Graham Michael

Courtesy of John Devaney at
Known as ‘The Flash’, Sturt’s Michael Graham was undoubtedly one of the most exciting footballers of the 1970s. He made his SANFL debut in 1971, and went on to play 282 club games over the ensuing fifteen seasons. His emergence coincided with a period of transition for Sturt, which had been far and away the dominant club in South Australia since the mid-1960s. With Graham very much to the fore, the club returned as a force from 1973 onwards, winning flags in 1974 and 1976, and finishing runner-up to Norwood in 1978. Second to Barrie Robran in the 1973 Magarey Medal count, and third in 1982, Michael Graham somewhat surprisingly never won Sturt’s best and fairest award, often seeming to reserve his most damaging performances for when it really mattered, such as in finals games, or the 11 interstate matches in which he played. During the summer months, Graham played in Darwin with St Marys, where he established a reputation as one of the finest players ever seen in the NTFL. Winner of the 1973-4 Nichols Medal, he landed Saints’ top award the same season, and played in two NTFL premiership teams. Best remembered as a half forward flanker, in which position he gained selection in Sturt’s official ‘Team of the Twentieth Century’, he was also an excellent wingman or centreman. He spent the 1986/7 season coaching NTFL club Darwin.