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Michael Aish Famous Australian Rules Football Player

He played exclusively for the Norwood Football club in the South Australian National Football League.

Michael Aish was born and raised in Adelaide and started playing Aussie rules football in 1979. Although he received many offers throughout his career to play in the Victorian Football League, he never left Norwood.

Michael Aish belonged to a football family and started playing at an early age. His talent won him many awards during his football career. He was also the captain of Norwood and won its Best and Fairest award many times. That aside, he played a couple of interstate matches and even led the team as a captain.

Michael Aish

Michael Aish was one of the first members of the South Australian Hall of Fame after it was formed.
Despite never having played in the AFL (or VFL as it was known back then), Michael Aish was popular and famous. His skills were thought highly of by experts around the country, which led to numerous offers coming his way. Even though the lure of a lucrative pay packet was tempting, Michael Aish remained at the club he had signed up for as a teenager.

In recognition of his services to Australian Rules football, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal. He is also a part of Norwood’s Team of the Century though Michael Aish retired after Norwood’s loss in the Grand Final.

Playing Career

Michael Aish made his debut in Australian Rules football in 1979. He was eighteen when he started playing for the Norwood Football Club. Norwood is also known as Redlegs and its home ground is Coopers Stadium, which gained fame as “The Parade”. The Redlegs is one of the most popular teams in the SANFL.

Throughout his career, he was pursued by various clubs in the Victorian Football League. He was even offered a significant amount of money to move to Melbourne and start playing there. However, he was loyal to Norwood and resisted offers continually. He was a valuable player to Norwood and the club paid to keep him in its midst.

This was the SANFL Player Retention Scheme; leagues would pay to keep their best players from moving to the VFL. The Player Retention Scheme also aided him with his resistance. Another reason why he probably never moved to Melbourne to play for the VFL is because all the footballers in his family have been associated with Norwood. The money offered by Norwood to Michael Aish for his services made him one of the highest paid players ever in the SANFL, which was incentive enough for him to resist offers from other clubs.

Although Norwood did reach several Grand Finals, they only made it to two Premierships. Michael Aish was on both Premiership teams.

The 1982 Grand Final

The 1982 Grand Final was played between Glenelg Football Club and the Norwood Redlegs. The team had faced Glenelg in various other seasons. However, this season Norwood was strong. Michael Aish gave one of the best performances of his career in this Grand Final and drove the Redlegs to secure the Premiership victory. Michael Aish’s outstanding contribution in the Premiership game was awarded by a Best and Fairest award from the club, capping off one of his best seasons for the club.

The 1984 Grand Final

The Port Adelaide Football Club, also known as the Magpies, is an Aussie Rules club in the SANFL. The Norwood Redlegs and the Magpies are traditional archrivals. The 1984 Grand Final marked two of the greatest clubs in the SANFL going head to head for the Premiership flag. Both the teams started strong and did not show any weakness the entire season.

When the two teams came face to face in the Grand Final, they were neck to neck. However, Norwood had Michael Aish who was at the peak of his skills. He yet again drove the Redlegs to a historic victory. Michael Aish won his third Best and Fairest medal from Norwood the same year. This was the team’s last Premiership victory until Michael Aish’s retirement and his second and last Premiership win as well. The Redlegs were not able to secure another Premiership until 1997. They recently won a Premiership in 2012 as well.

The 1993 Grand Final

The Woodville-West Torrens Football Club is an Australian Rules football club in the SANFL. The club was formed in 1993. The club is nicknamed as the Eagles and its home ground is Woodville Oval. The at-the-time newly formed and relatively inexperienced club came face to face with the Norwood Redlegs, a club that had been formed in 1878.

Besides being around for more than a century, the Redlegs had won 26 Premierships and were expecting to win the 27th against the Eagles. Although the Eagles was relatively new, it played fairly well and did the unexpected by defeating Norwood. Maybe it was a defeat at the hands of underdogs that caused Michael Aish to contemplate retiring from the game.

After the 1993 Grand Final, Michael Aish announced his retirement from football. He played with the Redlegs for 14 years and played 307 games for them. He scored 449 games in the games that he played.

Career as Captain

Michael Aish was made Captain of the Redlegs in 1987. He was an outstanding player and his form improved even more once he became the captain. Though he did not manage to win the Premiership as captain of Norwood, he led the club to the Stanley H. Lewis Trophy the same year. He remained the team captain for another two years. Michael Aish also captained South Australia when he played for the state in 1986 and 1989.

Awards And Achievements

Michael Aish won the Margley Medal in 1981; he was 20 at the time. The Margley Medal is awarded annually to the Fairest and Most Brilliant players in the South Australian National Football League. The medal is awarded based on the feedback provided by the umpires. This award is considered the highest individual honour in the SANFL.

Michael Aish also won the club’s Best and Fairest award four times between 1981 and 1992. Two of these wins came in the two seasons the club managed to win the Premiership while Michael Aish was playing there.

The Fos William Medal, which is awarded annually to the best Aussie rules player, was given to players from South Australia during interstate matches. Michael Aish won the award in 1983 while representing South Australia.

The All-Australian team is selected at the end of every season by a panel. The idea is to form an All-Star team of Aussie Rules players. This team never plays because no other country is able to form a team of the same quality. Michael Aish was named as an All-Australian player in both 1983 and 1986. Michael Aish was also named as the ruck in the Norwood Team of the Century. These aside, he is also a Norwood Life member since 1988.

After he was named as a Norwood Life member, the following year in 1989, Michael Aish was also named as a SANFL life member. He represented South Australia in 15 state games and even led the team as their captain in 1986 and 1989.

When the South Australian Football Hall Of Fame was formed in 2002, they inducted 113 initial members. Michael Aish was one of the inaugural inductees of the Hall Of Fame, a testament to his stature in the game.

On 24 October 2000, Michael Aish was awarded the Australian Sports Medal, which is an award given to athletes in recognition of their achievements in an Australian Sport. This was because he received highest honour award in South Australian Football, the Magarey Medal. It can be said that there was little left for Michael Aish to achieve by the time he retired from the game, so he timed his retirement to perfection like most of his kicks and throws.

Personal Life

Michael Aish was born in a footballing family. His father was Peter Aish, also a former Norwood player. Michael Aish’s father was the captain and coach of the club. Peter played for Norwood from 1953 to 1962. He retired the year after Michael Aish was born and played 162 games for the team.
Michael Aish was born on 21st February, 1961 in North Adelaide, Australia. He was Peter’s second son. He has an older brother and a younger sister. His older brother Andrew Aish also played Australian Football for Norwood. His sister Susan, played softball and netball for South Australia.

The Aish family legacy is still living on with Michael Aish’s nephew and Andrew’s son. James Aish is sixteen and is known as the “Norwood Wonder kid”. If he continues playing the way he has been doing of late, he may be able to emulate, if not match his uncle’s achievements for the club and the game.

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