Player Watch #23: Ben McKay -

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ozzyoslo

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It's not about him being ready, it's about guys like Tarrant, Thompson, Wright, MacMillan and McDonald being entrenched in the side.

If he does play it would likely be at the expense of Ed Vickers-Willis, who is also a promising young player that needs development time and who fits the structure of the team better. Playing McKay might also be asking too much of Scott Thompson, who I'm not sure can still handle playing on medium sized forwards.



Would definitely love a horses for courses approach with Pittard, Wright, McKay and Vickers-Willis depending on who the opposition lines up.

Giving McKay 5-10 games this year when he has a clear match up is probably the best way to develop him as well.



The part I'm interested in and that I don't think is being discussed enough is that Maj's place doesn't really exist anymore. While obviously if he was fit we'd find a spot for him, if we're going from seven defenders to six defenders then Daw's role is the most logical to get cut.

If Daw was playing this year then he'd probably be playing forward a lot more against the teams with smaller forward lines, simply because the option for him to play spare doesn't exist anymore. As McKay doesn't have that flexibility (I imagine if we were interested in treating McKay the same way we would have trialed it in the JLT), it's hard to imagine where he would line up against sides that only play one or two tall forwards.
When McKay finds his feet , it wont be at the expense of EVW they'll need time to work together whilst under the watchful support of Taz and gradually a lesser extent Thommo. Its Thommo's last year.....EVW is taking Thommo's spot as the 3rd tall.
 

scooby1279

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I think he plays.
I see Pittard, Wright and EVW fighting for 1 spot in our best 22. I expect through injury they’ll all play in round 1.
EVW is a very important player, prior to his injuries last season he was playing well. Knows how to read the play very well, coming off his man to intercept mark or punch the ball away. He will be best 22
 

Harris 10

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EVW is a very important player, prior to his injuries last season he was playing well. Knows how to read the play very well, coming off his man to intercept mark or punch the ball away. He will be best 22
I agree, I think he could be our 2nd best defender come year end.
 
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When McKay finds his feet , it wont be at the expense of EVW they'll need time to work together whilst under the watchful support of Taz and gradually a lesser extent Thommo. Its Thommo's last year.....EVW is taking Thommo's spot as the 3rd tall.
I understand that they all deserve to play, but with Tarrant, Thompson, McKay and EVW playing you're left with two other defenders on the field. Any side with a quick forward line would embarrass that lineup.

I agree with how you see it longterm, but it does create an interesting scenario for this year if Brad doesn't want to phase out Thompson this early.
 
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Passmore

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EVW is a very important player, prior to his injuries last season he was playing well. Knows how to read the play very well, coming off his man to intercept mark or punch the ball away. He will be best 22
I think he was running 7th in the b&f before his injury. Clearly his form was rated highly.

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DesertRoo

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Yeah Ben aint a 3rd tall and he shouldn't be.

He's 200cm and 100kgs.

He plays at the expense of Taz or Hunter.
I don’t think he’ll be at the expensive of either.
Taz and Benny take any key forwards and Hunter should take Majs role until he returns.
Then Benny will be dropped from the side..
 
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shintemaster

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And he can't replicate Maj either.

Athletically incapable, as is 99.5% of the entire competition.

That isn't a knock on him either, btw.
No but can replicate some of the role IMO. Easily ruck sized enough as 2nd option and his contested marking appears to be a strength. I could see him playing a Hansen style floating role down the track, as a KPD I'm not sure Ben will ever have enough speed at his size to play as the classic full back, KPF's aren't often his size now.
 

Grogg

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I don’t he’ll be at the expensive of either. Taz and Benny take any key forward targets and Hunter should take Majs role until he returns. Then Benny will be dropped from the side..
I hope we aren't locked into this 7 man, free floating, extra tall mentality still.
 

Grogg

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No but can replicate some of the role IMO. Easily ruck sized enough as 2nd option and his contested marking appears to be a strength. I could see him playing a Hansen style floating role down the track, as a KPD I'm not sure Ben will ever have enough speed at his size to play as the classic full back, KPF's aren't often his size now.
Yeah I get all that.

