Quickest Catley of them all

Question: What do you get when you cross a Cheetah with a Kangaroo?

Answer: Shaun Atley


As clever as it gets but as cheeky as hell, Shaun Atley is my kind of bloke.

Hard to read on the surface but as observant and perceptive as they come, the fact that this lightning quick North Melbourne star could fly somewhat under the radar during his 154 game career with the Kangaroos seems to me like a twisted contradiction.

In fact the only thing seemingly not at break-neck speed in the life of Shaun Atley is his completely relaxed nature.

The laid back country buy from Corop has a quick wit, an even quicker 40-metre sprint, and along with seven of his Kangaroo teammates, is on track to complete his Certificate III in Carpentry at the Trade Institute of Victoria (TIV) in the quickest time possible.

Quick – Quicker – Quickest.

That’s Shaun Atley

And while I don’t profess to know him well, when it comes to managing a bunch of great blokes and TIV Carpentry students, Atley and his North Melbourne teammates are in a league of their own.


“That’s usually the way I like to go about it,” Atley says when asked of his unobtrusive style and reaching 150 AFL games in quick fashion..

“I guess I’ve been really lucky not having any serious injuries throughout my career, and was playing in a fairly successful team that played finals through 2013-2015 also,” he adds.

When the guard comes down and the jokes are put aside, Shaun Atley is a highly intuitive man and just a damn good bloke.

As one of the leaders and more experienced players of the “Arden Street 8” Atley has great foresight and is acutely aware of the need to meticulously plan for the life after football.

“I’ve always had a strong interest in Building and Construction and that stemmed from enjoying doing woodwork back at school,” Atley says.

“A couple of years ago I found a Construction Management course which I’ve been gradually chipping away at but it’s predominately a classroom based bookwork course and I wanted something more hands on,” he adds.

“The opportunity to do the Cert III in Carpentry at TIV popped up, and we all jumped at the chance.”

If Richmond were the pioneers and first of seven Victorian AFL clubs to join and graduate from TIV, North Melbourne are the new and improved model – and I most certainly do not say that lightly.
The Tigers set a particularly high standard during their time at TIV as far as their professionalism, reliability and commitment to the program was concerned, but the Atley led Kangaroos have taken it to a whole new level.
“I’m really enjoying it at TIV – loving it,” Atley says.
“I’m currently doing some renovations on my own house so it’s great to actually gain the knowledge and be educated by good trainers so I understand what’s going on at home,” he adds.
“I’d like to start off (once qualified) on the tools as a Carpenter and then move into a management role at some stage down the track.”
In true Atley fashion, he is quick to acknowledge his teammates and those who have assisted him thus far at TIV.
“It really helps with a bigger group,” Atley says. “If any of the boys are having a flat day, you can be sure that Turbo (Scott Thompson) and the fellas will get him up and drag him through.”

“It’s never boring out there, particularly with big Prewsy (Brayden Preuss) giving a bit of lip to all the boys.”

The importance of educating and preparing AFL players for life after football has increased exponentially in recent times, and Shaun Atley agrees.

“The first couple of years (as a player) you’re really trying to just adjust to the AFL system,” Atley says.

“It’s not until later in your career you start to seriously consider what to you are going to do after football because we know it’s not going to last forever,” he adds matter-of-factly.

So what is it about TIV’s Certificate III in Carpentry program that impresses a man like Shaun Atley?

“It’s the whole package really – the people at TIV are really helpful and welcoming, the facilities are first class and to be able to do a Carpentry course that is so hands on without having to flog out an apprenticeship over four years is obviously a very attractive option for AFL players across the board,” he says.

The Kangaroos are on pace to become qualified Carpenters in no time, and the quickest Cat-ley of them all is one of the major reasons why.

Quick – Quicker – Quickest

That’s Shaun Atley.

Author: Aaron Lord

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