Career : 1987 - 1990
Debut : Round 1, 1987 vs Hawthorn, aged 26 years, 16 days
Carlton Player No. 940
Games : 65
Goals : 74
Guernsey No. 17
Last Game: Round 21, 1990 vs Hawthorn, aged 29 years, 166 days
Height : 177 cm (5 ft. 9 in.)
Weight : 76 kg (12 stone, 0 lbs.)
DOB : 11 March, 1961
Premiership Player: 1987
From Sacred Heart College in South Australia, Mark Naley made his SANFL senior debut with South Adelaide in 1980. He quickly established his reputation as a star state footballer, particularly impressive against the Vics on a number of occasions. He represented his state from 1981 to 1989, and again in 1991 and 1992.
He was then recruited by Carlton, playing 65 games and scoring 74 goals in a successful VFL career between 1987 and 1990. His stay at Carlton got off to a slow start until he was selected for State of Origin duties by South Australia in 1987. He played a blinder in that game, and from then on was a star with the Blues. The undoubted highlight was the Premiership of 1987. One enduring memory of Mark Naley is of him wearing the long-sleeve number 17 guernsey (often with the sleeves rolled up), accelerating through the centre square and blasting through a goal from 45 metres out. Equally comfortable as a rover or at half forward, he formed a devastating roving partnership with fellow smalls Gleeson, Murphy, Evans and Bradley in the late 80s.
Perhaps what set Naley apart from many who came to Carlton was his success both before, and after playing in the Navy Blue. He returned to South Adelaide in 1991 and won the Magarey Medal - an honour that was pre-empted by Footscray's attempt to draft him at number six selection in the '91 mid-season draft. But Mark was settled back home, and eventually played a total of over 250 games for South Adelaide before he retired in 1993. In honour of Mark's fine achievements at SANFL level, we have outlined those successes below.
Mark Naley was to find out later in life that he was of indigenous origin.
Mark maintained a very strong connection with the club, especially with the past players group. He would assist with every function involving South Australia and often come back to Victoria to be involved with the Blues. After a long battle with cancer Mark passed away at the young age of 59 on the 6th of July 2020, leaving a great legacy and a huge hole of sadness at the Carlton Football Club.
Milestones50 Games : Round 11, 1989 vs Sydney Swans
Career Highlights1987 - 4th Best & Fairest
1987 - Best First Year Player Award
1987 - Premiership Player
1987 - All Australian
1987 - Tassie Medal - Best and Fairest - 1987 National Football League Carnival
1988 - 9th Best & Fairest
1989 - 4th Best & Fairest
1990 - Reserves Premiership Player
Honours (ex-Carlton)1981 - Magarey Medal - Runner-Up
1982 - Magarey Medal - Runner Up
1986 - All Australian
1991 - Fos Williams Medal - South Australia’s best player in 1991
1991 - Magarey Medal
LinksArticles / Links: Magarey Medallists
Blueseum: A summary of Naley's AFL career | Career Breakdown | Naley's Blueseum Image Gallery