As he prepares for this year, McCarthy says spending a pre-season worrying about his form and not his fitness has been a revelation.
“That’s what’s really exciting,” he told AAP.
“I’m not really worried about when’s my body going to break down or is this soreness going to lead into something? I’m purely just thinking about how we can get better as a team and as a forward line.
“Obviously we’ve got some dangerous players down there and it’s just about making that work as best as I can rather than thinking about my body … it’s just good to be able to put my focus into that which has been enjoyable.”
The biggest question mark for McCarthy and his teammates before the season opener against Hawthorn at the MCG on March 22 is proving last year was no flash in the pan.
McCarthy is confident the change of attitude he’s embraced since leaving Geelong will hold him in good stead for the months ahead.
“I definitely had to change my approach. Coming from Geelong I obviously had some negative experiences, I sort of just had to reset my mind a little bit and put some trust into the professionals and our resources,” he said.
“I probably used to come out from missing a few weeks and go at it like a bull at a gate but now I’m sort of working out it’s not really sustainable.
“If you’re a little sore you don’t have to try and be the best trainer on the day.
“To get through a full year was pleasing … I feel pretty fit and I’m just excited to attack the year.”