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Paddy McCartin at centre of 'distressing' scenes as AFL fans left saddened

The AFL was left heartbroken for Paddy McCartin, after the Swans defender suffered a serious looking concussion.

Paddy McCartin is pictured being attended to by Sydney Swans trainers.
Paddy McCartin had to be helped from the ground by Sydney Swans trainers after suffering a concussion in the first quarter against Port Adelaide. Pictures: Getty Images/Fox Footy

The AFL world is hoping for the best for Sydney's Paddy McCartin, after the 26-year-old was taken from the ground in 'distressing' scenes after suffering a concussion against Port Adelaide. The former No.1 draft pick was helped from the ground on shaky legs in the first quarter, prompting fears not only for his future in football but also his long term health.

McCartin was picked first overall by St Kilda in 2014, but repeated concussions early in his career ultimately lead to him taking a break from the game after failing to play a game in 2019. He joined the Swans' VFL outfit in 2021, earning a berth in the senior side in 2022 and playing his first match in three years, playing a key role in defence as Sydney surged into the grand final.

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The joys of that season were quickly forgotten after a groggy McCartin needed assistance to come from the field, seemingly after hitting his head on the SCG turf. He'd been chasing a loose ball alongside Port Adelaide's Todd Marshall, crashing into the turf as the pair got tangled up.

Speaking after the game, Swans coach John Longmire said medical staff had skipped giving McCartin a concussion test, instead preferring to remove him from the game immediately and concentrate on his recovery. Longmire didn't divulge much more about his condition, other than that he was up and about in the Swans rooms.

“He is okay, I just spoke to him,” Longmire said in his post-game press conference. “With all due to respect, straight after the game you’d understand that, let’s just take a deep breath.

“We made a decision he didn’t get a test or assessment, we just removed him from the game.”

Fans watching on at home were horrified by the sight of McCartin struggling back to the bench. Many took to social media to wish him the best, with plenty of concern about his long-term future.

Paddy McCartin cops concussion as Tom McCartin also injured

It was a night to forget for the McCartin family, with Tom McCartin copping a concussion of his own in the second quarter. Adding insult to injury, the Swans fell agonisingly short of victory as Ollie Florent's shot on goal for the win as the siren sounded dropped short of the goal line.

Aliir Aliir got the first hand to Florent's last gasp shot, and finished with 16 disposals, including 12 intercepts ,while restricting Lance Franklin to only eight touches and one behind in a pivotal duel. "He likes playing at the SCG," Power coach Ken Hinkley said with a smile.

"He's been fabulous for us, without being too silly. It's always a challenge for players playing against their old club, Aliir has got great friends here, but it's a great opportunity for him to come here and show he likes his new environment."

It was a cruel outcome for Florent who had been outstanding for the Swans with 33 disposals and an earlier goal, while Chad Warner had also led the resistance when the Power first surged either side of halftime.

Port Adelaide players celebrate around teammate Allir Aliir.
Port Adelaide hung on at the death against Sydney thanks to a defensive effort form Aliir Aliir. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/AFL Photos/via Getty Images) (via Getty Images)

Warner finished with 30 touches (19 contested) and two goals, while Luke Parker (22) and Callum Mills (21) were also influential.

Peter Ladhams booted the opening goal and played through the match without major incident after being suspended for a gut punch on Ollie Wines the first time he faced his former side last year.

Both teams head to South Australia next for the inaugural Gather Round with Sydney facing Richmond on Friday night, while Port Adelaide host Western Bulldogs on Saturday night.

With AAP

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