Why is Harry McKay still watching on?

Sam Staunton Roar Rookie

By Sam Staunton, Sam Staunton is a Roar Rookie

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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?

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    The Crowd Says (37)

    • July 12th 2018 @ 6:07am
      Kane said | July 12th 2018 @ 6:07am | ! Report

      Very fair question. It’s hard to understand why Harry isn’t getting a game, he’s actually shown a bit in his games so far. He’s pretty much the exact player Carlton are screaming out for in our forward line. I’d be playing him and Charlie together to build a bit of chemistry for the rest of the year and doing my damndest to get him through a preseason.

    • Roar Guru

      July 12th 2018 @ 8:01am
      Peter the Scribe said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      Never like to see a young player (Polson) singled out in an attack even with the belated apology later. IMO Polson as you later suggest has a lot of mates not playing well so perhaps you could have been a bit kinder to him and simply suggested he “isn’t ready” for the big time yet or some such. As for Harry, I’m sure there’s internal reasons why he isn’t being played. Maybe he isn’t training properly or failing in another KPI they don’t wish to divulge. I wonder the same thing about young Sam Murray for the Pies. I really liked him in the side and then he was dropped and can’t find a way back in. I expect it is a training or team defence type situation that the club won’t divulge, perhaps similar thing with Harry, not following a team rule?

      • July 12th 2018 @ 9:50am
        Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        I was really impressed with Murray at the start of the year and have been wondering what happened to him.

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2018 @ 9:56am
          Peter the Scribe said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          He may well come back in this week Macca as a direct replacement for Appleby who did his hammie. Problem is WCE are bringing all the big boys back so we will have a very small defence and they may be tempted to rush Darcy Moore back in.

    • July 12th 2018 @ 8:06am
      Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Energy and effort are the reasons couple with the lack of game time in the VFL but I would think McKay comes in this week and Polson goes out.

      If you look at MKay in the VFL in the 6 weeks since he was dropped he has played just 3 games (missing 1 with illness and having 2 byes) with the first two yielding 1 goal and I think about 7 marks combined. The third hadn’t him with 1 goal, 7 marks and 14 posssessions which I thought could have been enough to see him come in last week.

      As for Polson he has regularly been laying double figure tackles in the 2’s and brings speed and energy that our forward line needs. Even his worst moment highlight in the article show why he was picked, he roved the ball at half back and kicked it forward 50m and then he was the one who manned the mark and then he was unlucky to give away the 50 as he pushed to man the mark of the next port Adelaide option. Half way through the last quarter he was still sprinting in repeat efforts. Yes his disposal has been poor and he hasn’t got a lot of the ball and I believe he will be dropped but I can see why he has been given a run.

      • July 12th 2018 @ 8:48am
        Kane said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        McKay is one of those players who performs to a higher standard when the level is higher. Get him in the one’s and leave him there, you only have to compare stats at both levels to see where he belongs. Some blokes you have back in at the higher level and give them extended games even if they have a lean trot and he is definitely one of these blokes. He’s worth more to Carlton in the 1’s than he is in the 2’s

        • July 12th 2018 @ 9:02am
          Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

          I completely agree Kane but I can see why he isn’t getting picked. He hasn’t had a full pre-season since he got to the club which doesn’t help but he has clearly been given some things to work on around work rate, consistency of effort and staying in games longer. It certainly hasn’t helped his cause that the VFL have had 2 byes in 6 weeks.

          What I do find funny is that the same people who have been criticising the blues for gifting players games and playing too many youngsters are the same ones clamouring for McKay to be played.

          I would also add on Polson that the only reason he was “in the midfield with time and space” was because he created it himself with a great burst of speed off have back after gathering the crumb.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 9:32am
            AdelaideDocker said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            They’d argue that it’s about playing the right youngsters, Macca!

            For mine, I blogged that Port/Blues clash and whilst Polson wasn’t exactly good by any stretch, I could certainly see his running power and the basis of why he was in the side. His performance just wasn’t up to scratch, that day. Mind you, haven’t seen him play a lot, so I’m unsure whether that’s a regular thing.

            I’m blogging your Friday night clash tomorrow, so I’m intrigued to see whether I’ll be typing McKay’s name!

            • July 12th 2018 @ 9:41am
              Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

              “They’d argue that it’s about playing the right youngsters, Macca!” True, which I would suggest is why Polson is getting a game and not Harry – Polson has a high work rate and by the sounds of things that is what they want Harry to work on. The argument they make is the young players need to “earn it” – work rate is what that is all about.

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2018 @ 9:59am
          Peter the Scribe said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Kane makes a valid point. Some players you can’t find out about in the VFL on poor sub standard and smaller windy grounds. It is in space that you perhaps can tell a bit more about a player and you seldom find space in the VFL.

          • July 12th 2018 @ 10:35am
            Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            Pete – I agree, it is a hard gig being a young key forward in the VFL, but I can see why he isn’t getting picked based on those performances.

            • Roar Guru

              July 12th 2018 @ 10:49am
              Peter the Scribe said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

              Big Trav Cloke was at the end of his career to be fair but when he went back to VFL he said the one thing that stood out was the lack of space and the moment he got back in the AFL it was so much easier to present as a key forward. The other thing he mentioned was the delivery in the VFL is also a challenge as you would expect with the drop in midfield class and the often windy conditions.

    • Roar Guru

      July 12th 2018 @ 9:01am
      Cat said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

    • July 12th 2018 @ 9:38am
      Jack said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      I think you raise some really good points.
      I understand a lot of the criticism this week, I have to
      Say I think we have some great talent but our better players are our youngest so does not impact matches where our older players pushing up the age of list have been absolutely horrible.

