AFL reject’s stunning road to being MCG hero

    Alex Carey once aspired to play an AFL grand final at the MCG, but it’s cricket where he has finally found success on the hallowed turf.

    Carey, 31, was once an AFL prospect, drafted to the GWS Giants in his early 20s.

    He captained the team ahead of its entry into the 2012 competition but was dropped from the list before making it to the top.

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    Instead, Carey sought to reinvent himself. He returned to cricket, another sport he’d played at a young age, plying his trade as a wicketkeeper-batter.

    The two sports couldn’t be further apart, perhaps the only similarity being that of the grounds upon which games are played.

    Tim Paine’s fall from grace eventually opened the door for Carey, who in 2021 made his Test debut. Now, in just his 13th match, the South Australian is a centurion.

    For his wife, Eloise Carey, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, labelling the moment at the MCG on Wednesday “unreal”.

    “It’s been a huge, huge day and it’s just really exciting for everyone, for the whole family,” Eloise said.

    “It’s one of those things you kind of never expect to happen. You hope it’s going to happen. 

    “It’s been a huge day.

    “Still a bit nervous, as you can probably tell. Emotions are high.

    “I met him when he was unemployed, or working for a financial planning firm.

    “He wasn’t doing any sport. He was home too much and now it’s gone the other way; he’s always gone.

    “To be honest, I thought it was a good idea because it’s a lot safer than football. I was always never really on board with AFL because they all get injured so often.

    “I thought, ‘Well, cricket is safe, so give that a go’. Maybe not too safe after this week given the injuries (to Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green), the poor boys.”

    It was a monumental day for Carey, who ended a nine-year drought for Australian wicketkeeper-batsmen in Test cricket.

    Brad Haddin was the last to score a century, in 2013, his fourth in a storied career that included 66 matches.

    Carey’s wife struggled to contain herself as she recounted the day’s achievement.

    “He’s worked so hard,” she said, holding back tears.

    “There’s been so many people involved. His parents would have loved to be here today. My family has been so supportive. 

    “It takes a lot for someone to get to this point in their career. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes. 

    “He’s always been the first person at training and the last person to leave. He works hard. 

    “He’s so deserving of this. Very proud. You can’t imagine your husband making a century in the Boxing Day Test.”

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