At the halfway point of the season, who is the most improved player in the competition?
Kane Cornes has nominated Carlton key forward Harry McKay, who currently leads the Coleman Medal.
McKay has always shown the ability to be a dominant key forward, but was held back by injuries across his first four seasons.
The former top 10 pick has put all the pieces together in 2021 and has done so despite Carlton missing almost its entire starting forward line for most of the year – Charlie Curnow, Mitch McGovern, Jack Martin, Zac Fisher and Jack Silvagni have all had injury issues.
“Harry McKay is the most improved player in the competition and I’ll tell you why. He kicked 21 goals from 13 goals in 2020 and took 22 contested marks,” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.
“It’s his fifth year on an AFL list, he’s 23, to do what he has done this year in a poor side – Carlton has won four games – he’s kicked 38.22, that is 60 shots on goal.
“He’s done it in a side that has won four games and moved the ball about as poorly as any side in terms of their efficiency going inside 50.
“He’s taken 29 contested marks. That’s seven more than what he took for the entire season last year.
“I think this guy can be anything. The only blight on his game is goal kicking. He looks a different player to what he did last year.
“If you’re talking about most improved, he has been the most improved player in the competition.”
SEN SA Breakfast co-host Andrew Hayes agreed, but tossed up a few other names.
“Harry McKay has shown extreme potential for quite a while. If they picked an All-Australian side as it stands, he is in,” Hayes said.
“Karl Amon. Who was good last year, but has taken it up a level. He’d be in the All-Australian squad potentially.
“And the other one is Ben Keays. He might be the biggest improver.
“Ben Keays went from a bloke getting another chance at AFL level, to getting a game for the Crows to right now, is he winning their best and fairest?”