The long-awaited McKay clash looks set to go ahead on Sunday night as twins Ben and Harry prepare to face each other in the top flight for the first time.

In the almost nine years since the pair were drafted to North Melbourne and Carlton respectively, the key position duo are yet to play in the same game due to either injury, form or suspensions across their careers.

The extraordinary circumstances have continued to build up to a big occasion, with a fitting 90,000-plus crowd set to witness the pair battle this weekend when Essendon and Carlton lock horns at the MCG.

The duo have over 200 AFL games between them, and with Ben now flying the flag for the club they both grew up supporting, the "surreal" occasion is set to come on one of the biggest stages in the home and away season.

The pair are still needing to get through training this week, but barring a mishap on the track footy fans will finally get to witness Harry and Ben clash for the time.

"We'll get through training first. If there ever was a week to be a little bit cautious it's this one," Harry said.

"I was watching the last couple minutes of Ben's game and had my fingers crossed that nothing happened. It does feel a bit surreal, but maybe [our first game] was waiting for a big occasion like this. Two big teams.

"Regardless of who you're playing, Essendon vs Carlton is always a big game. Every time you get to represent the club and play AFL football it's exciting, but I think there'll definitely be an element of that kind of backyard footy feel when Ben and I line-up on each other. But in saying that, as soon as the ball is bounced there'll be so much to focus on and so much going on in the game."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: Harry McKay of the Blues
and Ben McKay of the Bombers pose during an AFL media opportunity at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 03, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Ben agreed the "big occasion" did "feel right" for their first game, with neither brother holding back punches alongside one another on Monday.

But whether the twins actually line up on each other is yet to be confirmed, with Ben likely to take on Coleman Medal leader and Harry's partner in crime Charlie Curnow for the King's Birthday eve game.

At some point on Sunday night the duo are guaranteed to cross paths, with both McKay boys keen for four points and, most importantly, bragging rights.

"I don't know yet, I haven't spoken to Brad or (defensive coach) Ben Jacobs about what our matchups look like," Ben said. "That's probably more towards the back end of the week,

"But it's obviously a 50-50 percentage of whether it's Harry or Charlie. The modern day you have to spend time on everyone. Gone are the days where it's purely a one-on-one matchup, but we'll definitely be spending some time with each other.

"I noticed a couple of weeks ago when I played against North that it was sort of strange for the first five or 10 minutes and then it becomes pretty normal. You're so entrenched in the game, but I'm sure if there's a moment we can get into each other we will."

Whichever forward force Ben stands alongside to start Sunday's proceedings he's sure to have a tough task quelling his direct opponent, while his brother thinks Curnow could be in line for a big evening if the twins don't go head-to-head.

"I think Charlie is too good for you," Harry joked. "He might kick 10."

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Jokes aside, Harry said it's been a highlight of his year getting to watch his brother thrive at his new club.

"No, it's been great to see [Ben] transition to a new club and he's been playing really good footy," he said. "He definitely looks at home in the red and black.

"It should be a good challenge."

The Round 13 bout will see a second-placed Essendon outfit seeking to bounce back from last weekend's loss to Gold Coast, while Carlton carry some strong form into the blockbuster after knocking off Port Adelaide in South Australia last Thursday.

Essendon won the last meeting between the two, handing the Blues a 34-point defeat before their fortunes took separate paths across the second half of the 2023 season.

 2024-06-09T09:20:00Z 
 
 
MCG
ESS   
70
FT
96
   CARL