IN HIS BLOOD: Gympie Cats forward Michael Gafa. INSET: Gafa's uncle Alex Jesaulenko (left), former VFL star, pictured in 1983.
IN HIS BLOOD: Gympie Cats forward Michael Gafa. INSET: Gafa's uncle Alex Jesaulenko (left), former VFL star, pictured in 1983. Josh Preston

YOU BEAUTY: AFL legend's nephew playing footy in Gympie

AFL: "Oh Jesaulenko, you beauty!”

It will forever remain one of Australian football's most iconic moments, and now it has a Gympie connection.

Carlton Football Club legend Alex Jesaulenko, whose spectacular mark over Collingwood ruckman Graeme Jenkin in the 1970 VFL grand final was immortalised in football lore by the equally spectacular call from the late Mike Williamson, has a nephew now running around in Gympie Cats colours.

Alex Jesaulenko (left), former VFL star, pictured in 1983.
Alex Jesaulenko (left), former VFL star, pictured in 1983. File Photo

That nephew is Noosa Lions recruit Michael Gafa, who followed Cats coach Dave "Tinners” Carroll to Gympie this season.

Gafa and fellow recruit Patrick Harris have slotted seamlessly into the Cats' forward line, kicking 16 and 11 goals respectively from four games to date.

The 35-year-old said he had enjoyed the opportunity to play under Carroll after years spent at the same club with no player-coach connection.

"I've been kicking a few, had a pretty good start to the season. It's a great atmosphere and a great bunch of blokes,” Gafa said.

"I came across with Tinners to do some time here, at 35 I'm getting on a bit.

"I've played about eight years in total, third division at 20 and 21 and then straight from thirds to firsts. I played three years in the ones, had four years off, and then went back.”

Gafa said he hadn't taken to footy immediately despite his family history, but took to the game instantly after picking up a Sherrin.

"I didn't know what I had. I moved here when I was one from Canberra and Queensland wasn't big on AFL ... it was all about rugby league.

He and the Cats face Ipswich away from home today at 2pm.

Gympie Times


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