'We're devastated': Aussie Rules rocked by legend's death at 59
The Australian football community is mourning the death of South Australian legend Mark Naley.
The South Australian Football Hall of Fame Inductee and Player Life Member died at 59 after a long battle with brain cancer.
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Naley played 65 games for Carlton in the AFL, featuring in the 1987 grand final.
But it was his work in the SANFL that he will be best remembered for, playing 236 games and kicking 231 goals for South Adelaide.
He also played 16 games for the state and was an all-Australian in 1986 and 1987.
In 1991 he won the Magarey Medal for the best and fairest player in the SANFL, and was runner-up for the award twice.
“Mark has left an enormous impact on the South Adelaide Football Club, where he captured a generation of fans in the 1980s, and gave the South Adelaide faithful plenty to be excited about,” CEO Neill Sharpe said in a statement.
“He was such a humble champion of the game and maintained a great connection to the Club following his playing day.
“Over the last few years, while battling with his health, he‘d still get to South Adelaide games and happily sit on the outer or even have a kick of the footy as he did last year at Alberton with son Sam and grandson Finn.
“He is one of the greats of South Adelaide and will be sorely missed.”
Former Blues Mark Naley and Peter Motley (with father Geoff) meet some of our new Blues. #BoundByBlue pic.twitter.com/mpoV1ZzrVd
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) November 24, 2015
Tributes flow after death of Mark Naley
The SANFL website also paid tribute to Naley’s courageous battle, writing: “Since diagnosis in 2016, Mark’s fought a courageous battle against brain cancer, displaying a tremendously positive spirit.
“SANFL expresses its deepest sympathies to Mark’s wife Cassie and family while honouring his outstanding contribution to the game in South Australia.”
Naley previously opened up about being diagnosed with cancer in 2016 after he had a seizure while driving.
“I had a seizure, which started it,” Naley told Carlton Media.
“At the time I was turning into a street, saw the street sign and that was it.
“The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital an hour and a half later.”
Tributes are also flooding social media.
We're devastated to bid farewell to a favourite son and an iconic figure of our 1987 premiership.
Vale, Mark Naley. 💙
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) July 6, 2020
Hard as nails. South Adelaide legend. You will be sorely missed Mark Naley ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zT8nO3dQAb
— Ryan Fitzgerald (@FitzySA) July 6, 2020
Thanks. And after a tough fight through his final years may he now Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/QeazN9kDRB
— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) July 6, 2020
Saddened to hear of the passing of @SANFL Hall of Famer Mark Naley who was such a star for @southadelaidefc & @CarltonFC - & even braver in his fight with brain cancer. Condolences to Mark's family & many friends 🙏 pic.twitter.com/NBi4brJSLs
— John Casey (@JohnCasey2880) July 6, 2020
Such a sad week. Mark Naley fought bravely as he always did but succumbed to an insidious disease. A terrific player - at his best with the Panthers, great at Carlton and always sensational in state games. And Chris Hunt, a name steeped in the history of the Glenelg FC. Vale
— Graham Cornes (@Cornesy12) July 6, 2020
RIP Mark Naley. A brilliant player and matchwinner in 1987 @CarltonFC premiership. https://t.co/F5BiV6qziM
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) July 6, 2020
Brilliant for the @CarltonFC was Mark Naley.
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) July 6, 2020
The original rat pack @SANFL / @CarltonFC style. RIP Nails #MarkNaley pic.twitter.com/tJ1jSIeNmI
— Kaè Ės (@_KaeEs) July 6, 2020
Terribly sad to learn of the news of the great Mark Naley's passing.
1987 Carlton Premiership Player and SANFL Magarey Medallist.
One of South Australia's all-time greats.
R.I.P Nales. pic.twitter.com/UGIZpNhVsv
— Carlton Cheersquad (@CFCCheersquad) July 6, 2020
Vale Mark Naley. A champion player gone too soon. Loved watching him play. 😥 pic.twitter.com/SJQfqtLrzI
— Nick Haines (@NickHai32786201) July 6, 2020