Essendon recruit Ben McKay has unwittingly taken a swipe at former club North Melbourne.
The key defender arrived at the Bombers during the trade period on a monster six-year deal worth over $800,000 a year.
It’s also heavily front-ended, meaning he will be among the AFL’s highest-earners in 2024 on over $1.2 million.
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McKay spent eight years at North Melbourne, winning just eight times from his 71 games.
Speaking for the first time since his move to Essendon, the 25-year-old hinted that he wasn’t under pressure at the Kangaroos despite loving his time at the club.
Ben McKay is under pressure to perform at his new club. Credit: 7NEWS
“The expectation is a privilege,” he said.
“I think, coming from North where we were a young group and didn’t have too much success, and we were on a different journey.
“It’s exciting to be part of a team that has some pressure on it.”
McKay knows he will be under pressure to perform given the size of his contract.
The Bombers are also under extreme pressure, having not won a final since 2004 – the longest drought in the league (aside from Gold Coast, who have never played a final).
They completed a busy trade period with the signings of Jade Gresham, Xavier Duursma and Todd Goldstein.
“Essendon are right there, I think they’re right around the corner from having success,” McKay said.
Despite dealing with multiple injuries throughout his career, McKay is confident his best footy is ahead of him.
“I can understand the six-year deal comes into it, the body’s gotta hold up, but I’m only 25,” he said.
“My best footy’s well and truly ahead of me.
“My contract, the money side, is between myself, my manager and family. The main reason why I came to Essendon wasn’t the money thing.
“But I think it’s a part of the industry that these things come out a little bit.”
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