Carlton star Jacob Weitering believes Harry McKay could be the team’s breakout player in 2021.
The key forward kicked 21 goals from 13 games in 2020 and finished the year strong, with nine goals in the last three games.
The 23-year-old has shown glimpses of becoming a star key forward of the future, but has been hampered by niggling injuries, particularly over pre-seasons, and accuracy issues in front of goal.
Weitering says McKay has had a clean run at it over summer so far and could be in line for a big 2021.
“Harry McKay has had a great off-season. He’s looking very strong, fast and mean,” Weitering told SEN Mornings.
“Harry had quite a good year last year, he was getting a lot of the ball, and he’d admit himself that he probably wasn’t as accurate as he’d like, but he’s added more strings to his bow.
“He’s very strong now in the upper body, but still maintains his quickness and it’s going to be very exciting come Round 1.
“I’m just hoping that Liam Jones and I when we’re playing on him in pre-season, that he starts to really monster us because that sends a sign to us and the league that he’s going to play some really good football.”
Up the other end of the ground, Carlton will be bolstered by the returns of Caleb Marchbank and Nic Newman to their backline from injury, coupled with the addition of Adam Saad from Essendon.
Throwing these three into the mix, coupled with Sam Petrevski-Seton’s move to the backline last year and Tom Williamson’s breakout across half back and the Blues will have some selection headaches this year.
Weitering is excited about the competitive culture that will be driven by the additional depth.
“I guess it’s a really good conversation to have. In the past in my first couple of years we probably didn’t have that same depth and competition for spots for guys like Newman who were in our best 22, now he’s got to come back and work hard which he does and work his way back into the side,” he said.
“Caleb Marchbank is the same, Tom Williamson, Sam Petrevski-Seton, so we do have some depth down there which is great and provides competition and drives guys to be better.”
Carlton currently has three players training with them over summer fighting for their final list spot in delisted Melbourne defender Oscar McDonald, undrafted midfielder Zavier Maher and Callum Moore, who the Blues delisted following the 2020 season.
“It’s good for those guys to come in and challenge us as players and see if they can get a list spot,” Weitering said.
Carlton takes on Port Adelaide and Brisbane in the pre-season, gearing up for the traditional season opener against Richmond.