The Sherwood Football Club family all have heavy hearts as they grapple with the news of the sudden passing of club stalwart Stephen Mitchell late last week
All at the club and the wider Brisbane AFL community send their condolences and heart felt prayers and thoughts to his sons Drew and Luke and to Karen and the extended Mitchell family. Drew and Luke have been top line players for the Magpies in recent seasons, with Drew a club captain for 2 years and a Bill Peirce Medallist and Karen is from Sherwood football royalty, with her father Ray Lang and mother Flo Lang both Life Members of the club.
Steve was larger than life and a fixture at the Magpies for almost 50 years since he started as a snowy haired 10 year old junior before graduating through the ranks to Senior football, where he was a hard and tough half back flanker then a strong and uncompromising fullback.
He was described by both Kevin Kluver and Des Lashman as a hard, no nonsense footballer and the ultimate team man who possessed a beautiful long 50 metre kick. His kicking was so good he won a QAFL Goalkicking competition.
He played in 8 junior premierships for Sherwood before having 2 seasons with Western Districts at Under 17 level then returned to the Magpies to play in three SQAFA Senior Premierships--1980 under Lindsay Jacob and in 1981 and 1982. under Warren Selvage.
He also coached a number of junior Sherwood teams in the 1980s and 1990s and was Reserves coach in the inaugural season of the Western Magpies in 1999 then coached in 2000, 2001 and 2007, coaching the Reserves to a Premiership in 2007 over Noosa.
Steve was a junior, youth and Reserves coach for many of the current Magpies Senior squad.
A fixture at the club for many years were the "Three-wise men"--Steve, Des Lashman and Kevin Kluver prognosticating and ruminating on the state of the game and scheming to work out how to make the Magpies better.
Steve was always thinking about the game and how to make it better and one example was that he came up with an idea that has a lot of merit-- --if a player pulls the ball to his chest and takes the tackle and then fails to dispose of the ball properly then he should be penalised-- he yet may be immortalised when the AFL adopts the "Mitchell Rule"!!
For several seasons he wrote a column in the club's website called "The Magpie" and gave interesting and amusing anecdotes and a bit of a left field analysis of Western Magpies matches.
Steve was also behind the scenes with his good mate and Premiership team-mate Craig St John in organising the club's new honour boards a couple of years ago and was also the Football Director in 2013.
Steve’s large frame but also larger than life presence will be sadly missed at the club and his contribution to Sherwood and the Western Magpies has been greater than his list of achievements noted above. It was through the legacy of Steve Mitchell and others before him as well as a number of his contemporaries that the great success and the traditions of the Magpies has been built and preserved.
Vale Steve Mitchell.