Mark Naley played a modest 65 games for Carlton, but that figure undersells the mark he left on the club and the then VFL.
Naley, who died on Monday at 59, played the bulk of his footy for South Adelaide, before and after his Carlton stint. He joined the Blues at a propitious moment. In 1986, they had recruited Stephen Kernahan, Craig Bradley and Peter Motley from Adelaide as well as Jon Dorotich from Perth. Naley followed the year, rounding out a prodigiously talented team that ran away with the 1987 premiership.
After a hesitant beginning, Naley won the Tassie Medal as best player in the mid-season interstate carnival that year and his Carlton form flowed from there. A rover at a time when that was a distinctive position, rather than one of an amorphous mass of midfielders, he was and would remain a superb state of origin player.
After Naley was cut down by injury in fourth season with the Blues, he returned to South Adelaide and won the 1991 Magarey Medal before retiring two years later. He was made a life member of South Adelaide and an inaugural member of the SANFL Hall of Fame, but he maintained his links with and affection for Carlton.
Growing up, Naley was told that his paternal grandfather was an Afghan. Later in life, he discovered that Gordon Naley was an Indigenous Australian who fought and was injured at Gallipoli. He prized that discovery like another trophy.
Since 2016, a series of brain tumours has laid Naley progressively lower.