Number 57: The Battle of Britain

Number 57 – Russell Mitchell

Donning the rare number 57, mid-sized player Russell Mitchell was recruited from Geelong club Bell Post Hill and played two games for Geelong in 1985-1986.

At the beginning of 1985, Mitchell was playing with Bell Post Hill and thought he would try out for Geelong at the end of the year.  In a meteoric rise, he played three games for the Geelong Reserves before surprisingly being called up to senior action against eventual finalist North Melbourne in a clash at the MCG in round 16, 1985.  The game resulted in a very good Geelong win, featuring eight goals straight from Gary Ablett and another diligent 30-plus possession performance from “Diesel” Williams, who would go on to win the club best and fairest before being enticed to the Harbour City by Dr Edelsten and company.  In this match, Mitchell was statless.  He moved to the number 13 guernsey in 1986 and played in Geelong’s first round loss to Hawthorn in the night series at Waverley Park.  Shortly after, Mitchell was selected for the 1986 season opener against Fitzroy at Kardinia Park.  He collected 14 disposals in Geelong’s hiding at the hands of the Roy Boys.

Mitchell carved out a successful cricket career on the Geelong club scene, representing the Newtown-Chilwell Cricket Club.  He represented his club in more than 300 matches and played in several premierships in various elevens, primarily as a batsman.  Mitchell was the club’s Second XI captain in the 2011/12 season.

The number 57 at other clubs

North MelbourneAlastair Clarkson wore the number 57 in his first season in 1987, which included kicking a goal after the siren to sink Melbourne.  Clarkson wore 57 at the Oval when he king hit Carlton’s Ian Aitken in a spiteful post-season exhibition game in October 1987.

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