K rock Football

Doc’s legacy to live on

Craig Carey embraces good mate and GDFL board member Paul Welsh following the 2019 GDFL reserves grand final. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

EAST Geelong coach Ben Boseley says Craig Carey’s legacy “is all around us” as the club prepares for its first match day since the death of its reserves coach.

Carey, 49, went into a cardiac arrest and couldn’t be revived after collapsing near Eastern Beach on June 7.

The Eagles will head to Winchelsea on Saturday, with Boseley unsure what impact Carey’s passing will have on the performance of both senior and reserve grade players.

“And we may not know for many weeks,” Boseley said. “Every player will grieve and work through this differently.

“There are some who have probably worked through it already, some that haven’t even processed it all, and some are a little bit in between.

“We’ve worked pretty hard as a club to set some time and space for players to grieve, and mourn, and process together.

“But, we really don’t know the impact it’s going to have on the performance of each player until we play this Saturday and Saturdays to come.

“It’s a real unknown at the moment.”

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Boseley believes the tragedy will galvanise his players, but he is not comfortable using Carey as motivation for East’s seniors and reserves as they head towards finals campaigns.

“I’m not an advocate for motivating people using Doc’s death,” he said. “I think the players need to be intrinsically motivated enough.

“Doc’s legacy will remain; it’s all around us in the impact he had and who he was for us as individuals and as a collective.

“I don’t want to be using his name as a motivational tool; when you’re down, or you’re not playing well, ‘let’s use Doc’s spirit’.

“We want to keep talking about him; he’s part of our program, and let’s finish off the work he helped create.

“It’s going to be a tough period for us as reserve and senior grades, but Doc’s living inside us.

“That motivation we should have anyway will be galvanised because we want to finish off that work that Doc created.”

East will be boosted by the return of forward duo Jake Watson-Serle and Zac Smith, versatile big man Jayden Fanning and gun midfielder Tom Maas for the clash with Winchelsea.

The Christian Shaw-coached Blues remain in finals contention after starting the season with a 5-4 win-loss record.

“Christian’s got them playing some good football, and they’ve improved a lot from last year, and they’ve got some high-calibre players,” Boseley said.

“It’s going to be a real challenge for us when we travel down the highway.

“They’re going to be well set up and ready for us, and we’ve got to make sure we’re prepared and ready to perform at our best.

“We respect Winchelsea. To beat Bell Post Hill at Bell Post Hill is a great effort, and we couldn’t do that, so we know what we’re up against.

“We’re hoping we pick up where we left off before the bye.”

Twitter: @tom_king79