Mick Cleeland's Ticket to Immortality
Mick Cleeland's Ticket to
A film by Malcolm McKinnon
Football Stories from Country Victoria, An initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the State Library of Victoria, 2007
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Malcolm McKinnon, 2006.
Mick Cleeland recounts the 1990 Grand Final in the Picola Football League and his unlikely role in bringing home the Premiership for Waaia.
Archival video courtesy of Adrian Bennett. Thank you to Waaia Football Club and Tom Greenaway.
MICK CLEELAND: Well, that's the situation. We were five points down. We had a boundary throw-in over here. Ball gets thrown in, gets knocked down, gets tapped back towards me.
Miraculously enough, I'd been paid a free kick for too high. I'm not sure that the free kick was there. To this day, we still haven't worked out what happened there. A Blighty player, after he hears the whistle for the free kick, slams the ball on the ground, 50 meters.
Siren goes. Everything erupts. Opposition, Blighty, come tearing out of here. They think they've won the game. The scores were 15-18 to 18-5 at that stage, so they had every right to think they were-- with 18 goals on the board that they'd won the game.
I've still got the ball in me hand. Umpire comes over and says, you can take your kick. Couple of my teammates were rushing in, saying, if you kick this, we can still win.
And right here-- you know, the people were rushing onto the ground now. At this stage, everyone's everywhere. It's just-- you sort of had to break through people to get to where you were going.
And the umpire's going up to the 50-meter line. And of course, they're all celebrating. So there's only-- I think there might have been one player or two players out of their side realized what was going on.
And he'd made it to the goal line, basically. And there was no one on the mark, because no one was interested in what was going on. [CHUCKLES] So right through here-- I never stopped once. I got to here. I just kept jogging until he pointed on the mark, and I never stopped. Just jogged in and like a torpedo. And the rest was history, I suppose.
[OTHER SIDE BOOING]
And then if you thought that was erupting over there, well, the display when I was over other side of game was something to behold. I thought I was going to be choked to death, actually. There was that many people all over there. And yeah, pretty exciting stuff.
I guess I played all my junior footy at Waaia. And my dream as a young bloke was always to kick a goal like that after the siren. And to do that for your own town and win a Grand Final-- I mean, just to win a game is normally pretty exciting, but to do it in a Grand Final, every now and then, you relive the moment, and it's an amazing feeling. Sort of get a chill up your spine now even still.
Yeah, but just to-- I suppose to win a Grand Final off your own boot, in that respect, with one kick-- I was just lucky to have that opportunity, I suppose. I feel very grateful for it.