How Carey’s infamous affair devastated North

North Melbourne legend Brent Harvey says Wayne Carey’s infamous affair with teammate Anthony Stevens’ wife put the “club back four or five years”.

Arguably the biggest off-field headline back in 2002 was Carey’s liaison with Kelli Stevens, which resulted in the star forward moving to the Adelaide Crows to finish his career.

While the Kangaroos reached the finals that season despite the scandal, which occurred in March that year, the club finished 10th the following two seasons.

Harvey, who spent 20 years at the Kangaroos to become the VFL/AFL games record holder, said the impact of Carey’s actions were profound.

“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 were 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.”

Harvey added that he has the utmost respect for Stevens, who put the affair behind him so that the former playing group could enjoy their premiership reunion.

“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.”

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