Erin Gascoine sponsorship manager, Digby Hildreth and Leah Wright of Byron.
Erin Gascoine sponsorship manager, Digby Hildreth and Leah Wright of Byron.

Swans great tells it all

AFL great Michael O'Loughlin, who conducted a book signing for his autobiography at the Byron Bay Writers' Festival yesterday, revealed being chewed out by a coach as a talented but lazy teenager changed his life.

Mr O'Loughlin, who also addressed high school students at the festival's Secondary Schools Day on Thursday, said the very public and humiliating dressing down was a defining moment in his career.

By taking the criticism on the chin and committing to working hard, just days later he was noticed by a Sydney Swans' scout.

It started a chain of events that would lead him to becoming a Swans games record-holder and one of the most decorated indigenous players in the AFL.

His representative hon- ours include twice achieving All- Australian selection, playing for Australia twice in the International Rules Series and a Fos Williams Med- allist as best player for South Australia in State of Origin.

He was also part of the Swans' premiership-winning team in 2005.

The 35-year-old, who retired from AFL in 2009, was at the festival promoting his autobiography entitled Micky O. Determination. Hard work. And a little bit of Magic.

It records his journey from a tough upbringing in Adelaide to sports stardom, including the huge role his mum Muriel played in his career by instilling the values of integrity and hard work.

He said he had written the book for his three children and had been "brutally honest" about the ups and downs he had experienced during his career.

"Footy's given me a hell of a lot but I've worked hard for it," he told the teenage audi- ence.

One of the most satisfying fruits of his labour was handing over the keys to his mum to a new house.



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