AFL

St Kilda a finals chance despite losing Jake Carlisle: Paddy McCartin

Losing former Essendon player Jake Carlisle to a season-long Court of Arbitration for Sport suspension has been a blow to the St Kilda players' morale, but young forward Paddy McCartin maintains that the Saints are still a chance to play finals in 2016.

This month, 34 past and present Essendon players copped a lengthy ban from football for that club's controversial supplements program in 2012.

St Kilda footballer Paddy McCartin plays a game of pop-up table tennis against Saints fan Oliver Diano at St Kilda beach.
St Kilda footballer Paddy McCartin plays a game of pop-up table tennis against Saints fan Oliver Diano at St Kilda beach. Photo: Chris Hopkins

Carlisle had been with Essendon at the time, but was traded to St Kilda at the end of last year, in one of the biggest deals of the trade period.

McCartin said St Kilda players had all texted their new teammate messages of support when they heard of his ban.

Paddy McCartin of the Saints.
Paddy McCartin of the Saints. Photo: Getty Images

It was difficult news for the Saints and the whole AFL community, he said on Tuesday.

"To see all those blokes hit with that, it was a pretty big punishment," he said.

Asked whether it would be possible for the Saints to play finals this year, McCartin said he would like to think so.

"Every team goes into the season wanting to make finals," he said.

He had been working on building a solid fitness base.

"You're in the gym a fair bit, so you lose a bit of puppy fat and replace it with muscle," he said.

The now 19-year-old was the No. 1 draft pick at the end of 2014, when St Kilda finished last on the ladder.

Originally from the Geelong Falcons, McCartin played six games and kicked three goals last year and days ago re-signed with the Saints until the end of 2018.

His decision to stay at St Kilda had been a "no-brainer," he said.

"The club looked after me a lot last year and showed a lot of faith in me, so I'm really looking to the next couple of years," he said.

Carlisle, 24, went to St Kilda as part of a three-way trade with Essendon and Sydney which saw the Bombers take the Saints' number five draft pick.

Just hours after the deal was signed, footage surfaced of Carlisle appearing to snort a white powder, which the player himself had shared using the smartphone application Snapchat.

​Others on the St Kilda list were understood to be furious, but McCartin said since then the players had noted Carlisle working hard at training.

"He's a Saints player now, so we're all really behind him and really hoping he can get himself through a really tough year," he said.