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Mike Sheahan on the Wayne Carey saga -

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HEATHER EWART: And a short time ago I spoke to the Herald Sun's chief football writer Mike Sheahan
about the Wayne Carey saga.

Mike Sheahan, Wayne Carey was a hero of yours. What's your reaction to his spectacular fall?

MIKE SHEAHAN: Yes, it is Heather. There's no doubt about that. You're right on both counts. Even at
my age we still have our heroes and he's been one of mine. I think he's been one of the elite
athletes in Australia in my time covering sport and I guess the overriding emotion is one of
sadness. If he's done what he is alleged to have done, that's terrible behaviour. Terribly sad. I
mean sad for all the parties involved but particularly for Wayne because he's finished now as a
footballer and I was hoping he could make the transition into the media or whatever other path he
decided to follow and do that with some grace but it doesn't appear to be the case.

HEATHER EWART: Is this the end of the road for Wayne Carey?

MIKE SHEAHAN: Look, I fear so. I mean we don't know yet what's going to happen with the charges in
the US and in fact even the outcome of events in Melbourne of more recent times.

I know Wayne reasonably and I don't think Wayne had a commitment to the media. I think he was good
at it because he was so honest and there were no barriers for him.

If you asked him about a question about James Hird or Michael Voss or anyone of that nature, he
just answered honestly and I liked his bluntness in the media and I thought he did it well,
particularly on the radio and in TV. The standards have risen in recent years and I don't think
people are going to tolerate this and I know that Channel 9 have already said they are not going to
continue negotiations with him. 3AW have decided to pass on him in favour of Nathan Buckley. So I
can't see him coming back from here. Particularly when he doesn't have a passion to do that job
anyway.

HEATHER EWART: You know the bloke, what is his problem?

MIKE SHEAHAN: Well, Heather, my view is that the unofficial layman psychology. I think retirement
was always going to be is a major problem for Wayne Carey because people would say he was a law
unto himself when he played at the Kangaroos and that's probably the case.

But there were the disciplines that applied in a football club and in a team situation and I think
they kept him on the rails but since he's retired - I mean he has got no money worries, he's got a
huge network of friends, he's got all this time on his hands - he loves going to America. I think
it was a combination that was always going to lead to trouble.

HEATHER EWART: Was Carey protected for too long because of his skills as a footballer?

MIKE SHEAHAN: You read Carey in this case and read so many others. He was such an outstanding
player and probably, in a way, I had the view that he probably kept the North Melbourne Football
Club afloat for a long time because he was so good. So sure there were concessions made to him.

But when it came to playing football and training, no-one was better or more disciplined than Wayne
Carey. Now we saw examples on the football field of where his discipline let him down a bit in the
early 1990s but he was so good and he loved football so much that was the driving force in his
life.

So good at it, so keen to do it. So well prepared. I think he hasn't got those things anymore. I
think Wayne woke up one day and thought "What do I do with the next 40 or 50 years of my life?" And
he hasn't got the football constraints to keep him on line.

HEATHER EWART: The scandals off the field have always seemed to centre on his relationships with
women. Does he have an issue with women?

MIKE SHEAHAN: Look, I don't know. I must say, I will say this - I always thought that he was a
little hard done by in those earlier indiscretions that filled so many of the pages. Not all of
them. I'm talking about the marital situation at North Melbourne but previous indiscretions that
happened in the early hours of the morning. A lot of provocation.

I thought he really did get a bum wrap on a couple of those but there seems to be a common theme
when he gets into trouble, there is a woman or women involved. The reasons for that I'm not sure
but I do think he misses Denis Pagan or even his peers amongst the player group that were able to
laugh and admire the bravado of Wayne Carey but also say, duck you have to pull your head in, we
have a game to win.

And he actually didn't even need that. He knew what was responsibilities were to the football club
but I am not sure he sees great deal of responsibility in his life post football.

HEATHER EWART: Does he have any sense of this at all? Should he be seeking some psychiatric help?

MIKE SHEAHAN: I know one of the policeman in America said that he clearly had anger management
problems.

Again, that's not my area. I would think that there's enough evidence to say that he loses his cool
pretty quickly and he did in the early part of his footy career.

There was no question, he was bordering on out of control on the football field until probably
1992, '93 and then something happened. I think the attitude in the game changed a bit and the
behaviour you just couldn't go out and whack whoever you wanted to whack, which I think he grew up
probably thinking you could do that.

So then he was able to temper that and fundamentally, he behaved very well on the football field
but again, I think it's that potent mix of all this time, no money concerns, a lifestyle that shall
we say borders on the very racy. I mean if you believe half of what we've heard in recent years,
his lifestyle has been very, very adventurous. So he was almost an accident waiting to happen.

HEATHER EWART: What does this do for the image of the game, on top of the well publicised scandals
surrounding players like Ben Cousins?

MIKE SHEAHAN: It's a valid question. I've always adopted the Chris Judd stand on this that they're
footballers primarily and the role model situation secondary.

It's a minority view that I hold but I think the more and more examples that we have of footballer
behaving badly, it does tarnish the image of the game.

I don't believe it affects the game at the turnstiles. I don't think that any event that happens
off the field has diminished the appeal of people who love their football nor has it impacted
negatively on the figures.

But I suppose the concern we would have is that mothers - and they drive sporting interest of the
kids at a young age - they must be wondering if they're not heavily involved in football and
understand, I think they're wondering just what sort of arena they're sending their children into,
in situations like this.

HEATHER EWART: Mike Sheahan, thanks for joining us.

MIKE SHEAHAN: Thanks Heather.