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If Cameron Polson is part of Brendon Bolton’s blueprint for success at Carlton, but Harry McKay isn’t, Blues fans should be worried. Very worried.
How is it possible that McKay’s form can’t warrant selection in the senior side, when Polson has played three games in a row and been nothing but detrimental?
Polson, selected with the 59th overall pick in the 2016 national draft, has played five games for Carlton this year, including in their most recent three outings.
In those last three games, Polson has averaged 6.7 disposals, 0.3 marks and three tackles, while kicking no goals butchering almost a third of his rare disposals.
A particular lowlight of Polson’s three-game stretch occurred with about 15 minutes to go in the last quarter of Round 14, where Carlton were remarkably within three points of Port Adelaide.
The Blues were streaming forward on the counterattack and Polson had the ball in the midfield with time and space. He kicked long and straight into the arms of Port defender Tom Clurey.
Polson then gave away a 50-metre penalty, the turnover resulting in a goal to Steven Motlop to put the Power nine points up. It felt like the moment that hope was lost for Carlton.
Cameron Polson mustered up seven SuperCoach points that game. And yes, he played the full game. Ouch.
And then there’s Harry McKay, taken with the tenth pick in the 2015 national draft. The 20-year-old sat in the grandstands on Saturday and watched Charlie Curnow get monstered by a pride of Lion defenders, being the Blues’ only target up forward.
Granted, McKay hasn’t been brilliant in his six games this year for Carlton. He also hasn’t shown a whole lot at VFL level. But surely 12 goals and 24 marks in six games can’t be as bad as what Polson has dished up?
Maybe McKay just needs some continuity at AFL level? You’d think the back half of Carlton’s already completely derailed season is the perfect time to get valuable experience into the 200cm forward prospect.
And surely having another forward line target would help free up budding superstar Curnow.
It feels wrong to single out one player in Polson, when it should only really be Patrick Cripps, the Curnow brothers and Kade Simpson holding their heads high at Carlton. There are plenty of others who aren’t pulling their weight.
So let’s not make it a bashing of inexperienced players like Cameron Polson. Let’s shine the spotlight on Brendon Bolton and the selection committee.
Why, Bolton, are the Cameron Polson’s of the world getting a game every week, while Harry McKay sits on the sidelines?