The Collingwood coaches box identified Heppell’s ball-winning as a danger and were content that Essendon skipper Jobe Watson wasn’t going to hurt them.
Crisp, in just his 22nd AFL game, had broken even in his run-with role on Watson and to be sent to Heppell spoke volumes of the Magpies’ faith in the former Lion.
“Crispy just keeps backing up. He came to us having played 18 games and he has played the first four this year and got better week on week on week,’’ coach Nathan Buckley said.
“He had a really strong pre-season. He’s just a young bloke having a crack and I think he probably squared the ledger.
“Watson, possession-wise, didn’t hurt us and Heppell was. And we flicked him across and that was an important move for us.
“To have the confidence in a bloke like Jack is a big part of our arsenal.’’
To finish with 21 possessions and a critical second half goal was a solid fightback after Crisp spilt a simple mark early in his Anzac Day debut.
“It probably rattled me a little bit in such a big game,’’ he said.
“I thought I started off a little bit slow, gave away a couple of sloppy free kicks. But after half time I think I did my job quite well.’’
At 190 cms and 91 kgs, the 21-year-old from Myrtleford can expect to be assigned more key playmakers this season.
“To be given that task by the coaching staff and having the players believe I could do it, you have to have faith and belief,’’ Crisp said.
“They see my size and having a big engine to be able to run, so that’s what they use me for. But they encourage me to also play an offensive role.
“I watched a bit of footage (on Watson) from previous games to find out a bit about strengths and weaknesses.
“Contested ball is easily his strength. He has changed his game a little bit.
“Just the defensive work. We wanted to take that away from them, particularly the contested marks and to show them down.’’