Sydney Swans defender Lewis Melican has praised team-mate Tom McCartin for his performances throughout the pre-season and says he is eager to form a strong partnership with him in the backline in 2021. 

The pair only played alongside each other eight times during the 2020 season but have shown promising signs of building a strong combination heading into the upcoming season.

McCartin was drafted to the Swans in 2017 as a tall forward prospect with an outstanding marking ability, but his positive transition down the opposite end of the ground in season 2020 showed the 21-year olds versatility and he has further impressed his teammates in the pre-season. 

“I’ve actually been really enjoying playing with Tom McCartin in the backline,” Melican said on Sydney Swans Podcast Conversations with Cal. 

“He’s just a competitive beast, he hates losing. It's been good to be able to get a pre-season with him and get that partnership stronger between the two of us," Melican said. 

“I thought he was really good last week (in match-sim).” 

Tom McCartin takes a mark

Melican made his debut in 2017 and has notched up 46 games in the red and white, but has had several seasons hampered by injury.

He has crafted his trade by marking some big key forwards including earning a Rising Star nomination after he shut-down St.Kilda great Nick Riewoldt in Round 18 in 2017.

He has had some good practice at Swans training over the years too with the likes of Kurt Tippett and Lance Franklin just two names he recalls having some hard-fought contests against. 

“I still have a scar under my eye from one session. I was just bodying him (Tippett) up and he tried to run past me and lifted an elbow and it split me open pretty quickly. It hasn’t recovered,” he laughed.  

“There was another day out at the SCG, and it was 18 v 18, and the team had a game in two days.  

“I had been told I needed to be more aggressive with my body work. I just got a pretty good spoil and punched it out of Tippett’s hands, and he went to ground. 

“Horse (John Longmire) was yelling at me over the top of everybody – ‘we’ve got a game in two days what is he doing?’,” he said.  

“I thought I might just pull it back a bit for the rest of training and watch myself.”   

The young gun also highlighted a humorous moment with Franklin that saw the superstar forward deliver a cheeky sledge just moments before taking a mark at training.  

“I’ve also had some good ones with Buddy (Franklin). I still remember the day he was just coming back from an injury and he was out in front of me and I was about a step behind him. 

“He just looked at me and said ‘I’ll just take this one bud’. 

“I took a few easy steps and let him get it, and he wielded it onto his left foot.” 

To listen to the full episode of ‘Conversations with Cal’ featuring Lewis Melican click below or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.