Paddy McCartin’s hopes of landing an AFL lifeline have received an enormous boost with the Sydney Swans adding the luckless former No.1 draft pick to their VFL side for season 2021.
The former St Kilda forward’s five-year stay at the Saints was riddled with concussions and the club delisted him at the end of the 2019 season with just 35 games beside his name.
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But the 24-year-old, who St Kilda took with pick one in the 2014 national draft, will renew his push for an AFL comeback when he runs out for the Swans’ second-tier side this year.
Sydney were among a host of clubs that considered drafting McCartin in December last year, but they all opted against securing him.
Sydney have one spot open on their AFL list and game time in the VFL will give McCartin an ideal chance to make that his own. The Swans could select a player during the pre-season supplementary selection period or add to their list in the mid-season draft.
McCartin is now at the same club as younger brother Tom, who’s played 48 games since being drafted to Sydney in the 2017 national draft, and he considers that a major bonus.
“It’s good being in Sydney with some nice weather, the beaches and being around my brother Tom,” McCartin said.
“When I got drafted he (Tom) was only 15 and I missed him growing up a little bit, so to be back with him and see him every day is awesome.
“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but I have taken a lot out of it and learnt a lot, so I think it will put me in good stead for what’s to come.”
Swans VFL coach Jeremy Laidler was thrilled to welcome McCartin to the club.
“To have a player of his calibre around our group is fantastic,” Laidler said.
“We have a lot of young players, and although he is only 24, he will bring a lot to the team.”
The new-look VFL competition consists of 22 teams from Victoria, NSW and Queensland, and it’s set to begin on April 17.
The 2021 VFL fixture will be released later this month and practice matches will get underway in March.
The Swans used to play in the NEAFL but that state-league competition was ruined by the impact of COVID-19.
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