Born Wagin WA
15 March 1956
As a home-grown player, Stephen Michael achieved almost everything possible in Western Australian football. An athletic ruckman with tremendous courage and commitment, he was rated among the best WA footballers never to venture to Victoria.
Michael won two Sandover medals (1980-81) as the best player in the strong WA Football League, with a 12-vote margin in a record second year tally. He won the Tassie Medal for the best player in the 1983 Australian carnival after leading WA to victory over Victoria and South Australia; plus All Australian captaincy and the Simpson Medal as the best player against SA.
Michael won South Fremantle’s fairest and best award five times, 1977,78,79,81 and 1983 adding a premiership medallion in 1980, when he was among the team’s best players.
Born in Wagin, in WA’s Great Southern, Michael moved with his family to nearby Kojonup, where he developed his football skills, and was judged the best player in the district before joining South Fremantle in 1974, starting in the reserves.
The next year he played two reserves matches and on 12 April 1975, he graduated to the league team and went on to play 243 senior club games before injury forced a premature retirement at age 29, in 1985. The first 212 games were played consecutively.
An Aboriginal fiercely proud of his race and with unswerving loyalty to his family and friends, Michael never used his colour as an excuse or a reason for his career and its achievements; he regarded all people as equal.
His 1999 induction into the Australian Football League’s Hall of Fame was confirmation of his greatness.