Fremantle Senior Coach Mark Harvey has been awarded Life Membership of the AFL for services to football.

The AFL today announced that Harvey would be one of seven new life members to be inducted at its Annual General Meeting later this month.

AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou said life membership was awarded to the current Fremantle coach and three-time Essendon premiership star for a combined playing and coaching tally of 300 games.

Harvey played 206 games for Essendon between 1984-97 and has coached Fremantle in 75 league games since taking over the role in 2007. His combined tally of premiership games, pre-season games and state games, both as a player and a coach, qualified him for Life Membership.

Former Adelaide Crows captain and dual premiership player Simon Goodwin, dual Geelong premiership defender Darren Milburn and Western Bulldogs’ midfielder Nathan Eagleton all qualified automatically during the 2010 season by reaching 300 games, while the Commission also conferred Life Membership on recently retired Geelong president Frank Costa, long-time Geelong Board member and former Geelong and Richmond player Gareth Andrews and 1988 Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy.

Demetriou said all seven men had served the game in outstanding fashion through their careers, and Life Membership was just reward for their efforts in building the game, either on-field as players or for their work off-field.

Harvey, who has been involved at the elite level as a player and a coach for 27 years, said he was indebted to the game and what it had done for him.

“I was always inspired to become the best footballer I could be, I was obsessed with the game from the age of five when I played footy on the street,” he said.

“I would go and watch my idols at Windy Hill for 15 years before I became a player there. To play with the guys I used to sit and watch in the grandstand and then to still be involved at this level 27 years later, it has just been a privilege and an honour to be part of the industry.

“You often wonder what it would have been like without football – without being involved in the game. It has taught me many great traits and I have formed a lot of great friendships over that period of time. You feel like you are indebted to the game, and you are.

“Wherever coaching heads, it heads but I need to be thankful to the game for what it has done for me.”

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