2023 Queensland Football Hall of Fame – Michael McCormick

Michael McCormick moved to Queensland for a change of lifestyle. A footballing great from the tiny Murray River town of Mathoura, he was looking for some sun when he relocated to the Gold Coast in 1981.

So began a commitment of more than 40 years to Queensland football that is as understated as it has been important.

Born in Echuca, not far from Mathoura and home to modern day AFL players Ollie Wines, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney, and AFL Hall of Famer and four-time Melbourne premiership player Jack Mueller, he was a premiership player during a career of 350 games with Mathoura. He was as well-known as anyone in the town of barely 1,000, which is known by the Aboriginal word for ‘windy’.

He’d had enough of the wind when he headed north, beginning his association with Australian football as a junior coach at Broadbeach before later managing the licensed club.

Known almost exclusively as ‘Tiger’, he became president of the Gold Coast Football League in the early 1990s and was instrumental in the formation of the Queensland State Football League in late 1996, which restructured the game in the State’s south-east, bringing together clubs from Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Recognised for his pivotal role in this key initiative with appointment by the AFL as inaugural QSFL president, he was also an inaugural member of the AFL Queensland Commission in 2000-01, a role he held for eight years, and was the Queensland representative on the Australian Country Football Council. He received an AFL Merit Award in 2013.

Critically, he led the rally against the proposed abandonment of the annual country championships and served as President of the Queensland Country Football League before sitting on the Australian Country Football League as the popular country championships continued to flourish.

Michael served as an Ambassador for the South Queensland team in the annual North v South game until 2021. Always looking to champion the cause of minor league players through representative football, he was instrumental in helping Ryan Holman (Goondiwindi), Daniel Dzufer (Sunshine Coast), Geoff Pemberton (Cairns), Mark Mooney (Mackay) and Clint Watts (Gold Coast), among others, win All-Australian Country selection, and paving the way for a large crop of country players join State League clubs.

He also was involved in the formation of the Gold Coast Aussie Rules Club, a hugely popular social entity for southern football players, officials and supporters living on the tourist strip.

A life-time Carlton supporter, he has been as loyal to the Blues as he has been to his wife of more than 50 years Vonda. But in a weak moment he might admit he made a questionable decision to get married on the day of the great Carlton v Collingwood grand final in 1970, when the Blues came from 44 points down at halftime to win by 10 after a late cameo from Ted Hopkins, 19th man who joined the game at halftime and kicked four goals in the second-last game of a career that spanned just 29 games and 10 goals.

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