WHEN it’s all said and done, Harry McKay just can’t wait to be back out there playing footy once again.

Speaking to SEN the day before Carlton’s first hitout against external opposition, McKay spoke for himself and the entire playing group when mentioning that excitement levels were sky high with the home-and-away season now right around the corner.

The Blues’ two IKON Park practice matches will allow them to blow out any cobwebs with all eyes on the Opening Round trip to the Gabba, with McKay saying the natural anticipation for the season to come had only been enhanced by some recent club announcements in the last few weeks.

That will reach a whole new level when the team hosts Geelong on Royal Parade this Thursday.


“I’m definitely playing! The boys are keen for a hitout: we know it’s going to be warm, but we’ve had some warm sessions throughout the summer. We’re more just looking forward to having a run around against people that aren’t our teammates,” McKay said.

“The Club is in a really good spot. Stability is crucial at a footy, and we’re really lucky to have some awesome people in key roles: to have [Michael Voss and Brian Cook] signed away for the longer term is fantastic for the Club.

“It’s a really cool place to be at the moment and the vibes are high. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do in 2024.”

Vibes were just as high at the Auskick launch where McKay was speaking from, in yet another instalment of a member of this modern-day Carlton playing group looking to give back to the next generation.

Such a crucial part of Michael Voss’ message to the playing group last year, McKay said the chance to connect with a new wave of young footballers was just the type of motivation he needed to keep things level and look at the broader picture, referencing the year both he and the team had in 2023.

“Footy’s a big part of your life, and when it’s not going the way you want, it definitely takes a toll,” he said.

“I was pretty big that no matter what’s happening on the field, you still want to be a good person. We’re playing footy — that’s not to say it didn’t take its toll . . . but I’m definitely enjoying the summer with a smile on the face.

“Being here with the kids today, it puts things in perspective. I always remember it was such a thrill when an AFL player came to a school clinic or Auskick clinic.

“You always try and remember thaT: the impact you can have on the younger generation when you get to see them. It’s pretty cool.”