SEVEN more years of Harry McKay in the Navy Blue guernsey.
That is the commitment the 24-year-old made today when he joined his teammates in signing a contract extension to remain at IKON Park until at least the end of 2030.
McKay’s signature follows Charlie Curnow (six years) and Sam Walsh (four years) who have this year pledged long-term commitments to remain at the Blues for an extended period, while captain Patrick Cripps penned his own six-year extension a year ago.
Like Curnow, his fellow Coleman Medal-winning teammate, McKay had another 12 months to run on his existing deal that would have taken him to free agency status.
Instead, the Carlton faithful can now enjoy the sight of an electric McKay-Curnow forward duo for many years to come.
Taken as an underage selection at pick No.10 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, McKay has steadily grown and developed, off the back of sheer hard work, to now hold a place among the competition’s elite forwards.
That is evidenced by the fact the 204cm key forward has produced 103 goals from 38 games in his last two seasons.
However, while much of the focus centres around McKay’s influence in front of goal, it is his progression as a leader that has gone seemingly unnoticed by those outside of IKON Park
Almost always the last to leave the training track, the consummate professional works tirelessly on his craft. It is that appetite for hard work and to be among the game’s elite that not only propelled him to the Coleman Medal in 2021, but ensured he backed it up this year with another consistent season of elite quality.
“It is a dream job playing footy but to do it with this group, where a lot of us have grown up together in a way, it makes this a unique and special environment to be part of,” McKay said.
“To come to work every day as part of a group that has a clear vision of where we want to take our football club, that gives you every motivation you need as a player.
“Add to that the support we have from everyone at the Club, as well as the most passionate supporter base in the country – to play for the Carlton Football Club really is something special.
“All those reasons make it obvious why I wanted to commit long term, now the focus is putting ourselves in a position at the end of each season to make a real impact.”
Carlton Head of List Management Nick Austin highlighted the significance of McKay’s commitment and how it aligns with the Club's long-term list management strategy.
“We approached this year with a key focus on retention. To have Harry now sign for seven years, off the back of Charlie and Sam Walsh, each commitment has been made in a way that aligns with our list management strategy, which is really important for the long-term planning for our football club,” Austin said.
“We speak a lot about driving standards and creating an elite environment and Harry has been central to that.
“Beyond his obvious hunger to improve as an individual, his desire to improve himself as a leader and help his teammates take that next step has really seen Harry elevate himself to a new level at the football club over the last 18 months.
“To know that until at least 2030 our members and supporters can enjoy the sight of Harry McKay in full flight, leading out of the forward line, surrounded by that electric atmosphere only the Carlton faithful can generate – that should make every Carlton person extremely excited for what lies ahead.”