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Nick Stevens

show_image.php?id=2337Career (Carlton): 2004 - 2009
Debut: Round 3, 2004 vs North Melbourne, aged 24 years, 98 days
Carlton Player No. 1077
Games: 104 (231 Overall)
Goals: 61 (139 Overall)
Last game: Elimination Final, 2009 vs Brisbane Lions, aged 29 years, 245 days
Guernsey No. 24
Height: 182cm
Weight: 85kg
DOB: 3 January, 1980



The departure of Victorian Nick Stevens from Port Adelaide at the end of 2003 was one of the biggest stories in the off-season for the AFL. Stevens wanted to go home; Melbourne, Carlton and Collingwood each wanted him in the stable. After playing 127 games in 6 seasons with Port (78 goals), Stevens was a prize worth winning.

History tells the story that Carlton won the war for the blonde right footer, with pick 2 in the Pre Season Draft. In his first three seasons with the Blues, Stevens became Carlton's key midfielder and would have played all games if it wasn't for a suspension carried over from Port's finals loss in 2003 against the Pies and an injury which kept him out of the final 2 games of 2006.

20 games in 2004 averaging 23.6 disposals was followed by 22 games at 21.8 in 2005, down a little as the season and injury and high levels of defensive attention from the opposition took its toll on "Stevo". In the Round 4 draw against former team Port Adelaide in 2005, Stevens set the all-time AFL record of most rebound 50s in a match with 17 which is still the highest ever recorded till date. Coming second in consecutive John Nicholls medals showed the value of Stevens to Carlton.

He played the first 20 games of 2006, initially in the midfield and later in the year was sent to half-back to provide some of his class drive out of defence. His late omission with a neck injury in Round 21 was the first time he had missed a game since debuting for Carlton in Round 3, 2004, ending an unbroken run of 62 matches. This may have affected him for some time prior to that and he also had to lead a young, inexperienced midfield with little support, minimal rotation and plenty of attention from taggers. He still averaged 23 disposals per game, an improvement on 2005 but for the first time since arriving at Carlton, he was not the club's leading possession winner, though still second. He again finished in the top 5 in the Best and Fairest, something he has achieved in each of his 3 years at Carlton.

Nick started off 2007 fit and injury free, in career best form and he played a key role in Carlton's successful Pre-season, culminating in a Best on Ground performance in the Pre-season Grand Final, to earn his second Michael Tuck Medal (his first was at Port Adelaide in 2002). He followed this up with another Best on Ground, 30 possession performance in Carlton's Round 1 victory over Richmond but suffered a recurrence of his neck problem over the next 2 weeks, which after 3 rounds required him to have neck surgery and miss the remainder of the year.

Stevens would be welcomed back with open arms to commence Season 2008, and he would take his place early in the pre-season as a strong sign of confidence in his neck. He played his 200th AFL match in Round 8. In the Round 13 match against Essendon, he had 30 disposals, 11 contested possessions, 2 goals, 7 clearances, 5 inside 50s and 7 running bounces. In the absence of Chris Judd, Nick captained the Blues to a 30-point victory over Richmond in Round 14 in a best-on-ground effort where he had 26 disposals, 8 contested possessions, 10 tackles, a goal, 7 inside 50s and 2 goal assists. In the Round 17 win over the 2nd-placed Western Bulldogs, Stevens had 31 disposals, 4 clearances, 7 inside 50s, 3 assists and a goal. He continued his good form in the following week's loss to Adelaide when he had 32 disposals, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 assists and a goal. In the record come-from-behind win over Brisbane in Round 21, Stevens had 35 disposals, 4 clearances, 12 inside 50s and a goal.

Given it was his first year back from a career-threatening neck injury, Stevens had a very solid year.

Stevens would suffer bumps late in the 2009 season, causing a stiff neck and pins and needles down his arm. A routine end-of-season check-up with his neck surgeon revealed a level C7/8 rupture on the vertebrae, meaning that continuing to play football might result in him becoming a quadriplegic. He was therefore left with "no option" but to retire from AFL at just 29.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten said it was disappointing to lose someone as experienced as Stevens. "He has played a vital role in the development of the younger players at the club through his leadership and there has never been a question on his ability to win and use the ball. At his peak he has certainly been one of the elite midfielders in the AFL."

All-up over 200 games (100 at each of his Clubs) in an 11-year career and a fine leader in Carlton's dark days, Nick Stevens will be remembered fondly for nailing some of the most brilliant passes you will ever see.

Prior to be recruited by Port Power, Stevens had played for the Northern Knights U/18's, and before that St Mary's.

In 2010, Stevens was appointed as an assistant coach to Bulldog's great Rohan Smith for the NSW/ACT Rams U/18's. Stevens is also an assistant coach with the NSW/ACT Rams U/16's team. Stevens held this position also in 2011, in addition he was the part-time midfield coach for Richmond in 2011.

Stevens was appointed as the coach of TAC Cup club Gippsland Power for the 2012 season. Stevens coached the Power to the finals in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, in his time at the helm he helped nurture future Blues draftee Nick Graham and highly recommended the youngster to the Blues. Stevens took up the challenge of senior coaching by accepting the role as coach of SANFL team Glenelg for the 2014 season.


Milestones

50 Games (Carlton): Round 8, 2006 vs St Kilda
100 Games (Carlton): Round 19, 2009 vs Geelong
150 Games (AFL): Round 3, 2005 vs Collingwood
200 Games (AFL): Round 8, 2008 vs Brisbane

Career Highlights

2004 - 2nd Best & Fairest
2005 - 2nd Best & Fairest
2005 - Most Carlton Votes in the Brownlow Medal
2005 - Pre-Season Premiership Team
2006 - 5th Best & Fairest
2007 - Leadership Group
2007 - Pre-Season Premiership Player
2007 - Michael Tuck Medal
2008 - Vice Captain
2008 - 6th Best and Fairest

Articles: Waiting to play Finals Footy

Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Nick Stevens | Career Breakdown | Stevens' Blueseum Image Gallery