AFL 2020: SANFL Legend Mark Naley Died Aged 59

A tribute to Carlton premiership player, Mark Naley

The AFL community mourned the loss of SANFL Hall of Famer and Carlton legend Mark Naley, who died in his hometown of Adelaide on 06 July at the age of 59.

A Magarey medallist, Naley passed away in palliative care following a three-year-long battle with brain cancer.

The South Adelaide champion first experienced severe health problems when he inexplicably lapsed into unconsciousness while driving in 2016. At the time, he told in an interview:

“I had a seizure, which started it. 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.”

Since then, Mark Naley underwent five surgeries and was subjected to the adverse side-effects of his treatment. He and his wife, Cassie, used to provide regular updates about his health to a host of well-wishers.

Source: Twitter

During his four-year career at Carlton, Mark Naley played 65 VFL games, including the 1987 Grand Final victory. He played 236 games and scored 231 goals across two SANFL stints with South Adelaide, before and after his Carlton stint.

The SA origin representative was an inaugural member of the South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He was a two-time all-Australian for two consecutive years, 1986 and 1987.

South Adelaide chief executive Neill Sharpe paid tribute to their Hall of Fame player, saying:

“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.”

Source: Carlton FC

He continued:

“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.”

The SANFL website also paid a tribute, saying:

“Our thoughts are with wife Cassie, children Hannah and Sam, step-daughter Rose and grandson Finn, during this difficult time.”

A number of AFL fans, international sportspersons, and media shared tributes on social media following the heartbreaking news of Naley’s tragic death.