Michael Mitchell is Richmond’s Homecoming Hero for the 2017 ‘Dreamtime at the ‘G’ clash with Essendon.
The Tigers will pay tribute to Mitchell during the pre-game build-up to this Saturday night’s Round 10 blockbuster.
Mitchell, who played 81 games for Richmond from 1987-1991, will walk to the Punt Road end of the ground, where he’ll be warmly welcomed home by the Tiger Army.
He’ll kick a ceremonial goal, then sign the football and present it to a Richmond fan in the crowd.
Highlights of Mitchell’s exciting playing career with the Tigers also will be shown on the MCG’s screens.
Mitchell joined Richmond from WAFL club Claremont, where he’d won the competition’s Sandover Medal in 1984 and finished runner-up the following year.
He’d earned a reputation for being lightning fast, a strong tackler, highly-skilled, and an amazing mark for a player just 173cm tall and weighing only 66kg.
One particular mark he took while playing for Claremont is rated by many who saw it as the greatest of all time. Mitchell literally stood bolt upright on his opponent’s back that day to drag down the ultimate “specky”.
Not surprisingly, Mitchell won Mark of the Year for that incredible effort – a feat he was to emulate at AFL level with Richmond in Round 5 of the 1990 season against Fitzroy at the MCG, when he balanced on the shoulders of Lions defender Brett Stephens, before juggling the ball in one hand and then completing the grab.
In the final home-and-away round of that 1990 season, Mitchell completed a unique double, winning Goal of the Year, for a sensational six-pointer against the Sydney Swans at the SCG.
After gathering the ball deep in defence ‘Mitch’ decided to take the game on in typically bold, dashing style.
He took a bounce, then another, followed by five more (a grand total of seven), before calmly slotting it through for a brilliant, inspirational goal.
In 2008, as part of Richmond’s VFL/AFL Centenary celebrations, that 1990 goal by Mitchell against Sydney was voted the Tigers’ Goal of the Century.
The 1988 season was Mitchell’s best in his time at Tigerland. He finished second in the Club’s Best and Fairest award that year, polled 12 Brownlow Medal votes, which was just eight behind the winner, Sydney’s Gerard Healy, and kicked 33 goals.
His best goal return in a year with Richmond was 37 in his 1987 debut season of league football.
And his best goal tally in a match for the Tigers was five, which he scored twice, both times during the 1988 season – against Sydney at the SCG in Round 14 and against North Melbourne at the MCG in Round 18.
‘Mitch’ was a ‘pocket rocket’, who thrilled the Yellow and Black faithful with his exhilarating exploits.
While Maurice Rioli is acknowledged as the Tigers’ greatest-ever Indigenous player, Michael Mitchell compares favorably with him in terms of his X-factor and capacity to generate sheer excitement on the field of battle.
Here is a list of Richmond's Homecoming Heroes since 2014...
|2014, Rd 2: Michael Green||2014, Rd 4: Kevin Bartlett||2014, Rd 6: Bryan Wood|
|2014, Rd 13: Kevin Morris||2014, Rd 14: Wayne Walsh||2014, Rd 16: Barry Richardson|
|2014, Rd 19: Rex Hunt||2014, Rd 20: Francis Bourke||2015, Rd 2: Bill Barrot|
|2015, Rd 5: Andrew Kellaway||2015, Rd 7: Mark Lee||2015, Rd 9: Derek Peardon|
|2015, R12: Dale Weightman||2015, R15: Matthew Richardson||2015, R17: Dick Clay|
|2015, R20: Barry Rowlings||2016, R6: Matthew Rogers||2016, R7: Jake King|
|2016, R8: Nick Daffy||2016, R12: Nathan Foley||2016, R14: Dan Jackson|
|2016, R17: Scott Turner||2016, R20: Jim Jess||2016, R21: John Ronaldson|
|2016, R22: Graeme Bond||2017, R2: Roger Dean||2017, R3: Richard Clay|
|2017, R8: Mick Malthouse||2017, R10: Michael Mitchell|