We continue our focus on top individual performances by Richmond Indigenous players past and present, as part of the Club’s ‘Dreamtime at the G’ celebrations this week, with Michael Mitchell’s dazzling deeds in 1990.
Michael Mitchell’s X-factor and capacity to generate sheer excitement on-field with Richmond was off the charts during the 1990 season.
The small, silky-skilled, speedster completed a truly unique double in what was the inaugural season of the AFL competition, winning both Mark of the Year and Goal of the Year.
Mitchell, renowned for his high-flying exploits, despite being just 173cm tall and weighing only 66kg, took Mark of the Year in the Tigers’ 79-point Round 5 victory over Fitzroy on Anzac Day at the MCG.
He propelled himself skywards, balanced on the shoulders of Lions defender Brett Stephens, before juggling the ball in one hand and then completing the mark as he fell to the ground.
Here’s how Channel Seven commentators at the match, Drew Morphett and Peter McKenna, described Mitchell’s mighty mark . . .
Drew Morphett: “Tackling’s pretty fierce. Whipped away by (Nathan) Bower. His kick, down towards half-forward flank. Mitchell . . . oh what a mark, Michael Mitchell! He was up there for a week and juggled it all the way down.”
Peter McKenna: “That will be the Mark of the Year, in my opinion. That is sensational.”
Mitchell had been a valuable contributor in Richmond’s big win that day, picking up 13 disposals, taking seven other marks and kicking three goals (3.2).
Just over four months later, in the Tigers’ final home-and-away round match of the 1990 season, against Sydney at the SCG, Mitchell clinched the unique double with a truly sensational six-pointer.
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 an incredible goal.
Here’s how esteemed Channel Seven football commentator Dennis Cometti described the 1990 Goal of the Year from the boot of the popular, gifted, little Tiger . . .
“Over the top Cloke, some spring there, knocked on by Smith, taken by Mitchell. Some speed here, look at him go. Michael Mitchell, a fourth bounce, he’s got it towards the 50. He wants to kick a goal, no question about that. ‘I want a goal’, Michael Mitchell says to himself. Great effort.”
Mitchell played a pivotal role in Richmond’s 30-point, final-round victory over the Swans on their home deck, finishing with 19 disposals, four marks and four goals.
That spectacular, seven-bounce goal was subsequently voted the Richmond Goal of the Century in 2008, as part of the Club’s AFL/VFL Centenary celebrations.
In a ‘Roar Vision’ interview five years ago, Mitchell modestly provided his recollection of THE goal...
“It was a long time ago. I’m not too certain if I got a crumb or a handball, but I had a bounce and it kind of opened up. Then, I think someone else ran in . . . I kept going and going and had a shot, and surprisingly it went through.”