|Nickname(s)||The King, Duck|
|Date of birth||27 May 1971|
|Place of birth||Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia|
|Height||192 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||97 kg (214 lb)|
|1989–2001||North Melbourne||244 (671)|
|Representative team honours|
|1990||New South Wales||1 (1)|
|1992||South Australia||1 (2)|
|International team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2004.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Wayne Francis Carey (born 27 May 1971) is a former Australian rules footballer who played with the North Melbourne Football Club and Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).
A dual-premiership captain at North Melbourne, four-time North Melbourne best-and-fairest (Syd Barker Medallist) and seven-time All-Australian, Carey is nicknamed "The King", or "Duck". In 2001, he was named as centre half-forward and captain of North Melbourne's Team of the Century, and in 2008 was named as Australian football's greatest ever player, as part of a list of the top 50 players of all time, published in the book The Australian Game of Football, which was released by the League to celebrate 150 years of Australian rules football.
In 2002, he left North Melbourne in disgrace after it was revealed he'd been having an extramarital affair with the wife of his then-teammate Anthony Stevens. He is also known for his legal problems, which include domestic violence charges and assault convictions.
From 2014 Carey has worked as a Friday night football commentator and Talking Footy panelist with Channel Seven.
The son of Kevin and Lynne, Carey was one of five children who grew up in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. His mother and father separated when Carey was aged six, with his mother taking four of the children to Adelaide, living in a homeless shelter. According to Carey's autobiography, his father was a violent man who had spent time at Mannus Correctional Centre and was troubled by alcoholism. A few months later, Kevin Carey retrieved the children from his estranged wife and they returned to Wagga Wagga.
Carey played rugby league as a junior, and began playing Australian rules football at the age of eight. At the age of thirteen, Carey returned to Adelaide, where he attended The Heights School and played junior football for North Adelaide.
In 1987, Carey was recruited by North Melbourne after their CEO, Greg Miller, met with the Sydney Swans' football department to discuss the transfer to North Melbourne of John Longmire, a highly regarded junior key-position player. Once that deal was concluded, Miller then inquired about Carey who, like Longmire, was zoned to the Swans due to having lived in New South Wales. He made a token offer of $10,000 as a transfer fee, to which the Swans surprisingly agreed. As a 16-year-old, Carey made the move to Melbourne and played for the North Melbourne under-19s, where he starred in their 1988 premiership side under coach Denis Pagan. Carey was promoted to the senior list prior to the 1989 season and, after recovering from dislocating his left shoulder in a practice match early in the year, made his first appearance for the seniors as an 18-year-old in round 11 of 1989 against Fitzroy.
In March 2002 Carey had an extramarital affair with North Melbourne stalwart and Vice Captain Anthony Stevens's wife, Kelli. Carey and Stevens were attending a party at teammate Glenn Archer's house. Carey is quoted as saying Kelli followed him into the toilets, in front of a large crowd including her husband. An argument ensued between Carey and Stevens and both subsequently failed to attend football training. In the face of his team being united against him, as well as nationwide condemnation, Carey resigned in disgrace from North Melbourne. Carey's then manager Ricky Nixon famously stated that his client was on "suicide watch" during the aftermath. To avoid media attention Carey fled to Las Vegas, USA.
Carey had a relatively short, but successful State of Origin career, and what he describes as significant in his career. Carey first played at the game's highest level in 1990 for New South Wales, in a famous win over Victoria, in the side's only 3rd ever win against the State, Carey scored one goal. In 1992, playing for South Australia against Victoria, Carey played an outstanding game, dominating at centre half forward and kicking two goals. Including the match winner from 55 meters out in the dying moments. Carey had four opponents in the game, dominating them all, including Chris Langford, Danny Frawley and Garry Lyon. Carey has described this game as the moment he knew he belonged in the AFL. Saying if he could do well at State of Origin level, a higher level than the AFL, he knew he belonged at AFL level. Carey played for NSW/ACT the following year in the State of Origin Carnival scoring one goal. In the latter half of the 1990s clubs began putting pressure on players to pull out of games due to fear of injury and players began to stop participating.
Carey was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2010. Although he was eligible for induction in 2008, his off-field troubles with drugs delayed his induction.
Carey has been named by many media commentators as the greatest footballer to play the game.[dead link] In 1999, Leigh Matthews, who was voted the greatest player of the 20th century, honoured Carey by saying that he was the best player he had ever seen. In 2008, Carey was named as Australian Football's greatest ever player as part of a list of the top 50 players of all time, published in the book The Australian Game of Football,[dead link] and placed third in a similar list put together by a panel of football legends in The Age newspaper the same year. In 2011, the Herald Sun polled 21 past and present AFL greats, including Carey, to find the players' opinion as to the greatest player of the AFL era. Carey topped the list, polling 85 of a possible 100 votes, 26 votes ahead of second placed Gary Ablett Sr.
"Sure Got Me" on Paul Kelly's 2004 double album Ways & Means recounts the love triangle involving Carey, Anthony Stevens, and Stevens' wife, Kelli. Hunters & Collectors frontman Mark Seymour also wrote a song inspired by the affair, but declined to release it after learning of Kelly's take on the events. Jock Cheese, bassist of the satirical Melbourne band TISM, released a tribute to Carey titled "Why Don't You Get A Bigger Set of Tits?" on his 2002 solo album Platter.
Carey's career total of 727 goals ranks him equal 16th in VFL/AFL history, and his 671 goals for North Melbourne is the club record.
|Season||Team||No.||Games||Totals||Averages (per game)|
In early 2005, Carey agreed to assist former coach and mentor Denis Pagan at the Carlton Football Club, acting voluntarily as a part-time skills coach. In 2006 he was an assistant coach at Collingwood Football Club. Carey also worked as a commentator and host of shows on the Fox Footy Channel throughout the 2006 season. In 2007 he participated in the Nine Network football analysis program Footy Classified, as well as special comments for radio station 3AW's football coverage. Subsequent to his dual arrests for domestic violence and assault he was sacked from both positions.
In 2009, Carey was approached in a confidential meeting with influential North Melbourne board member Ron Joseph to return to the club as coach in a succession plan which also involved Malcolm Blight. Carey confirmed this when queried by noted football journalist Damian Barrett in May 2021.
In 1997 Carey pleaded guilty to indecent assault after grabbing a passing woman's breast on a Melbourne city street after 12 hours of drinking with teammates. He allegedly told her "Why don't you get a bigger pair of tits". Carey later settled out of court when the woman filed a civil suit against him.
In 2000 Carey provided character evidence for Jason Moran, an infamous gangster who was subsequently murdered in Melbourne's gang war.
In 2004, while holidaying with his then wife, Carey was subject to arrest for a misdemeanour battery report while holidaying in Las Vegas. He was placed in custody for one night then released. The local District Attorney elected not to pursue the case.
Carey again became the subject of public comment in February 2006 when he announced he was leaving his pregnant wife Sally for model Kate Neilson. His daughter Ella was born six weeks later. In December 2006 Neilson allegedly reported Carey to Australian police for domestic violence, alleging he had punched her in the face. Neilson and Carey denied this report. Subsequently, US security guard Kyle Banks told the Nine Network's A Current Affair he saw Carey attacking Neilson while working at the exclusive W Hotel in New York City in October 2006. Banks said he saw Carey break a bottle of French champagne over his own head.
On 27 January 2008 Carey was arrested after reports of a disturbance at his Port Melbourne apartment. Police had to subdue Carey with capsicum spray and he was seen hand-cuffed after allegedly assaulting the officers.
Two days later, the Nine Network announced it would not renew Carey's television contract after it was revealed that Carey had been arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer and Neilson in Miami, Florida, on 27 October 2007, after he allegedly glassed Neilsen in the face and neck with a wine glass. Police Lieutenant Bill Schwartz, however, reported:
When officers went and spoke to him, he immediately was belligerent, starting striking out at the officers, in fact, kicked one of the female officers in the face with his foot, elbowed another one in the side of the face. They had to wrestle him down and handcuff him. When he was in the police car, he used his head as a battering ram and tried to smash a hole between the front compartment of the police car and the prisoner compartment.
To stop Carey harming himself and damaging the car, the officers put him into a leather hobble restraint around his hands and legs. Carey faced up to fifteen years in jail and US$30,000 fines. Additionally Carey was fired from commentary jobs at 3AW and the Nine Network following the coverage of the two arrests. Ultimately Carey pleaded guilty to assaulting and resisting Miami police. In exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed that Carey should only serve 50 hours of community service, attend alcohol- and anger-management classes, serve two years probation, and pay US$500 to a Miami police charity. As a consequence of his criminal record in the United States, Carey was refused an entry visa in October 2009.
In March 2008 Carey publicly revealed he was, for a long period, an abuser of alcohol and cocaine. He was interviewed by Andrew Denton on Enough Rope, where he talked candidly about his life and recent controversies. 1.5 million viewers tuned into the highly publicised interview.
Carey was attempting to visit Barwon Prison in February 2012 to speak to indigenous inmates as part of a mentoring program, however he was found to have traces of cocaine on his clothing following a routine drug scan. Carey was informed that he could enter the prison if he submitted to a strip search. He declined and left the correctional facility.
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