McCabe putting best foot forward

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Chris McCabe was one of a number of strong performers in the Northern Blues’ scratch match. (PHOTO CREDIT: Northern Blues Football Club)

A number of youngsters flourished as the Northern Blues negotiated their first scratch match of 2018 on Friday night.

Two sides were put to the test in a solid hit-out, with the red team consisting largely of Northern-listed players while the blue team featured a combination of Blues and West-Preston players.

With spots on the line still available heading into the 2018 campaign, it was the chance for a number of Blues to make an impression.

The experienced heads of Tom Wilson and Glenn Strachan both featured extensively, while other new and returning Blues continued with their positive pre-seasons.

One of those players was Chris McCabe, who recently re-signed with the club on the eve of his fourth season.

“I found the hit-out really positive, it’s always good to finally get out there and play what everyone treated as a proper game,” McCabe said.

“Nothing can really prepare you for match fitness so it’s always good to get it out early, and I thought the everyone did well. Guys like ‘Willo’ and Marcus Stavrou stood out.”

It’s the time of year where players can make a name for themselves and McCabe did just that — in an unfamiliar role.

In his one senior appearance and 36 Development games at the club, McCabe has only kicked three career goals.

You can imagine the 21-year-old’s surprise when he was to line up in the forward line on Friday night.

“The shift forward was a bit of a shock to me… I just took the opportunity and did my best, and the coaches were happy with me to invest time in me as a forward,” McCabe said.

“I definitely enjoyed it! It is a good change up mental and playing as a defender for so long, I think I’ve picked up a few things that I know the defenders don’t like to hopefully give me a bit of an advantage.”

McCabe was one to feature amongst the goals, along with Jordan Johnston — another youngster who has had a strong pre-season after arriving from the GWV Rebels.

Replenished from going on holiday late last year, McCabe was hopeful of adding to his limited VFL experience and believes he’s in the best physical shape heading into the season.

“With the Development League unfortunately gone, the coaches have really been driving that things have really ramped up this year,” McCabe said.

“Pre-season as a team has been really strong: personally, I’m probably the fittest I have been and I’m really excited to see where this year will take the club and myself.

“I’m really hungry to make a stand this year on the back of the hard yards put in this summer and hopefully help drive this club to a finals berth, which is what we’re all aiming for.”