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Sydney Swans hand ex-Saint Paddy McCartin AFL lifeline

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The Sydney Swans have handed former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin an AFL lifeline, adding the key forward to their list in the pre-season supplementary selection period.

St Kilda’s prized top selection in the 2014 AFL draft, McCartin played just 35 games and booted 34 goals between 2015 and 2018 amid a horror run of debilitating concussions.

After suffering his eighth concussion in the 2019 pre-season, McCartin didn’t play at any level that year and was delisted by the Saints at season’s end to focus on his health. 

Last year McCartin moved to Sydney, where younger brother Tom plays, to contend for a spot on the Swans’ list via their VFL affiliate.

He only played five VFL games amid a coronavirus-disrupted season and a five-game suspension for an off-the-ball punch.

But between his glimpses of VFL form and work as a train-on player through pre-season, McCartin earned a spot on the Swans’ rookie list.

“Paddy has worked extremely hard over the past two years to get himself fit and healthy, and in a position to continue his AFL career,” Swans football boss Charlie Gardiner said. 

“To his credit, he has overcome several challenges and ultimately his strong VFL form last season and commitment to training over the pre-season has enabled him to earn another AFL opportunity.

“At just 25 years of age Paddy still has plenty of footy left to play, and his re-joining the senior list will provide the club with the flexibility of another tall option who can play at either end of the ground.”

McCartin delighted in linking up with younger brother Tom, who has played 70 games for Sydney since 2018.

“It’s extremely exciting. It’s been a unique journey for me to get back to this point,” McCartin said. 

“It’s a path that not many people have taken, but my goal was to always try and get back to the elite level and to be able to do it with the Swans, to do it with Tom, in particular, is something that means a lot and is exciting.”

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