- December 30, 1999
DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Tom McCartin is the brother of St Kilda's Paddy and while both play as key forwards, Tom is a more agile player with a huge endurance base. His consistency and goal kicking let him down, but glimpses of highlights throughout the year show he is on the right path."
Tom McCartin is an athletic forward who has an unusually high tank which allows him to cover plenty of ground and work over his opponents. Much like his brother Paddy, Tom is strong in the air, but is more agile. At ground level he is quite clean for a tall and he moves well with ball in hand. The reason he is not being talked about in the same heights that his brother – a number one pick – went is because his consistency is not quite there, and his goal kicking, emphasised by his 9.18 from 11 games, is very hit and miss with a lot more miss. There is certainly talent there to work with athletically, it is just fine tuning parts of his game to become a more dominant key forward.
- Contested marking
- Clean at ground level
McCartin ranked fourth in average contested marks for the TAC Cup season of those players invited to the National Combine. At 1.6 per game, McCartin knows how to clunk a grab and does not mind the body contact in a marking contest. What makes him interesting is if he does bring it to ground, he is surprisingly nimble for a player of his build. From most of the games I saw of him, he was pretty clean below his knees and could shoot out a handball to a nearby teammate. If he picked it up himself, he had the agility to sidestep an opponent and deliver forward. This agility was emphasised at the National Combine where he recorded 8.36 seconds, a result that put him in the top 20.
If there was one aspect of McCartin’s game to highlight, it is certainly his endurance. We’ve seen in the past the likes of Nick Riewoldt and Travis Cloke who can just wear their opponents down through their constant hard running and multiple leads. McCartin seems capable of doing just that, with a yo-yo test score of 21.5 – ranked elite for the draft crop – and a 2km time of six minutes, 35 seconds, which while not quite elite, speaks more about speed with most players ahead of him smaller types with good burst speed and endurance.
- Goal kicking
McCartin has two areas in which he can improve to go to the next level. The first is pretty major – his goal kicking. As a key forward you are there to kick goals and while we have seen the evolution of forwards change to play defensive roles and take out rebounding defenders, it is an area that McCartin will need to continue to work on. A plus for McCartin is he average a score assist per game, so even though he booted just four goals in his last 11 games of the season, he was contributing to the scoreboard. Nonetheless, no doubt Tom will have goal kicking at the top of his improvements going forward.
The second area in which he can improve is his consistency. This is no surprise for a young key forward as we have seen plenty of taller players develop later and McCartin seems to be no different. He works himself into games through his endurance, but there are times where he will look like a star for a quarter and then fade away. Case in point, the preliminary final against Dandenong Stingrays. In the first quarter, McCartin was dominant up forward taking multiple marks and having shots on goal and inside 50s like he was ready for a big one. But after quarter time he was hardly cited, popping up occasionally, but just not in the same vein as the first quarter. So consistency is an area McCartin can continue to develop, but he is hardly alone in that fact.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Late-rookie
Tom McCartin is an interesting key forward. Clubs will no doubt view him as a long-term prospect because while he has the athleticism and endurance to be a threat up forward, it is his consistency and finishing which lets him down. For mine, McCartin seems like the perfect prospect for a club to draft and just spend a season or two working on his technique and confidence in the state leagues before unleashing him in the AFL. McCartin was always in that late-to-rookie stage of the draft, but key forwards can often land earlier than expected if someone pulls the trigger. He has improvements to make, but there’s something there to work with for coaches.
NAB League Boys
Under 18s Championships