HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Stephen Albert MICHAEL
|Date of Birth||15th March 1956|
GAMES: 260: South Fremantle 243; WA 17
HONOURS: Sandover Medal 1980-81; South Fremantle fairest and best 1977-79, 81, 83; Simpson Medal 1983; Tassie Medal 1983; All Australian Captain 1983; AFL Hall of Fame 1999; South Fremantle Football Club Hall of legends 1995; Fremantle Sporting Wall of Fame 2000.
Regarded by many as the greatest player never to play in the VFL/AFL. At his peak, there was certainly no shortage of attempts to lure Stephen Michael from South Fremantle. Geelong is rumoured to have offered him as much as $80,000 a year, a massive amount of money in 1983. But Michael stayed put and carved out a special place in football folklore. He arrived at Fremantle from Kojonup in 1975 and played 212 consecutive matches. By 1980 he was arguably the competition’s best player and, along with centre man Maurice Rioli and rover Noel Carter, the driving force behind a South Fremantle premiership. He beat Carter for the Sandover Medal that year and repeated the success the following year with a recorded 37 votes. Rose to national prominence in 1983 when he changed his game from high-leaping ruck man to enforcer.
It was controversial but he won the simpson Medal against South Australia and then led WA to a national football title against Victoria at Subiaco Oval, winning the Tassie Medal. Ahead of his time, big, strong, fast and brave – few if any players of his era had his capacity to influence matches.