Jamie Cripps could have been forgiven for having a slow start to season 2019. The small forward spent most of the pre-season running laps after undergoing off-season surgery to remedy a toe ailment that he fought through during West Coast’s successful 2018 campaign. When he was selected for his first outing, the rematch of that memorable grand final, many wondered if he’d be able to replicate his trademark running power and defensive pressure coming off a limited build up. Cripps erased any doubts with an inspirational performance against the Magpies. He gathered 18 disposals, launched the ball inside 50 on six occasions and booted four goals. He was sidelined later in the year with a groin injury, but again bounced back and continued to set the standard for the club’s small forwards. He finished the year with 30 goals from 19 games (his best average as an Eagle) and averaged a career-high six contested possessions per game.
Standout performance: Firing shots against the Bombers
Cripps seemed determined to have an impact in West Coast’s elimination final encounter against Essendon after having a quiet night out against Hawthorn in round 23. The 27-year-old came out all-guns-blazing against the Bombers and produced his best performance of the year in the do-or-die contest. He amassed a season-best 22 disposals, 12 score involvements and booted four goals – including two imperious set shots from outside the 50 metre arc. He also won 10 contested possessions, launched the ball inside 50 on four occasions and stuck four tackles to earn a perfect 10 Gary Ayres Player of the Finals Award votes from senior coaches Adam Simpson and John Worsfold.
Contested possessions: 6.0
Inside 50s: 3.3