Cameron McCarthy (South Fremantle)
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Position: Key forward
Strengths: Jumping, marking, pressure on ball carrier
Weaknesses: Injury history, set shot kicking technique
Player comparison: John Butcher
Tom Boyd is clearly the best key forward in the draft this year but the question on many people’s lips was, “Who is the next best after Boyd?” After a series of exceptional performances in the Champs Cam McCarthy answered that question and put himself into first round contention.
Before a sickening lower leg injury put an premature end to his season, McCarthy was absolutely flying. He had kicked 20 goals in eight games for WAFL club South Fremantle and had 12 in five games of the Champs. He is a guy who will kick goals in bunches and is a confidence player so if he gets an early goal he will be set for the day and kick a bag.
The best feature of McCarthy’s game is his marking. He has an excellent set of hands and takes the ball at its highest point almost every time. He has a great vertical leap and loves to fly at the footy. He uses his leap of advantage and he takes a lot of marks flying over defenders, or taking them with his arms outstretched when others will have given up. He reads the play well and never takes his eyes off the ball, which is surprising considering the long mop of blonde hair he has.
Technically his goal kicking action is poor and is something he will need to work on to avoid a Lindsay Thomas-like situation where he has a deficiency that is repeatedly exposed leading to a lot of behinds being kicked. On paper his kicking looks good but in actual fact he is awkward and seems rather lucky to have such reasonable accuracy. Forwards need to convert at AFL level and he won’t get as many opportunities at AFL level so he needs to take advantage of his chances when they are presented to him.
McCarthy seems to really like the defensive part of the game, often chasing and harassing opponents around the forward 50. He took responsibility for his man at the Champs, and when the opposition had the ball he was quick to chase or man up. This sort of pressure is certainly an asset for a team because he is quite athletic and quick for a big man and most big men don’t chase, and they certainly don’t put in the multiple efforts that McCarthy does. I’m not suggesting that McCarthy is at a Paul Puopolo standard when it comes to forward pressure but he certainly isn’t one to stand in the goalsquare and wait for the ball to come back again.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft McCarthy was taken by the Western Bulldogs. Despite their earlier selection of Tom Boyd, the Bulldogs could certainly use a forward like McCarthy as he would be the perfect foil for the powerful Eastern forward. His athleticism and x-factor will complement the contested marking and power of Boyd and he will allow Liam Jones to play as a third tall and not take the best defender each week.