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Conor McKenna

#26   Brisbane Lions
Age: 28yr 3mth    Games: 116     Born: March 28, 1996     Origin: Eglish, Tyrone
Height: 184cm     Weight: 88kg     Position: Defender
First Drafted: Round 4, Pick #62 2014 Rookie Draft by Essendon Bombers
Last Drafted: 2023 SSP Recruit
Supercoach Price: $303,500   Supercoach Profile
AFL Fantasy Price: $568,000   AFL Fantasy Profile
Contract Status: Out of contract at the end of 2025   AFL Player Contracts
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Conor McKenna Biography

Tuesday, 19 September 2023
Conor McKenna signs a two-year extension to remain at Brisbane after an impressive return to the AFL in 2023.
Monday, 29 August 2022
Irish media reports Connor McKenna has informed his Gaelic county Tyrone that he plans to head back to Australia to pursue an AFL career again in 2023.

Geelong assistant coach James Kelly's link to Conor McKenna during his time at Essendon could be a factor in his return, while Brisbane and Port Adelaide have also been reported to be interested.

Saturday, 7 November 2020
Conor McKenna hasn't closed the door on a AFL return one day, and he's clear on the most appealing route.

"There's a thing in the AFL where you can get a mid-season draft, so you can actually get drafted in June and go out from June until September. It's only really a two or three-month thing," McKenna said.

"If the (Gaelic football) club was out of the championship and there was a possibility of going over for two or three months, it's not something I'd close the door on."

Friday, 31 July 2020
Conor McKenna has mesmerized, or bemused, crowds by kicking the ball to himself during dashes through the center.

His penchant for is attributed to his experience in the Gaelic competition where players are permitted to take unlimited bounces and 'toe taps' (what they call a solo or player kicking the ball to themselves) but have to bounce or toe tap the ball every four steps. However, they are not permitted to take two consecutive bounces without having a toe tap in between.

A "toe tap", however, does not count as a bounce in Australian Rules football where the rule states: "For the purposes of this law, a player shall be deemed to be in possession of the football during the period when the player handballs the football to themselves and regains possession without the football touching the ground." The rule also applies to a player kicking the ball to himself.

Monday, 13 July 2020
Luke McDonald apologises to Conor McKenna for a COVID-19 sledge during North Melbourne's clash against Essendon.

McDonald pretended to cover his face like a mask in the direction of McKenna in the midst of a quarter-time scuffle during their encounter at Metricon Stadium, appearing to mock the Irish defender for his positive COVID-19 test result last month.

"It wasn't necessary. It's a bad look and considering all of the things that are going on around the world at the moment, and even more specifically in Melbourne, we just don't accept that type of behaviour. Luke apologised for that and understands what that looks like," Kangaroos coach Heath Shaw said.

Sunday, 12 July 2020
Conor McKenna will have surgery on a fractured finger suffered in Essendon's win over North Melbourne.
Monday, 29 June 2020
Conor McKenna is found to have breached the AFL's COVID-19 protocols by visiting his former host family in the lead-up to Essendon's match with Melbourne, but is deemed to have already served a one-match ban after self-isolating following a positivie COVID-19 result.
Tuesday, 23 June 2020
James Stewart will be quarantined for 14 days after being identified as a "close contact" of Conor McKenna who tested positive for COVID-19.

Every other Essendon player has been cleared to play this week.

In a strange twist, Conor McKenna's latest sample returns a negative test result for COVID-19 despite testing positive only days before.

James Stewart, McKenna's wrestling partner in training drills, had found himself being told to self-isolate for 14 days as part of McKenna's positive result, perplexing Stewart's manager Peter Jess.

"What I'm struggling with is if the science tells us that the guy is a negative and that somehow he's recovered in 48 hours of being positive of the virus that this is some feat," Jess said.

"James has tested negative, negative, negative right through the testing regime."

Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton, however, explained that McKenna's test was to be treated as a "confirmed positive".

"There are lots of people who test positive one day, they're at the very tail-end of their infection and then they test negative the following day. If you get two negative tests 24 hours apart, you as a case are clear," he said.

"But your close contacts, [from] when you are potentially infectious, they have to go through their 14-day quarantine period. That will apply to Conor McKenna's contacts."

Saturday, 20 June 2020
Conor McKenna tests positive for COVID-19, causing the AFL to postpone Essendon's round 3 match against Melbourne.

McKenna returned from Ireland last month and self-isolated for two weeks as per national protocols.

He then returned to the Bombers for full training, was named to play his first game of 2020 on Sunday and was with teammates as recently as Friday morning.

Importantly, McKenna did not train on Saturday morning and displayed no symptoms that he might have the coronavirus.

He had tested negative five times, including as recently as Wednesday, before returning a low-level reading on Friday that was originally classified as an irregularity.

A subsequent test on Saturday morning returned a positive reading by the afternoon for COVID-19.

Saturday, 16 May 2020
Conor McKenna flies back to Melbourne for what could be his last season in the AFL and facing a complicated race to be ready for round two when the AFL's 2020 season restarts on June 11.

