A DESIRE to cement his spot in the Geelong Falcons’ team has earned Colac footballer Ben McCarthy the attention of AFL recruiters.
McCarthy, 17, was one of 123 footballers to receive an invitation this week to train in front of AFL clubs at a state screening later this year.
The former Alvie footballer has had a breakout season in his second year with the Falcons in the TAC Cup, largely due to a shift into defence.
McCarthy had limited opportunities with the club last season, which he said inspired him to take his game to the next level this year.
He is now on track to follow his cousins Joffy and Tom Simpkin into a career in the AFL.
“I played three games with the Falcons last year, I was the 23rd man which means you only get half a game or so, but it helped me get a feel for the speed of TAC Cup football,” McCarthy said.
“Over the off-season I was working pretty hard to try and get a game in the first round and after that I just wanted to hold my spot in the side,” he said.
McCarthy, the son of Colac’s Damian and Carolyn McCarthy, started the season on the wing but it wasn’t until the fourth game that the hard-running utility found his niche running off the half-backline.
McCarthy racked up 28 touches in a best-on-ground performance in his first game in defence.
He has been in the Falcons’ best players four times in the past six weeks, earning him a state combine invitation.
“I’ve just been enjoying playing with the Falcons, I’m learning new things all the time, and improving all the time,” McCarthy said.
“But I’ve still a lot of improvement to go,” he said.
“I got told I was invited to the combine at Falcons training last week, I was a little bit surprised but obviously excited about the opportunity.”
Players needed at least two nominations from clubs to attend the state screenings, which will be after the national NAB AFL Draft Combine.
Last week 76 players, including McCarthy’s Falcons teammate and Winchelsea footballer Darcy Parish, received invitations to the national four-day combine.