Carlton spearhead Harry McKay has full belief in the playing group and has expressed his strong desire in propelling Carlton back up the ladder despite the side’s disappointing first half of the season.
In the midst of his own career-best season, the Coleman Medal leader has signed a new two-year contract extension, committing his future to Carlton till the end of 2023.
McKay says the timing and the length of the deal feels right.
“Where I’m at with my football, I thought it was the right decision,” McKay said to the media at Ikon Park on Tuesday.
“I really feel now I’m starting to play some consistent football.
“Working with my manager, we really felt 2 years was appropriate. I’m really looking forward to getting back to work.”
Rival clubs had been monitoring the developments of the key forward who put off contract talks at the start of the year to focus on his own form and continuity on the field. As the season has gone on, McKay’s performances on the field have only increased his value, making his signature a big coup for the Blues.
McKay can see strong success in the future at the Blues.
“It’s not all about money,” he said.
“The priority for me was being at a football club that I can see success in the future and being really comfortable with that.”
“It’s nice to know you’re wanted to a degree,” McKay said on potential interest from rival clubs.
“I think that’s the nature of the industry being a player who is playing some alright football and is out of contract is always going to get a little bit of interest.
“My discussions however were only with Carlton and I only fully, wanted to re-sign with Carlton.
“I see myself playing for the Carlton Football Club for a long time.”
For the first time in his career, the key forward has played every game in season 2021 to this point in the year and leads the Coleman Medal with 38 goals. Surpassing his previous personal best of 26 goals in a season back in 2019.
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It’s been a busy few weeks at Carlton. Life back on the road temporarily, The announcement of the external review of the football department and the resignation of John Barker, the hustle and bustle of the football season have come thick and fast.
Despite all the change going on in the background, McKay says he is really clear with the direction of the club and didn’t seek further clarity before recommitting.
“I live it everyday,” he said.
“I’ve been here for 6 years now, I’m part of everything that goes on. I feel like we’re really clear on the direction of the club even though we’re not exactly where we want to be.
“I have full faith over the next couple of years we can get to where we want to be and climb back up that ladder.”
McKay expressed his confidence in the playing list and the key pillars off-field, CEO Cain Liddle, Football manager Brad Lloyd and senior coach David Teague, saying that he feels that the review that is being undertaken by the club will be a good thing and enhance the group moving forward.
“I feel like it’s a chance to get better,” McKay said.
“High performing environments, looking at ways we can do things better. I think that can only be a good thing.
“The review hasn’t wavered my optimism for the club or where I think we’re heading.
“A lot of the foundations [at the club], the list, the people in management roles is a massive tick.”
McKay was drafted to Carlton with pick 10 in 2015 along with fellow key position players Jacob Weitering and Charlie Curnow. Weitering has gone on to establish himself as a leader at the club – which is something McKay has aspirations for and as one of the premier key defenders in the game.
Fellow key tall Curnow has been making steady and strong progress from a series of serious knee injuries and is getting closer to playing football again with every passing day and training session.
McKay is excited at the prospect of forming the 2 pronged attack again with Curnow when he does return.
“Charlie’s going really well. He’s back in the main group and moving really well.
“It’s great to see him back out there with a smile on his face. He’s obviously had a lot of adversity over the past couple of years.
“I can’t wait to play with him again.”
McKay was subbed off at quarter time in Round 12 against West Coast with a concussion. With Carlton’s bye falling within the mandated AFL 12 day protocol, he has recovered well in time and will train this week in preparation for the clash against GWS Giants in Sydney on Saturday night.
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