McKenna has to enter a strict 14-day quarantine period like other overseas travellers and will not be able to train with the Bombers until at least May 30.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020
Conor McKenna and his Bombers teammates Ross McQuillan and Cian McBride, as well as Magpies duo Anton Tohill and Mark Keane, and Giants youngster Callum Brown, are among a handful of players who have either returned to Ireland or are expected to imminently as the COVID-19 crisis continues to accelerate worldwide.
Sunday, 1 March 2020
Conor McKenna will return to training with the Bombers this week after a trip home to Ireland to visit family.

"I want to thank the club for the continuous support they show both myself and my family," McKenna said in a club statement.

"I'm looking forward to returning to training in the coming days."

Tuesday, 11 February 2020
The Bombers play Conor McKenna as a forward during practice matches, with the greater aim of striking a better balance between attack and defence.

"He looks pretty good (as a forward), because he's explosive, he can turn and go both sides of his body, and he's a little bit unpredictable for us, which sometimes makes it challenging for the opposition," Bombers coach John Worsfold said of McKenna.

"When I first got to the club, we were looking at him forward and he was struggling to read the game and get involved, so we put him back and we saw him develop a lot more quickly.

"So where he's at now, potentially he'll know the game well enough to impact as a forward, but it also gives us great flexibility."

Conor McKenna, who continues to battle homesickness, flies to Ireland for the third time in recent months for family reasons.

Club officials are supportive of the 23-year-old's situation, and they expect him to return in time to play in the Bombers' opening Marsh Community Series match against West Coast on February 27.

Friday, 22 November 2019
Conor McKenna is prepared for the consequences of playing in a Gaelic football game without Essendon's permission, but says he has no regrets about his decision to do so.

"You feel like you owe (your Gaelic football club) and I do owe them everything for what they have done for me," McKenna told the Irish Independent.

"I came home before and sat there and watched them and it's a very hard thing to do, so I came home and they had a relegation battle and I decided to play.

"You grew up playing with these people – you have cousins and brothers playing – so it's a family and community-based thing. To play for them for 18 years and then to go home and completely shut off, it's difficult."

Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Essendon coach John Worsfold says Conor McKenna took a big risk by playing Gaelic football in Ireland.

Bombers defender McKenna played for his local club Eglish in Ireland on Sunday morning (Melbourne time), scoring a second-half goal to help Eglish win their relegation playoff game.

"We certainly didn't send him back there to play football," Worsfold told SEN radio station.

"I was really disappointed when I heard that. We know he's passionate about his Gaelic footy. He's an energetic young man, his personality is so up and about.

"It puts them (Irish AFL players who play GAA) at risk of an injury, of doing something that's outside their contract. In effect, it puts them at high risk of costing themselves a contract or a lot of money."

Thursday, 22 August 2019
Conor McKenna says he's grateful to the Bombers for allowing him to return to Ireland mid-season for his brother's wedding.

"I was very happy to be home for a week. I still struggle a wee bit with homesickness and stuff like that, so to get home for a week and spend time there was very beneficial for me and my season," McKenna said.

"The club could've just turned around and said no, but I think it could have backfired if it said no. Because if I had have missed a family event like that, I've missed weddings but not with my immediate family, then I don't know if I'd be willing to do it, honestly.

"For them to give me the confidence to go over, have my week, and then get back into it has worked really well."

Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Conor McKenna will miss Sunday's game against Gold Coast due to a family wedding.

The in-form 23-year-old, who is averaging 20 touches from his 17 games this year, will fly back to Ireland for his brother's nuptials.

"[McKenna] has our full support to do this and it has been a pre-planned arrangement for him to travel back to Ireland this round," Essendon general manager of football Dan Richardson said.

"Family comes first, and we wish the McKenna family well this week. We look forward to having Conor return to the club next week and being available for selection in round 20."

Thursday, 12 April 2018
Essendon coach John Worsfold attributes Conor McKenna's decision to bite Western Bulldog Tory Dickson to a "brain fade".

"It's a fraction of second brain fade, a lack of concentration, fatigue, stress, there are a lot of factors that go into it," Worsfold said of the incident.

"I've said (to Conor) things happen in footy, we make wrong decisions at times and we deal with the consequences, we don't dwell on it and we focus on being better."

Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Conor McKenna has been suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to biting Western Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson.

"I take responsibility for my actions. I'm very sorry for what I've done and am looking forward to moving on and getting on with the season," McKenna said.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018
Despite offers from rival clubs, Conor McKenna says he stuck to his Irish culture of loyalty when signing his latest four-year deal with Essendon.

"Most Irish boys here stay with the same team. Maybe some players chase success, but I think we'll get success at Essendon so I'm happy," he said.

"I didn't really talk much about the contract during last year, I wanted to concentrate on my football and not have any of that business taking my mind off it. I got to my last two games and started to get seriously talking. My manager said they'd offered a four-year deal, and I signed it.

"I never wanted to leave. I've been here for three years and for me to go somewhere else it would have meant, although I wasn't starting playing again, I would have had to meet new people, make new friends. It would have been a big change. I was always happy to stay at Essendon."

