Confident McCartin wants to stay a Saint

St Kilda's key forward Paddy McCartin wants to repay the faith the club has shown in him - since picking him at No.1 in the 2014 national draft - and extend his contract beyond 2018.

Having set a personal best in the time trial on the opening day of pre-season on Wednesday, he travelled to a training camp in Yea with the Saints full of hope his career will gather some momentum in 2018.

McCartin has had four concussions in his three seasons at the Saints and was forced to sit out the end of 2017 after suffering one in a VFL game mid-season.

He has not played a senior AFL game since round 12, 2017 and has kicked 22 goals in 22 games over his short career.

Despite the setbacks the 21-year-old is pragmatic about the past and confident in the future, having shown he has a strong set of hands and a physical presence around the ball.

And he is not fazed by outside external concerns around concussions, aware he is getting good advice from the experts.

"I had to have a lot of consultations with specialists and it is tough, but it is a tough industry and tough stuff happens to lots of people, so cop it on the chin and move on," McCartin said.

"I'm feeling really confident and so are the doctors and everyone I have spoken to that I am going to be fine and I'm really looking forward to next year."

With Saints' champion Nick Riewoldt retiring, the responsibility falls to the inexperienced but talented McCartin to join forces with other key talls Josh Bruce and Tim Membrey.

McCartin is aiming to play his role rather than filling the huge hole Riewoldt leaves. He quashed any sense that concussion was going to be an ongoing problem.

"It's not like I'm more prone to them or anything. I have just put my head in the wrong spot a couple of times and copped my whack," he said.

He said he would work to improve his technical skills but his mental approach to the game had not been affected at all.

Although McCartin is leaving contract negotiations to his management, he wants to be at the Saints for a long time.

"I absolutely love the footy club," he said.

"The club has invested a lot in me and I feel like they have looked after me really well with the stuff that has happened with my head.

"As long as it gets done, it's all good."

This story Confident McCartin wants to stay a Saint first appeared on The Age.