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NO. 1 DRAFT pick Paddy McCartin could take up to four years to establish himself as a key forward at AFL level, Greater Western Sydney's fellow top-pick forward Jonathon Patton says.
The big-bodied, aggressive McCartin, who was snared by St Kilda in the NAB AFL Draft on the Gold Coast on Thursday night, has been tipped to make an immediate impact with the rebuilding Saints.
However Patton, the No. 1 pick of 2011, who has kicked 34 games in 29 games after an injury-plagued start to his career, says the Saints need to be patient.
He said that even if McCartin had an injury-free run it might take him three or four years to feel comfortable at the highest level.
"I came in with a bit of a knee injury, so it does take a while to get your confidence," Patton told SEN radio on Friday morning.
"But I think once he starts playing, he's going to gain more confidence as each week goes by, especially if he gets pre-seasons [under] his belt and gets a tank. But he looks pretty impressive."
Patton is also being patient with his own recovery from his second knee reconstruction in as many seasons, but is progressing well after his right knee went under the knife in late August.
The 21-year-old revealed he has been running on a treadmill for two weeks and has also completed three outdoor running sessions.
He said it was too early gauge when he would return to the field, adding he had learned from his first reconstruction about the pitfalls of being impatient.
"I'm just going to follow the timeline and not rush anything," he said. "I've just got to be patient and just take it week by week. You're always going to have little setbacks but you've just got to think about the long term."
Patton said he wasn't bitter about former teammate Tom Boyd's defection to the Western Bulldogs on a seven-year contract believed to be worth $7 million.
"Why would there be bitterness? There's no bitterness at all. If he doesn't want to be at the club and wants to go to another club, and he's got a good contract … it's in the past now and we play them next year," he said.