“Quietly confident” midfielder Connor MacDonald on his AFL Draft preparations and impressive 2021 season

on 15 November 2021
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With no footy being played in 2020, AFL draft prospect Connor MacDonald put his head down and got to work preparing for the future.

Working alongside his father, MacDonald spent last year working on his touch work and running ability to ensure he was ready for a big 2021 season.

“[This year] I really wanted to come out of the blocks blazing.” MacDonald explained.

“I think I did that early on and put my name out there, which was really good.”

Although this year didn’t provide a full season of football, the talented midfielder – who split his 2021 season playing for the Dandenong Stingrays and captaining his school team at Haileybury – described what we didn’t get to see from him this year.

“I probably played a lot more midfield time and didn’t get to spend as much time down forward with the limited games this year.” MacDonald said.

“There were a few instances where me and Juddy [Stingrays teammate Judson] Clarke would play a switch role from the midfield to down forward. It’s definitely a good rotation. I like getting into the game and getting my hands on it around the contest and then going down to hit the scoreboard.

“I definitely think that’s an aspect that I’ve added to my game this year, just that ability to hit the scoreboard.”

MacDonald proved that ability this year, kicking 5 goals in Haileybury’s 77-point win against Wesley College in the opening round of the APS season.

While he didn’t get to spend as much time forward as he’d like, MacDonald continued to shine in the midfield, where in Haileybury’s round 7 match against St. Kevin’s College he notched an impressive 46 possessions and two goals to help secure a 30-point win for his team.

“Definitely one of my best games individually that I’ve played.” He smiled.

“I really enjoyed that day.”

Playing just four games for the Stingrays this season, MacDonald was still able to average 30 possessions. In his first game for the club against Eastern Ranges this year he was able to rack up 37 disposals – including 21 contested and 9 clearances – which proved why the ball magnet was deserving to rank top three in the club’s best and fairest this year.

Modelling his game after St. Kilda’s Jack Steele, MacDonald believes his mix of contested and uncontested possessions is key to his game, both in the midfield and down forward.

“I really like how [Jack Steele] can go and get his own contested footy but then can also be damaging on the outside. That’s where I really look to take my game to the next level.” MacDonald explained.

“I definitely think I have that good inside/outside mix, where I can win my own footy around the contest and go down forward and get some uncontested footy and hit the scoreboard as well.”

The 2021 AFL Draft will commence on Wednesday November 24th.

By Jazz Bennett, 14/11/21