MELBOURNE has recruited Greater Western Sydney’s Pat McKenna to the club.
The red and blue gained McKenna and pick No.51 and exchanged picks No.57 and No.59 to the Giants.
The 20-year-old – who has signed on with Melbourne for the 2017-18 seasons – was originally drafted by the Giants at pick No.23 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft from Gisborne.
General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said the club was delighted to gain McKenna after monitoring him closely.
“Pat McKenna is a talented all-round sportsman who captained Australia’s under 19 cricket team, before nominating football as his sport of preference in the lead up to the 2014 NAB AFL Draft,” he said.
“He is a player that our recruiters have been following closely for the past two years. He is a good-decision maker who uses the ball well. His endurance is a strong point of his game and he is a versatile player that can play all parts of the ground.
“He was originally pick 23 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, but has battled some injuries in his transition from cricket, which has limited his football during his first two years at the Giants.
“When considering the amount of work we’ve done tracking Pat over the past two years – and taking into account our current draft position – we feel like this investment is better than what would’ve been available at the backend of this year’s draft. It also allows our first selection in the draft to move forward slightly from pick 57 to 51.
“Pat joins the club on a two-year contract. He is a player who has great talent and we look forward to getting him into our system and developing his craft at the Melbourne Football Club.”
He was considered somewhat of a smoky in his draft year, given he was regarded as one of Australia’s best young cricket talents.
McKenna captained Australia in the 2014 under 19 world cup in Sri Lanka.
He was a left-handed batsman and bowled slow left-arm orthodox.
But after playing impressing for Gisborne Bulldogs – he once kicked 16 goals in the under 18s – he was sounded out by a host of AFL clubs and snapped up by the Giants.
McKenna played 10 NEAFL games in his first season with GWS in 2015, before Achilles and hip injuries ended his year.
He played all but one game in the NEAFL this year and collected 21 disposals in the Western Sydney University Giants’ premiership win over the Sydney Swans.
The 186cm McKenna is a talented, versatile prospect, with his endurance and decision-making features of his game.