12/04/2024

Harry McKay kicked five goals against the Kangaroos. (Image: Carlton FC)

Combining for nine goals throughout the game, Carlton key forwards Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow were instrumental as the Blues cruised to a 56-point win over North Melbourne in the Good Friday SuperClash.

McKay and Curnow were nearly impossible for the Roos to stop at times, with McKay in particular continuing his superb run of form and having great influence on the contest. Finishing with five goals, 19 disposals, and a game-high 10 marks, McKay was crucial for the Blues. Curnow was also his influential self though, adding four goals of his own and linking up brilliantly with his key-forward partner.

While he didn’t feel the need to single the two stars out as the reason for the victory, head coach Michael Voss was still full of praise for McKay in particular and the path he has taken to get back to his best form.

“He went through a journey like all of us last year. He found some challenges he had to work his way through,” Voss said.

“He’s been able to use all of that… [and now] he’s as confident as I’ve seen him since I’ve been here. If anything he’s finally got some reward for a couple of great pre-season’s that he’s had.

“It’s quite an obvious thing to try and highlight those two particular individuals, but the story for mine was about sharing the load.

“I thought our smalls went to work really well, they were particularly impressive today. Not only defensively did they get the job done, but they were able to hit the scoreboard as well.”

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Elaborating on the brilliant work that the small forwards did, Voss assured that he’s prepared to have to make those difficult selection decisions, and praised his team for the work they have done as a whole in the lead up to games.

“It does [make it difficult], but I’m quite happy to be able to have those tough conversations if they’re needed,” he said.

“Availability is strong, and we’ve got challenges for position. It’s amazing how that sort of creates the momentum for you.

“We’re in great shape. You’re never too sure how the bye goes, it’s a very unusual place to have it.

“We used that to have a mental rest and also a physical rest, and we bounced into this week really well. I couldn’t fault their training over the last couple of weeks. That’s where they’ve turned into professionals.

“They understand the preparation required on a weekly basis to be able to play consistent football, and that’s what we haven’t yet proved. We haven’t proved that we’re that consistent home and away team, and we only get to do that with time.”

One player that epitomised the hard work Voss spoke about, Elijah Hollands was terrific in his first senior game for the Blues, coming in after serving a two-game suspension for breaching the AFL’s Illicit Drugs Policy.

Hollands impressed, particularly in the second half of the game, with Voss singling out the work he has done to earn the respect of those at the club upon his arrival at Carlton.

“The first conversation I had with him when the deal went through [and] he came to us was [that] he gets a fresh set of eyes, but what I do expect is that you put your head down, your work hard, and you earn respect through that way, and he’s been fantastic at that,” Voss said.

“What we saw tonight was probably what we’ve seen a fair bit of over pre-season. He got to play in a role that he’ll probably play a fair bit in, and he had an impact tonight which was great to see.”

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