blues will also be out to earn the respect of the competition.

Just one of the 18 club captains polled in Wednesday's annual AFL Captains' Survey tipped Carlton to break its lengthy seven-year finals drought in season 2021, though Blues skipper Patrick Cripps is hardly surprised.

Internally, Carlton is expecting rapid improvement this season following a summer in which the club added quality senior experience through the arrival of both Zac Williams and Adam Saad from rival clubs.

Patrick Cripps with the 2021 premiership cup on the AFL Captains Day at Marvel Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos

But, externally, Cripps believes the Blues still have some convincing to do and will attempt to use a difficult start to the season as a means of turning heads across the League and stamping themselves as a genuine September threat.

"It doesn't surprise me," Cripps told

"It's one of those things, you've got to earn the respect of other clubs. They don't hand you finals games.

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"We feel like we've had a really good pre-season and we're set for a big year, but at the end of the day we've got to go out there and get some momentum and try to earn the respect of the other clubs by playing our way."

Cripps enters the upcoming season as one of the League's most high-profile restricted free agents, with the club still determined to secure its superstar co-captain to a fresh long-term contract.

Blues coach David Teague said last month that he remains confident Cripps will re-sign "at some stage" this season, with the 25-year-old preaching patience as talks over a new deal continue.

"We're still working through it. There have been some good chats with the club and we'll keep working through it," Cripps said.
"It's one of those things, you don't put a timeline on it. I'm still contracted for another six or eight months. Everyone else wants to rush it, but it's one of those processes that you just let happen.

"I've openly said that I'm really happy at the club and I really enjoy it. I really believe in the group and the coaches, so I'm excited for the first few rounds."