FORMER pick No.1 Paddy McCartin is officially back in the AFL, signing with Sydney under pre-season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) rules on Monday.
McCartin, 25, has spent the last two seasons out of the AFL system after he was delisted by St Kilda – the club where he was initially drafted with the No.1 selection – due to ongoing concussion issues.
However, having signed with Sydney’s VFL affiliate team last year as he pressed his case to return to the game’s top level, McCartin has officially earned a career lifeline with the Swans.
As reported by AFL.com.au last November, McCartin opted to skip the NAB AFL Draft nomination process but had always remained a significant chance to reclaim his place on an AFL list with Sydney this year.
He officially joined the Swans as a train-on player prior to Christmas, claiming the final spot on the club’s rookie list on Monday after impressing across five VFL games throughout the 2021 campaign.
The 194cm talent played a combination of attacking and defensive roles while plying his trade in the VFL and joins his younger brother Tom – himself a versatile key-position prospect – on Sydney’s list.
"Paddy has worked extremely hard over the past two years to get himself fit and healthy, and in a position to continue his AFL career," Swans footy boss Charlie Gardiner said in a statement.
"To his credit, he has overcome several challenges and ultimately his strong VFL form last season and commitment to training over the pre-season has enabled him to earn another AFL opportunity.
"At just 25 years of age Paddy still has plenty of footy left to play, and his re-joining the senior list will provide the club with the flexibility of another tall option who can play at either end of the ground.
WHO'S CALLED IT QUITS 2021's retirements and delistings
"We’re looking forward to seeing what Paddy can deliver this season. We know he and Tom are excited about the opportunity to continue training and playing together."
McCartin, the No.1 pick with St Kilda in 2014, was delisted in October 2019 following a mutual agreement between the two parties as he continued his recovery concussion issues. He had played 35 games for the Saints, kicking 34 goals.
He joins a strong list of off-season inclusions for Sydney. Young ruckman Peter Ladhams joined from Port Adelaide during the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period, while Angus Sheldrick (pick No.18), Matthew Roberts (No.34), Corey Warner (No.40) and Lachlan Rankine (No.58) were added during the draft.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY Who has the hardest draw? We break down the 2022 fixture
There are now just eight teams – Carlton, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, West Coast, Essendon and St Kilda – with list spots still available ahead of the 2022 season.
Those clubs can either sign players under SSP rules through until March 9, or leave the spots vacant ahead of this year’s NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.