Monday, 26 February 2018
Conor McKenna's background in the Gaelic game came to the fore in Essendon's loss to Richmond in the JLT Community Series, but the Bomber's crafty kick to himself also left some wondering about its place in AFL rules.

McKenna surprised onlookers in the second quarter when he chip-kicked the ball to himself while running towards goal – known as a 'solo' in the GAA game.

The move caught his Richmond opponent off-guard and bought McKenna a little more space before he ran further and had a long shot at goal.

But it also led some to ask whether, under the AFL's rules, the kick could count as a bounce and McKenna could run a further 15m from the point he re-took possession.

While McKenna's chip kick to himself counted towards his 15m with the ball before he had to bounce, if the kick had been 15m or more (i.e., of markable distance) and McKenna was able to get there and grab it before anyone else, umpires would call play on.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Conor McKenna is ruled out of the 2017 Virgin Australia International Rules Series and could have a disrupted start to the pre-season after suffering an ankle injury.

"It's obviously disappointing for Conor because he was really looking forward to representing Ireland in the International Rules Series," Essendon's general manager of football Rob Kerr said.

"He hurt his ankle at training last Friday and has seen a specialist in Ireland who has placed him in a walker boot."

Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Conor McKenna signs a new four-year deal with Essendon.

"Essendon has made my transition into football an easy and enjoyable one," McKenna said.

"We have a great group of players, and the strong bonds I've made with my teammates have helped me develop my game and drive me to want to achieve success.

"I've enjoyed every moment with the club and am happy I will continue to represent the club for another four years. I believe in our vision, we have an exciting future and over the next four years I hope we can achieve the success we are working towards."

Monday, 6 February 2017
A group of four Essendon players are left shaken by a frightening home invasion, which saw four cars stolen from the Maribyrnong home they share.

Jayden Laverde, Conor McKenna, rookie-listed ruckman Shaun McKernan and VFL listed player James Ferry weren't injured in the brazen robbery.

It's alleged a number of offenders, some armed with baseball bats, broke into the property the players share around 4am on Friday morning.

"Once inside they took wallets and keys to four vehicles, then drove from the property in the cars," a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

"One of the residents woke up after hearing one of the vehicles, a Volkswagen, crash nearby and saw a man getting into another vehicle.

"It’s believed the offenders arrived at the property in a stolen Toyota Camry, which has since been recovered dumped in Maribyrnong.

"The Volkswagen stolen from the property has also been recovered nearby.

"The other three vehicles, a Mazda and two Holden Commodores, remain outstanding."

Essendon confirmed the identities of the players who were victims to the early-morning invasion.

"This was obviously quite a frightening experience for the players involved," football manager Rob Kerr said.

"We are extremely thankful the players were not harmed, and we have offered them the appropriate avenues of support."

Thursday, 3 November 2016
Conor McKenna will remain at Essendon in 2017 after signing a new one-year deal with the club.

"I've really enjoyed my time at the Bombers so far and am looking forward to what we can achieve under Woosha's (John Worsfold) leadership," McKenna said.

"Since arriving at the club, I've worked really closely with the coaches to fast-track my development as much as possible and am really happy with the way things are progressing.

"I've learnt a lot this season, and I can't wait to get back into training ready for 2017."

Thursday, 14 April 2016
Conor McKenna will play for Essendon against Geelong on Saturday after being elevated from the club’s rookie list.

"We're looking for a bit of excitement from Conor, he's a powerful player," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"He's still learning the game to some degree, but his form over the pre-season and the last couple of weeks in the VFL we've been pleased with.

"He'll bring some energy, some intensity in the forward line and create some excitement for us up there and help us kick some scores."

Saturday, 29 August 2015
Conor McKenna makes his AFL debut for Essendon at the MCG with 4 disposals (2 kicks and 2 handballs), 2 marks, 2 tackles and a goal in a 27-point loss to Richmond.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
Conor McKenna will make AFL debut this week after exciting progress at VFL level.

McKenna has been used as a small and creative forward in the club's state league team, kicking 18 goals in 15 games.

"The coach took me in yesterday about three o'clock after training," McKenna said.

"'Cora', who has been working with me all year, he just said 'Congratulations, you're playing against Richmond this week'.

"It's just good to get a run now."

Friday, 12 December 2014
Irish prospect Conor McKenna is undergoing a rigorous football education after joining Essendon as a category B rookie in October.

Recruited from county Tyrone in northern Ireland, McKenna had clubs queuing for his signature based on his athletic talents, but learning the intricacies of the game was always going to be his first challenge.

"It might be 10 minutes here or 10 minutes there, but they all add up," McKenna said.

"It's just good having people explain things to me in more detail, because that's what I need coming from another sport.

"I've got some good development coaches who work with me in the morning and the afternoon, so hopefully it will be a fast-tracking process and I'll get a game soon enough."

Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Essendon select Conor McKenna at pick No.62 in the 2014 NAB AFL Rookie Draft.

"Once we saw Conor we zeroed in and wanted him, and he comes with high hopes. He's settled in well and there are no signs of homesickness," Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro.

"Our development program has been designed to get him up and running in the next year or two and we're committed to him long term.

"He looks like a natural half-forward but there's no reason he couldn't play half-back or midfield long-term."

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