Former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin to debut for Swans after four years out of AFL

Former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin overcomes FOUR YEARS out of AFL due to concussion issues as he’s named to make emotional return to the field with his brother

  • Former St Kilda forward Paddy McCartin has been named to play for the Swans
  • He will feature in their round one AFL derby clash against the GWS Giants
  • It comes after four years in the AFL wilderness because of repeat concussions
  • The emotional return will also feature McCartin’s brother Tom

Former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin will make his long-awaited AFL comeback in Sydney’s round-one derby against GWS.

It will be an emotional return for the ex-St Kilda forward, whose career was put on hold in 2018 after repeated concussion issues.

McCartin linked up with Sydney’s VFL squad last year, playing five games during a coronavirus-disrupted season.

He was also limited by a five-game suspension for an off-the-ball punch, but did enough to convince the Swans he is capable of adapting to a new role in their back-line.

Former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin has been given a second chance in the AFL after repeated concussions and will debut for the Sydney Swans in round one.

Sydney coach John Longmire confirmed the 25-year-old will be picked to play against the Giants at Accor Stadium on Saturday.

“I fully appreciate the fact that it is a good story, there’s no question about that, he’s been through some real challenges,” Longmire told AAP.

“It is a great story, but importantly he’s earned the opportunity to be able to play.”

St Kilda’s prized top selection in 2014, McCartin was drafted as a key forward and kicked 34 goals in 35 games for the Saints.

McCartin's AFL progress was halted by repeat concussions that forced him to take time away from the game

McCartin’s AFL progress was halted by repeat concussions that forced him to take time away from the game

But Sydney are hopeful he can form a long-term defensive partnership with versatile brother Tom, who has played 70 games for the Swans in four seasons.

“Paddy’s getting used to a new position, he hadn’t played there before, so he’s still learning that role,” Longmire said.

“He’s not only finding out what it’s like to play in a new team and a new club, but also a new position.

“It’s important to get your spine right and Tommy’s been a really good player for us, both forward and back, since he’s come into the team.

“At a young age, he’s certainly learning the ropes down back.

“The ability to be able to have players that can compete hard, can mark (the ball) and, certainly in Paddy’s case, can kick it, certainly helps.”

The Swans and Giants resume their rivalry after GWS were one-point winners in an emotion-charged elimination final between the sides last August.

Three of the past five Sydney derbies have been decided by less than a kick, with the head-to-head record 4-2 in the Giants’ favour over the past three seasons.

“The rivalry doesn’t need to be manufactured, it’s there,” Longmire said.

“That’s through both teams being involved in finals footy and playing finals games against each other.

“It’s been great for the code in NSW to have two competitive teams.”