Vale Mike Delanty
CFC Games 87 CFC Goals 19
The Collingwood Football Club is saddened to announce the passing of 1958 Premiership player Mike Delanty.
Mike was a star centre half-back with the City club in Launceston, starting his senior career there at age 16 and playing in two premierships, before joining the Magpies in 1957.
Coincidentally, it was a Collingwood end-of-season trip to the Apple Isle in 1956 that secured his fate. The Magpies played a game against a combined Northern Tasmanian Football Association side during that trip, and a young Delanty lined up against Murray Weideman. Delanty not only took everything Weed threw at him, he gave plenty back the other way too.
The Magpie selectors were so impressed that they made sure the next game of football he played was at Victoria Park.
He made his Collingwood debut just three games into the 1957 season and spent the next five years as a versatile, tough-as-nails and reliable defender. He was strongly built but quick, solid in the air and loved to clear his area with long left-foot kicks. His best position was at centre half-back, though he sometimes found himself on a flank, on the wing and even in the ruck. Later in his career he also ventured forward more frequently.
Wherever he played, the defining characteristic of his game was his toughness. “He could be wild at times,” recalled one former teammate. “When he got his dander up anything was possible, anything could happen.”
Delanty was a near ever-present in the side from the very start, missing only 11 games in the five seasons after his debut – and five of those were due to suspension. Being rubbed out was very much an occupational hazard for Mike, especially early in his career, and a by-product of his ‘uncompromising’ approach to football.
But he was there when it counted on Grand Final day 1958, playing a wonderful game at centre half-back, having been moved from the wing just the week before. He was also outstanding in the 1960 finals series, confirming his reputation as a good player in big games.
“He was a bloody great player,” recalled former teammate Bill Serong this week. “He was so tough – I was very glad he was on my team.
“We were great mates. He had a great sense of humour. I took him along to the Preston Town Hall one night [to a dance there] and introduced him to the woman he would eventually marry.
“He was one of those guys that was built and played like he was indestructible. And I still sort of felt that about him. I knew he’d been sick lately but guys like him, you think they’re never going to die.”
Mike’s brother Bob had joined him for one season in 1961, but when Mike was made captain of the seconds in 1962, he knew the writing was on the wall. He crossed to North Melbourne in 1963 for four more years, and a further 54 games, giving him a career total of 141, with 31 goals for good measure. He was also part of the Roos’ 1965 night premiership side. He later played and coached at Camberwell and Heidelberg, and would go on to be named in Tasmania’s Hall of Fame, achieving a similar honour at Collingwood as part of the ’58 Premiership team. In later life he settled at Blairgowrie on the Mornington Peninsula, where he became a popular local figure.
Mike had been sick recently with pneumonia, and passed away earlier this week.
The Board, management, staff, coaches and players of the Collingwood Football Club wish to place on record our appreciation for Mike’s great contribution to our footy club, and especially for his part in our famous 1958 Premiership win. Our thoughts are with his family, and all his friends from Collingwood, North Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania and beyond.
Mike's funeral will be held at 2.00pm on Wednesday 14 July 2021 at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Parish, 1-15 Constitution Hill Road, Sorento.
Side by Side.
To read Mike’s full story and the stats from his career, check his bio on Forever here.