Harry McKay excited as change brings ‘optimism’ for pre-season training

Harry McKay taking a mark in pre-season. Credit: @Carltonfc. Twitter.

As summer approaches, Ikon Park was full to the brim on a warm Monday morning as all players were called back to training to kick-start pre-season.

In the first pre-season under new coach Michael Voss, McKay and his fellow teammate are excited to “build new relationships” as the change is filling him and the group with “excitement and optimism”.

The Blues had high expectations last season. However, they slumped to a lowly 13th place, only winning eight games and never really challenging for finals. This has put major pressure and massive expectations on the Blues list this season.

Despite his team’s poor performance, the 23-year-old had an outstanding season. Winning the Coleman Medal with a career-best 58 goals, besting Tom Hawkins in second place who finished with 54 majors.

Speaking to the media at Ikon Park this morning, Harry McKay was excited about the upcoming season. He outlined what new coach Michael Voss has brought to the club in his short stint so far.

“Vossy has been big on establishing everyone on the same page, building a really strong culture,” McKay said.

“Obviously, there’s a new game plan and system stuff that we are introducing, but at the moment we are just making sure everyone’s connected, everyone’s on the same page and we are working hard together, so it’s been great,”

With the absences of Charlie Curnow and Mitch McGovern for the majority of last season, McKay was left with the burden of carrying the forward line for the Blues. This took a toll on his body, with a shoulder problem plaguing him for the latter part of the season. He spoke about its progress in the pre-season so far.

“[It is doing], really good,” he said.

“It’s basically 100 per cent. Been fully training for a while now so absolutely no worries at all, it feels good.”

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In the off-season, Carlton picked up midfielders George Hewett and Adam Cerra. With both players being smooth users of the ball, McKay said it was “really nice” to have the ball kicked to him by them.

“They’ve all fitted in seamlessly,” he said

‘They’re fantastic fellas and trained really well. So I’m loving having those guys around and even the draftees and a couple of train-ons today have started… it’s been a really good two weeks and they’ve fitted in really well.”

The departure of Liam Jones has left the Blues one supplemental player to add to their list before the upcoming season. One of those available is Josh Cripps, brother of co-captain Patrick.

McKay spoke about the potential of another Cripps coming to Carlton

“He’s a bit bigger than his brother,” he said

“Josh has come down in the past just to help out, so a few of the boys know Josh pretty well.

“He’s here on his own bat and he is really keen to prove what he can do and train really well. I’m excited to see what Josh can do.

“Ty [Tyreece Leiu] was down as a train-on and he’s bloody impressive as well. Both those guys, it’s great to have down at the club.”

After another season without finals, Voss declared a “clean slate” for the football club. McKay was asked about expectations and setting early markers for the season.

“No, I think we are staying away from that to a degree,” he said.

“To be cliche… we’re really taking it kind of one day, one week at a time and really stay in the moment. It’s all about us getting connected again and all on the same page and playing for each other.

“For us inside the four walls, it’s been really about everyone connected again everyone getting along really well and building relationships and going from there.”

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