Clayton McCartney (Dandenong Stingrays)
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Position: Small Forward
Player comparison: Josh Hill
Strengths: Goal sense, X-factor, Speed
Clayton McCartney is your typical goal sneak who has some serious X-factor and always threatens to tear games open on a regular basis but his consistency stops him from doing so. A member of the Vic Country squad, McCartney played against Northern Territory in Darwin and booted six goals before coming back to play for the Stingrays against the Cannons and was held goalless.
While McCartney has the ability to kick bags of goals, a perfect example of his consistency is the fact he has kicked 14 goals nine games but those 14 goals have come in just four games. Bags of five and four against the Murray Bushrangers and Eastern Ranges respectively yet just seven disposals against Calder and eight disposals against Bendigo.
Despite his form being somewhat inconsistent, McCartney has really worked on his defensive game in the second half of the season, recording more tackles than ever before. In his first five games he had just a total of eight tackles. His last four games have yielded a total of 21 with nine tackles coming against the North Ballarat Rebels. Dandenong has made sure McCartney can spend some time in the midfield so recruiters can see whether he can regularly find the ball and use it through the middle.
McCartney does have the pace to break the lines and and become a dangerous prospect around the ground and potentially off half back. His skills are reasonably good and the fact he can make good decisions will see many clubs interested in the small forward. At the start of the year, McCartney was rated as a top 30 pick but has more than likely drifted after a quiet Championships against the division one teams. If he can finish off the TAC Cup season and finals in style, McCartney could shoot up the order and be taken earlier than expected.
Around the clearances, McCartney is likely to be the dangerous player waiting for the outside handball receive so he can run and carry down the wing to deliver to a forward inside 50. He’s also more likely to kick than handball and isn’t afraid to back himself and take a running shot at goal. While playing for Dandenong he is one of many forward options and loves crumbing around the packs. Given his goal sense and X-factor, McCartney is always one to watch for opposition clubs.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, McCartney was selected by Adelaide in the third round which will be its first selection in the draft after losing the first two picks after the Tippett saga last year. With Walker coming back from a long term injury and other forwards such as Jason Porplyzia aging, McCartney would offer some much needed X-factor in a forward line that has of late, lacked punch. While his consistency might be a concern, the Crows would like the look of McCartney to give them a quality crumber with the majority of their small forwards lead up players.
Clayton McCartney or “Clay Mac” is a player filled with potential and X-factor. If he can start putting out regular four quarter performances, he will no doubt become a very solid player. He is potentially a higher ‘B grade’ player who can become a regular in an AFL club should he be given the chance.