McGuane family among the toughest of them all

By Richard Jones

Most of us in Central Victoria are familiar with the exploits of legendary Collingwood player Mick McGuane who coached Gisborne to two BFNL flags.

Mick played 152 games with the AFL’s Pies highlighted by the 1990 premiership.

Ironically in his mid-teens he’d been left off a St Kilda junior development list and it was then that Collingwood swooped.

At 19 Mick finished runner-up in the Pies’ Copeland Trophy just behind the “Macedonian Marvel”, Peter Daicos.

And of course in 1994 in a big match against Carlton he kicked one of the greatest individual goals ever seen at the MCG. He took off, had seven bounces and booted what should have been the goal-of-the-year.

Normally that feat would have won him the car for the AFL officially sanctioned goal-of-the-year.

“But no,” said Mick later. “That was won by Gary Ablett for his huge one-handed grab over Gary Pert and the goal that followed.

“I got $1500 in petrol vouchers , but I couldn’t use them --- not that year, anyway --- because I’d lost my licence.”

But it’s Mick’s father I want to focus in on here.

Bryan McGuane had been badly burned in a near fatal accident when he was just nine years old.

“Dad had been mucking about with an old disused stove. He lit a match and there was one almighty explosion,” Mick said.

“He was so badly burned all down his right side that he had only one thin layer of skin left.

“Danny Frawley’s father and mother, Brian and Shirley, picked him up from the side of the road. He was in a coma for a week and on his back for seven months,” Mick recalled.

“Doctors told him that was it. No footy. But Dad being Dad he didn’t listen and played anyway.”


After Mick’s grandparents had died his father’s siblings, including Dad Bryan McGuane, took over the family potato farm.

The work was long and tough so that ruled out any  thoughts of a VFL career even though Bryan kicked four goals against noted half-back Laurie Hill in a Collingwood practice match in the mid-Sixties.

“But he came back to play 288 bush games for Sebastopol, all in the seniors. He was what we’d probably called “under-sized” these days.

“Dad was just 178 cm (5 ft. 10 ins) but he was tough and still played centre half-forward and was well respected --- from teammates and opponents alike,” Mick remembers.

Early in the 1975 Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh grand final at Darley, and playing for Sebastopol against Dunnstown, McGuane snr. was king hit

“It left a huge egg over one eye but Dad got up, the team rallied and Sebas. won the flag,” Mick said.

Now for those of us associated with the BFNL, we remember Mick McGuane as Gisborne senior coach when the Dogs won the 2002 and 2003 flags.

He also coached flag-winning teams at Burnie in Tasmania and two more at Keilor.

He was a passionate coach, introducing mandatory early morning training sessions for the Gisborne Dogs which led to his side probably turning out as the fittest in the BFNL.

And of course under McGuane’s watch with victories at the Gardiner Reserve being as scarce as hen’s teeth for visiting clubs the ground  became known --- semi-officially, at least –- as the Graveyard.

Steven ‘Revenue’ Reaper (or ‘The Action Attraction’, if you prefer) confessed at last November‘s BFNL Hall of Fame induction night he was never very diligent when it came to the training track.

And apparently Mickey got on his case especially at Gisborne’s early morning training sessions if ‘The Big Show’ Reapy arrived a bit late.


[with thanks to noted sports historian and writer Ken Piesse who specialises in footy and cricket histories.]

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