      For me it’s not just McKay it’s cunningham as well.
      His gonna be a gun and has not had enough first team exposure .
      The other one is de gong who I think is a great talent.
      Outside of that Bolton has played all the young players I have wanted to see in rebuild.

      On McKay I think just play him in every game and give him time to grow, from my view his clearly got talent and if we invest we could have one of the best forward compos in afl

      • July 12th 2018 @ 9:49am
        Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Jack – I wold also want to see more of Cuningham but he has had a terrible run with injury (I think he has only had 2 VFL appearances this year) and is currently listed with a 5-7 week hamstring which he picked up at training after missing with a toe injury. If he was fit I would expect he would be playing instead of Polson.

        De Koning has really impressed in his first year in the VFL but after 3 weeks of being in the best from late may to mid June injured his hamstring in the game on the 24th of June and is still a week away.

    • Roar Guru

      July 12th 2018 @ 9:50am
      Paul Dawson said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      I have heard McKay has been ill – but seriously, what has he had, Ross river fever?

      It is truly baffling and crazy from Carlton they would pick no hopers like Phillips and Carlton ahead of McKay and indicative of this cancerous rebuild mentality where the here and now doesn’t matter

      Try telling that to the disconsolate Carlton fans I saw wandering the city like zombies on Saturday evening

      • Roar Guru

        July 12th 2018 @ 10:33am
        Paul Dawson said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        that should be no hopers like Phillips and Casboult

      • July 12th 2018 @ 10:34am
        Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        Paul – since McKay got dropped he played against Geelong on the 2nd of June for 3 Marks 0 goals, missed the next week with the bye, missed the next week with illness, played against Collingwood for 4 marks and 1 goal, then played against Footscray for 7 marks and 1 goals (plus 14 possessions I think) before having the bye again last week. He has hardly been smashing down the door.

        Also it should be noted that Kerr was played instead of McKay for the first couple of weeks after he got dropped.

        I also find it interesting that not playing a young kid low on form is “indicative of this cancerous rebuild mentality where the here and now doesn’t matter”

        All that said I would play McKay.

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2018 @ 11:44am
          Paul Dawson said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          Has anyone been smashing down doors at Carlton? No one is really presenting with a HERES JOHHHNNNNY atm.

          At least we agree McKay should have played. Leaving Curnow out there by himself to get smashed is the same thing the pies did for yonks with Darcy Moore

          I don’t buy the ruck excuse either, stef Martin would have just run McKay all over the park he’s not a bash and crash type ruckman. Good for his fitness

          • July 12th 2018 @ 1:24pm
            Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

            Not really sure the blues have left Curnow out by himself that much, at various times this year they have played Curnow Casboult & McKay, Curnow, Casboult and Kerr and Curnow McKay & Kerr on top of Kreuzer in the ruck.

            The point on McKay though is that he was clearly dropped to work on something (work rate seems to be it but that is only from the outside) and if he hasn’t shown a willingness to fix the issue at VFL level how can you bring him back and it not be “indicative of this cancerous rebuild mentality where the here and now doesn’t matter”

            • Roar Guru

              July 12th 2018 @ 2:13pm
              Paul Dawson said | July 12th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

              Well, stef martin would have been an ideal workrate coach for him, his coverage around the ground is extraordinary for such a big unit. McKay would have puffing like an old steam train trying to keep up with him.

              I don’t bother trying to talk to you when you’re trying to engage in the futile exercise of establishing definitive proof or untruth around something that is clearly an opinion

              I’m glad you like the line though, you’ve quoted it twice now.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 3:14pm
                Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                Not trying to establish definitive proof just understand the opinion because it seems counter intuitive to me – if the blues were simply in rebuild mode and didn’t care about the here and now they would be playing McKay regardless of form but somehow you believe playing a more mature body who will offer less to the club in the long term but a stronger presence now is reflective of a rebuild mentality.

                I do agree “McKay would have puffing like an old steam train trying to keep up with” Martin but if what Bolton said in his press conference today is true it probably points to why he wasn’t picked – Martin would have blown him up on a warm day after he went in underdone.

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 3:55pm
                Paul Dawson said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                See that’s the part I don’t agree with if you go in telling a young player who is 200cm and still a big unit regardless, sorry but we don’t trust you to handle the opposite ruck – and then the guy they pick ahead of him gets injured early on…well I know it’s a bit of hindsight but I just think McKay needs to get in amongst it sooner or later, this leaving of high draft picks in the shrink wrap baffles me. Gold Coast did it with scrimshaw too, I just think you have to play these guys and let them sink or swim, because otherwise they don’t play and they wind up leaving or getting delisted regardless

                Ethan Hughes at Freo is another prime example, highly rated played 18 games last year and hasn’t been sighted at all this year beyond 1-2 appearances, from the outside i just don’t get it sometimes

              • July 12th 2018 @ 7:27pm
                Kane said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

                Obviously we don’t know how fit McKay was last week but what better bloke to play him on in Martin to make him realise just how hard u have to work to make it.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 5:27pm
                Macca said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

                I agree they should play McKay as much as possible but it isn’t hard to see why they didn’t pick a player who has never done a full pre-season, has issues with staying in the whole game, according to Bolton has been on restricted training program due to illness and played only 3 games in the last 5 weeks to come up against one of the best endurance ruckmen in the league in Brisbane in warm and humid conditions.

                But I do agree with your sentiments and whatever coach it was that said if you let these players play VFL too long they become VFL players (I think Malthouse did that to Graham)

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