Footy: Mighty Mick Conlan continues to stir powerful memories

Even though I grew up a Shinboner, my recent work sojourn to Sydney brought back memories of a great moment of watching VFL/AFL games that didn’t involve the boys from Arden Street.

As I write I can sense the grumblings out Windy Hill way.

It was one of those moments that would not be out of place in the ‘AFL Greatest Moments’ collection.

After two days of looking at and crunching those same numbers, QF 463 from Sydney to Melbourne became the backdrop to my moment of recollection.

Sitting but a few rows in front of me was the (still) powerfully built Mick Conlan. Having sighted Mick, I quickly texted my wife to confirm whether or not it was Mick’s physical presence that made her weak at the knees to which I received the very quick reply that it was Doug Barwick. If a response can be terse by text, this was it. How dare I forget! That put a quick end to that ‘conversation’.

Anyhow, I digress.

Those grumblings from the inner north west of Melbourne have probably got louder by now if they are old enough to remember the moment or have had the story, embellished or otherwise passed down from another generation.

If you are still unaware to the setting to which I refer: it was the Elimination Final in 1986 between Essendon and Fitzroy at Waverley Park; renowned for being cold, wet and windy between April and September.

The weather lived up to expectation; both Essendon and Fitzroy struggled to kick goals that day but the most important goal of this elimination game was the last one kicked by mighty Mick Conlan, who had been held virtually kickless all day.

Late in the last quarter, the reigning premiers, Essendon, lead by five points. Leon Harris received the ball from Paul Roos in the centre who roosted the ball forward to an unmarked Mick Conlan in the forward pocket. Under pressure from the time clock, a greasy ball and a sharp angle (certainly not from an Essendon opponent), Conlan kicked true to eliminate Sheedy’s men.

An old work colleague of mine would be jealous of my sighting this past Friday. Knowing his love for Fitzroy, he would probably be proud of me also for remembering such an event. Let me assure this colleague and all the other ‘Roy Boys’, the bullocking No.12 from Tasmania looks physically capable of still matching it with the best and producing that match winning play again and again and again …

Memo to Toyota: for all footy fans, particularly those of ‘old Fitzroy’, if you are planning on producing any more advertisements, you could do no worse than to look back to the finals series of 1986. I am sure even Essendon supporters wouldn’t mind.

Who knows? Perhaps he was on his way to film said commercial and his luggage contained the trusty old No.12 jumper.

About Stephen George

I am an avid sports fan who admires anyone who can play or participate in sport at pretty much any level. My favourite sports are AFL, soccer, Major League Baseball, Rugby League and NFL. I have recently finished my Diploma in Sports Journalism and I am interested in improving my skills by contributing to the Footy Almanac


  1. I remember the match and Micky’s efforts well. I was stuck in inner Sydney with an Essendon mate watching the game, the conditions and low score making for a very tense arvo. Micky hadn’t done much until he put the ball through the big sticks with a minute or so to go, deep in the right forward zone. I went mad in that tiny, terrace lounge room.

    Royboys the world over – we are everywhere – often cite this magical Micky moment as their favourite example of sheer, unadulterated, Royboy bliss.

  2. Ah..the sweet memory. I had no voice for a week after that game and Mick was my favourite Roy Boy. Brute strength, speed and power. Would be a champion in today’s game and as a Fitzroy Tragic, still watch the mighty Roys and scream for Nbr 12.

  3. John McDonald says

    I remember Mick Conlan,playing rugby union in Canberra as an 11 year old at fullback,no kid could get near him,his power and speed was awesome then.

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