But at what expense?
 

shintemaster

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Yeah I get all that.

But at what expense?
Sure. But I'm not here advocating for him at the expense of anyone else personally. I just see some potential there for him to hold a certain role and I think he's now physically ready for us to start evaluating where he will be at in the medium term - particularly given Tarrant & Thompson in particular are closer to the end than the start of their careers. I've not watched a lot of him at VFL level so can only go on the limited AFL exposure (of which JLT this year hasn't been the best guide given he was thrown in the deep end) but I can't quite shake the feeling that he won't be fast enough for a true lockdown role. Seems suited more as a floating CHB type, ruck relief with utility or as originally intended a power forward. I can still see him ending up in the forward line and given Maj's absence it may be worth using him there (in 2019) even with a full defensive unit. Again he could play 2nd tall / CHF and relieve in the ruck. There are players up forward that aren't untouchable that he could compete with IMO and provide real support to Brown.
 
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How do we see the loose man in defence working with the new 6-6-6 rule?

Would McDonald line up on a wing and then push back at the first stoppage, effectively leaving us too tall for the initial entries? Or would McKay start as a forward and then slowly work his way back, reducing the impact of playing an extra tall defender? There's obvious disadvantages to both, but I don't really see any other way that it's possible.
 

shintemaster

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How do we see the loose man in defence working with the new 6-6-6 rule?

Would McDonald line up on a wing and then push back at the first stoppage, effectively leaving us too tall for the initial entries? Or would McKay start as a forward and then slowly work his way back, reducing the impact of playing an extra tall defender? There's obvious disadvantages to both, but I don't really see any other way that it's possible.
It changes sure but I still think a peel off contested marking defender has a place even if there's more emphasis on being accountable than there might have previously.
 

Snake_Baker

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McKay eager to learn

Mitchell Jones

Mar 15, 2019 5:17PM





Senior opportunities have been at a premium for Ben McKay in his first three seasons at North Melbourne, but 2019 could well be his chance to shine.

With the likes of Scott Thompson, Robbie Tarrant and Majak Daw on the sidelines, the 21-year-old was a key feature in defence during the JLT Series, putting himself right in the mix for Round 1.

McKay says he enjoyed the experience of playing against the opposition’s best forwards during the pre-season, and learnt plenty.

While selection is still very much up in the air, he’s excited to push his case.

“I’ve used the two matches to learn, and it’s been good to have those outings,” he told North Media.

“Hopefully I can come into Round 1 with a bit more game experience under my belt.

“You feel a bit better knowing that you’ve had two weeks on quality opponents, so it’ll be nothing overly new, which will hold me in good stead I reckon.”

Being the lone key defender in opening JLT Series clash against the Saints, and one of just two the following week against Port, McKay lined up on some quality players.

Most would shirk at the opportunity to play on the likes of Paddy Ryder, Justin Westhoff, Josh Bruce and Paddy McCartin, but it’s something the number 23 relishes.

“It’s nice knowing that at the AFL level, you’re always going to go up against a good opponent,” McKay said.

“That’s always a good challenge and nothing’s ever easy, so that’s something that I’ll need to get used to.

“You don’t want to go into games thinking it’s going to be easy, because AFL isn’t.”

While McKay is the first to admit his performances weren’t perfect, he can take a lot of positives out of the pre-season.

He credits newly appointed backline coach Rhyce Shaw for giving him the confidence to play to his full potential.

“One good thing about Shawy is that he’s always positive about things,” McKay said.

“One thing I’ve learnt is that you’re never going to have the perfect game, so you’re always going to have bad moments, but you’re going to have some good ones as well.

“It’s just about knocking those bad moments on the head at training and working hard on those areas of improvement. I suppose how much you care about it depends on how much work you put into it.

“I’m certainly not one of those people to sweep those bads things under the rug, I’m going to do something about it.”

And the 2015 first round draft pick is fortunate enough to be able to test himself against one of the game’s best forwards every day at training, Ben Brown.

“Having people like Browny to challenge myself on is the perfect preparation for the weekend,” McKay added.

“The more you can do at training and the higher intensity you can do it at, the better.”
 
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