Harvey Re-Signs with North Melbourne
Brent Harvey continues to defy the odds, signing a new deal with North Melbourne for a record 20th season in 2015.
Showing no signs of slowing down, the 36-year-old has been in career-best form so far this year, averaging a remarkable 26.5 disposals. His previous career-high was 25.5 disposals in 2001.
With more than 150 Brownlow votes, Harvey’s blistering speed, elite skills and phenomenal footy smarts make him one of the greatest players to have pulled on a North jumper.
The five-time Syd Barker Medalist says while his body continues to allow him to play at the top level, the choice to go on is easy.
“Age is not a factor to me, it really isn’t, I go out and I feel like I’m probably 30 years old. I go out and I love the game, I love training with the boys, it’s something I’m really passionate about.
“Obviously I love the football club and I go out there and I perform, I prepare really well and nothing’s changed over a long period of time. I think I can keep this standard for a little more to go.”
The club only too happy to have the champion sign on for another year.
“For North Melbourne people and people who have known Boomer for a while, you continue to shake your head,” Director of Football Geoff Walsh said.
“History says that guys at 36 years of age don’t continue to perform at the level that he’s performing at, and to be in contention for All-Australian honours, up there in awards and I’m sure he’ll poll well in our best and fairest; it’s a credit to the way he prepares and his passion for the game.
“It’s remarkable in a historical sense, but knowing Boomer, no one’s prepared to say that this is the last one-year deal, so we might be back here again next year.”
Harvey debuted back in 1996, and hasn’t lost an inch of pace since arriving on the scene as a skinny kid
from the Northern Knights.
“It hit home to me only a couple of nights ago when I was watching a game from 1999 on Fox Footy- it was Round 17 and Dustin Fletcher and Brent Harvey were playing and they weren’t debutants, they were well into their careers then. 15 years later, both of those players, and particularly Brent, are at the top echelon of the game,” Walsh added.
“It’s a great achievement for him and we’re delighted that he’s agreed to terms. There’s very little sentiment attached to the agreement because he’s in great form, he’s at the top of his game, so he continues to be an asset to this footy club both on and off the field given his longevity.”
With four All-Australians, a premiership in 1999 and a host of other honours along the way, Harvey has shown no signs of slowing down this season and remains mentally and physically at the peak of his game.
It hasn’t been a case of good luck though. “Brad (Scott) always says I’ve got pretty good genes coming from my side of the family, I certainly agree with him there, but there’s a lot of work for AFL footballers that goes on behind the scenes with recovery and weights; pre-seasons, managing your body and things like that,” Harvey added.
“I put it down to preparation but I have been lucky, touchwood, that I haven’t had too many big injuries and none below the waist which slow players down. The biggest one was my elbow a few years back but I certainly feel good now. “I’ve always said, as long as my body and my mind are sound which it certainly is at this stage of the year, if Brad thinks I’m still contributing to the football club and I can contribute next year as well, then that’s my signal, I can keep going.”
Equal-fifth alongside Simon Madden on the all-time VFL/AFL games list with 378, Harvey is fast approaching the magical 400-barrier.
“I honestly don’t think about it (400). The only time I think about it is in every single interview I do the 400 gets brought up. I’m certainly not playing for 400 games, I’m playing to win a premiership. If I look too far ahead, I’ll just play footy and I won’t play good footy.
“I control what I’ve got control of right now. If I do that the rest will take care of itself, I certainly don’t look too far forward.”
The quality of North’s playing group has the veteran delighted to stick around at Arden Street.
“My mindset is I go out and I believe we can win every single game. As soon as that drops off I’ll retire. Win every game and you’re lucky enough to win a premiership.
“I’m very excited with where our group is at right now, yes we’ve had some inconsistencies this year… we’ve been really good and we’ve been really poor. As soon as we can iron that out and be a bit more even I think we can be a very good team.”
And when his playing days do eventually come to an end, Harvey certainly won’t be lost to the game.
“Whatever I do will be involved in football. I love the game, whether that’s a coaching role or I’ve been doing some special comments with a radio station, I really enjoy that.
“My first year at the North Melbourne footy club I was 17 and I was still completing year 12. I’ve never had another job, so whatever it is, it will be what I know and that’s footy.”
Harvey’s key achievements:
Archer-Hird Medal 2009, 2011
Lou Richards Medal 2007, 2008
Brownlow Medal runner up 2007
Syd Barker Medal 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010
Jim Stynes Medal 2003
International Rules captain 2008
International Rules 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008
All-Australian 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008
North Melbourne night grand final side 2000
E. J. Whitten Medal 1999
North Melbourne premiership side 1999
North Melbourne night premiership side 1998
North Melbourne grand final side 1998
North Melbourne reserves premiership side 1996