Essendon is set to unleash young gun Andy McGrath through the midfield in 2018 as it looks to make the most of a stellar off-season.
The Bombers traded for Jake Stringer, Adam Saad and Devon Smith, with Saad training on Monday as the first-to-fourth year players sweated it out on a warm November day at Tullamarine.
With the former Sun set to be deployed across half-back, McGrath will be allowed to be released as an onballer.
“I played the last four or so games in the midfield last year, so I assume I’ll move into the midfield development group and divisional group,” McGrath told reporters.
“I’ll do a lot of my craft and skill work with the mids and whether I play there round one, I’m not really sure yet, but we’ll see.”
The 2016 No.1 draft pick thrived in his first season at the elite level, lining up in 21 games on his way to winning the NAB AFL Rising Star.
McGrath spent most of his time in defence but his hardness and exceptional speed would be useful traits in the midfield.
The 19-year-old was excited about Saad’s arrival.
“Saady looked great on the track today. It’s great having him run next to me, just feeding the handball off to him and letting him go,” McGrath said.
McGrath is contracted until the end of 2018 and does not expect too many problems in extending his stay with the Bombers.
“It’s something that I’m not really thinking about to be honest. It’s the first I’ve thought of it in a while,” McGrath said.
“I have full trust in (list manager) Adrian (Dodoro) and my manager to get that deal done and I’m sure I’ll be here for a long time to come.”
Source: Essendon FC’s website