Mark Eustice provides Old Carey with an important message
Former VFL/AFL player reflects on football and what it means
The Old Carey playing group welcomed former Essendon, Richmond and Sydney player Mark Eustice to the club last month to share his courageous story about a boy playing out his childhood dream playing for Essendon and the difficulties he faced outside of football dealing with depression, drug and alcohol addiction.
Mark, who played his first VFL game at just 17 years of age, was a member of the reserves premiership-winning team for the Bombers in 1983, before being traded to Richmond after four years at the Essendon Football Club. Having spent his whole childhood growing up in Essendon and being the son of the Mayor of Essendon at the time, Mark’s decision to leave Windy Hill was daunting and one that he did not take lightly. After three years at Richmond, Mark took an offer to play for the Sydney Swans, before stepping away from football only a year into his three-year contract.
Mark described the difficulties he faced with the pressure of football and explained how easily life balance can spiral out of control. Added to this, Mark explained the toll his addictions had on relationships with his family, friends and his own wellbeing and the ease in which you can get caught up with the wrong people. To Mark’s credit, with the help of counselling, family and friends who he made through football, he has been able to get his life back on track and has been clean of addiction for over ten years. His message was powerful and one that the playing group will remember for some time.
After Mark spoke, co-coaches Okie and Taz ran the boys through the 2017 game plan, including the defensive and offensive structures that will be enforced throughout not only the senior team, but the reserves, 3rds and under 19’s. To round out the morning Alan, Chief and Gazza Chapman prepared a BBQ for all those attending on what was an informative morning for the boys. Judging from below I think Al needs some help in the kitchen!”