Part 1 of the six-part series comprises the five players the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues can least afford to lose in 2021, plus each side gets one honourable pre-draft mention.
What a start to the year for the Brisbane Lions. While the 2019 season is only in its infancy the Lions have three wins from three games to be one of the early pacesetters of the competition.
In 2016 the Lions only had three wins for the season and has not had more than five wins in a season since 2014. So it cannot be undersold what a great start to the year it has been.
One of the many success stories thus far for Brisbane is the performance of new Lion, Lincoln McCarthy.
The 25-year-old arrived from Geelong with little fanfare. Understandable given he had only played 29 games at the Cats since being drafted in 2011.
Despite being restricted to five games in the last two years due to a host of injuries, the Lions were keen to bring the Cat to the club. Football Manager David Noble was delighted when the trade was completed with McCarthy signing a three-year deal.
“The club has had a strong focus on bringing quality players and people in the age range of 23-26 years of age. Lincoln McCarthy fits that brief and has certainly been a player of interest for us over the past 12 months,” Noble said.
“Lincoln brings a range of skills we can use both through the midfield and as a pressure forward. His ability to mark the ball for his size also provides the versatility we are looking for, with our players being able to move through various positions.”
The tale of the tape
Training continuity in the off-season and importantly luck on the injury front has provided the ideal platform for the South Australian to impress.
Round 1 saw an immediate impact for the new recruit booting four goals against West Coast. The biggest goal haul for McCarthy in his AFL career to date.
Last week he kicked two goals, McCarthy took mark of the round and gathered 20 disposals against Port Adelaide. Another personal achievement ticked off, the most disposals he has amassed in a single AFL game.
The acquisition of Lincoln McCarthy essentially cost Brisbane nothing in the trade period – a swap of third and fourth-round draft picks with the Cats.
Sometimes a change of environment brings about a change in luck. I certainly did not envisage McCarthy excelling so quickly at his new club. At minimal cost, it may just prove to be one of the bargain deals of the trade period.