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Five days to the draft: Meet Paddy McCartin

Draft trumps: Paddy McCartin Meet the man widely considered the best key forward in the NAB AFL Draft

IT WAS in Geelong last year where Paddy McCartin showed the first real signs he would feature in the early parts of this year's NAB AFL Draft. 

Playing for Vic Country as a bottom-ager, the competitive forward went in for a low ball and crunched the collarbone of Western Australia's captain Dom Sheed. 

Although slightly dazed (he later found out he had a delayed concussion), McCartin played on and kicked five goals for his team in a breakout performance.

Some small injuries, including groin, quad, foot and finger complaints, stopped McCartin from taking the strides he would have hoped for in his draft season. But when he did play he made a big impact, and he is set to be an early pick.

He marks, he kicks goals and he does it every week. 

McCartin is the most standout key forward of this year's draft crop, and this is why: he times his leads nicely, he competes like mad, he's tough, aggressive and makes people question whether to stand in front of him.  

McCartin marks strongly on the lead or in packs, and has the natural tendencies found in every good forward. He gets a lot of shots at goal and kicks most, but also is good enough at ground level to scoop it up and snap around his body. He's also selfless, and brings others into the game. 

Had his season not been full of niggling interruptions, the 193cm and 92kg forward would have produced a dominant season at under-18 level.

Because of his injuries, McCartin wasn't able to put together as consistent a season he would've hoped. The little setbacks meant he couldn't push up the ground as much, where he could have developed his running patterns further away from goal.

McCartin plays a little like Jarryd Roughead when the Hawk forward first came into the AFL system. He's smart, knows the forward line and how to get space on the lead and amasses shots at goal.

St Kilda is considering drafting him at pick No.1. If he doesn't go to Seaford, McCartin will be selected in the next handful of picks.

McCartin's the best key forward in the draft and one who can dominate games and opponents. A big, strong and physical goalkicker who enjoys crashing packs and being the target in attack.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs