North Melbourne great Brent Harvey has opened up on the impact Wayne Carey’s affair with a teammate had on the Kangaroos, saying the entire drama set the club back “four or five years”.
The footy world was stunned in 2002 when it emerged Carey was having an affair with Stevens’ wife Kelli, a scandal that tarnished the AFL legend’s reputation and saw him move to Adelaide to finish his career with the Crows.
Harvey, the AFL games-record holder who played his entire 20-year career at North Melbourne, said the sex scandal ruptured the playing group and crippled the club for years.
“It put our football club back four or five years,” Harvey told the TAB’s Inside 50 podcast with Crawf and Quinny.
“Not in terms of just Wayne leaving, but just everything. Anthony Stevens became the captain, he didn’t need to be captain with everything going on, there was a big divide with the group.
“My initial thought was it’s not true but once you find out something happened it’s like, ‘Wow’.
“We lost not only our best player but our captain, probably one of the greatest players to ever play our game. That’s hard to digest as a young kid that’s trying to win flags and do everything.
“It was big, the press conference, there was people on top of cars, there were people in trees taking photos of a group that did nothing wrong.
“It was mind blowing.
“At the time it was huge and you look back and that was a time you probably don’t want to go through again as a football club.”
Carey is still involved in the game as a commentator for Channel 7 and while Harvey isn’t best mates with the AFL legend, he has nothing but admiration for Stevens and the way he has carried himself since the life-changing ordeal.
The affair ruined Stevens’ marriage.Source:News Corp Australia
There was no love lost when the pair squared off against each other as rivals.Source:News Limited
“I’m also a massive Anthony Stevens fan, absolutely love the bloke, probably my favourite teammate I’ve ever played with so it was tough,” Harvey said. “The 10-year reunion wasn’t great, but then the 20-year reunion was OK.
“This is why I love Stevo so much because he’s about everybody else. He’ll shake Wayne’s hand and say g’day to him at the function because he doesn’t want the 16 other blokes sitting in the corner thinking, ‘Have a look at this’.
“I don’t think they’re ever going to be best mates, that’s my opinion, I actually don’t know if Stevo speaks to him or not, but he’s a bigger man than I would ever be.”
Publicly, Stevens stayed silent for years about being betrayed by Carey before finally going on the record with veteran AFL journalist Mike Sheahan in 2015.
At the time, Stevens told Fox Footy’s Open Mike Carey had not even apologised to him — something Carey refuted.
Carey spoke in 2016 about how he moved to mend his rift with Stevens ahead of the 20-year reunion for the Kangaroos’ 1996 premiership-winning team. The pair met privately in Melbourne before the big event to sort out their differences.
“As we know, Stevo said on Open Mike a little while ago that he thought that I hadn’t properly apologised so that is where it started,” Carey told Triple M five years ago.
“A heartfelt apology. That’s where it started and that’s where it ended.
“You’ll never forget (the affair) and it’s something that will live with me forever, as I’m sure it will a lot of people, which is still sad and I still live with that, but we can go to the event on Saturday and just have a smile on our faces and laugh and people can feel really good about being there.”
Premiership reunions have been awkward.Source:News Limited
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