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Michael O’Loughlin Former Aussie Rules Football Player

Michael O’Loughlin is one of the most recognized Indigenous Australian players in the AFL.

Michael O’Loughlin is a former Aussie Rules Football player who played for the Sydney Swans. He was born on 20 February, 1977, and is also known as “Micky O”. Michael is of Indigenous ancestry and is one of the most recognized Indigenous Australian players to ever play in the AFL. He has received many awards in recognition of his skills and achievements.

He grew up in South Australia and began his playing career at a local club. His skills as a young footballer were noticed by the Swans and he was recruited by the club in 1994. Early on in his career, Michael O’Loughlin established himself as a key player for the Sydney Swans. A year after he had made his debut for the Swans, O’Loughlin was up for the AFL Rising Star Award.

Michael O'Loughlin

Although he was a consistently brilliant player and any other club would have been happy to sign him, Michael O’Loughlin remained loyal to the Swans who had given him his big break. During his career, the Swans were not able to win many Premierships, but he remained one of their most popular and successful players. After retiring in 2009, he coached for a brief while. He even founded a foundation for the empowerment of Indigenous Australians.

In addition, Michael O’Loughlin won many awards, including the Fos Williams Medal and the Bob Skilton Medal.

Early Playing Career

Michael O’Loughlin started his playing with the Central District Football Club in the South Australian National Football League. Since he grew up in South Australia, Central was the best place for him to start playing senior football. He was a talented player and showed immense potential. His skills and dedication towards the sport eventually caught the eye of the Swans.

Career In The AFL

Michael O’Loughlin was recruited by the Sydney Swans in the third round of the National Draft of 1994. The following year he was nominated for the AFL Rising Star Award despite having played only 12 games up to that point. This was a testament to his contribution to the team from the outset. The Swans won a minor Premiership in 1996 and he was a key player for the team at the time. Although the team lost to North Melbourne in the Grand Final, Michael O’Loughlin made a name for himself.

Michael O’Loughlin played for the Swans as a half-forward flanker. He was exceptionally fast, strong and incredibly agile, these skills making him a difficult mark for opposition teams. He was also known as ‘Magic’ because of his tremendous speed.

He spent his entire playing career with the Swans and not once did he try to move to any other club in the league. Although the Swans were not able to win any Premierships, Michael did not seek a move to a more successful club. In 2005, the Swans once again made it to the Grand Final. He gave an incredible performance in the Grand Final. However, his goal kicking couldn’t bring the title to Sydney. This performance ended a lean patch for Michael O’Loughlin.

The Swans lost the game but were glad to have Michael O’Loughlin back in form. The following year, in the 2006 AFL season, Michael O’Loughlin led the Swans to the Grand Final again. This time their opponents were the West Coast Eagles. Although he put up an astounding display, the Swans were not able to win the game, eventually losing out by just one point. On 23 June 2009, Michael O’Loughlin announced his retirement from Australian Rules football. He retired from the game after a rewarding 14-year career with the Swans. By that time he had played exactly 300 games for the Swans. His last and 300th game was against the Richmond Tigers.

Most players take on coaching full-time after retirement. Michael O’Loughlin, on the other hand, has coached only for a short time until now. He is more focused on his media career.

Career As A Coach

Michael O’Loughlin started coaching an indigenous team, the Flying Boomerangs, in 2010. He coached them on the team’s tour to Cape Town. He proved to be a great coach. He led the Boomerangs to a staggering victory against the South Africa National Australian Rules Football Team. His services as a coach were greatly appreciated. Michael O’Loughlin was even named as coach of the World 18 for the AFL National Under-16 Championships.

Michael O’Loughlin returned to coach the Indigenous All-Star team in 2011. The team was to go up against the Richmond Tigers. That was back in 2011 and he hasn’t returned to coaching. However, Michael O’Loughlin has been quite active in running his foundation that is dedicated to helping Indigenous Australians in all walks of life.

Career Post-AFL

Following his retirement, Michael O’Loughlin founded a foundation with Adam Goodes, also an Indigenous Australian Footballer. The foundation is called the Goodes-O’Loughlin Foundation and aims at helping Indigenous Australians. The foundation’s goal is to help Indigenous Australians achieve their goals in life and empowering them.

The foundation focuses on providing quality education, a healthy lifestyle and employment.

Achievements and Awards

• Michael O’Loughlin was the Swans’ leading goalkicker in 2000 and 2001. In addition, he also won the club’s best and fairest award in 1998. He was the runner-up for the best and fairest award in 2000.
• He made the All-Australian team in 1997 and then again in 2000.
• Michael O’Loughlin was a state representative for several games in 1998.
• He was named the best South Australian Player and won the Fos William Medal in 1998.
• Michael O’Loughlin made it into the Indigenous Team of the Century as a full-forward.
This was in 2005 and he described it as “the highlight of his career”.

O’Loughlin’s achievements also include:

• Nominated for the AFL Rising Star Award in 1995
• Winner of the Bob Skilton Medal in 1998
• Played in the International Rules Series in 1997 and then in 2000
• Michael O’Loughlin was part of the Premiership team in 2005
• He won the Deadly Awards in 2005 and again in 2009.
• Was named as the Male Sportsperson of the Year in 2009

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