7 July 1975 (age 47)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 11d
Last game: 31y 57d
Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 88 kg
Brisbane: 56, 3
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In addition to being without doubt one of the finest footballers of his generation, Michael Voss arguably made a greater contribution than anyone else to the remarkable transformation of the Brisbane Football Club from perennial chopping block to AFL heavyweight. Originally from Traralgon in Victoria, he moved to Brisbane at the age of eleven, taking with him an insatiable passion for a sport few of his new friends and neighbours either understood or cared about.
Nevertheless, he persisted in giving full rein to that passion, and was rewarded with a noteworthy junior career that saw him represent his adopted state at both schoolboy and under seventeen level, and win the 1992 Hunter Harrison Medal as the best and fairest player in division two of that year's Teal Cup. When, in round 18 1992, just eleven days after his seventeenth birthday, he made his AFL debut for the Bears they were attempting to avoid their third successive wooden spoon - a feat they ultimately achieved, but only just.
When Voss retired 289 AFL games later at the end of the 2006 season it was with three premiership medallions, a Brownlow Medal and five club best and fairest awards to his credit. He was selected in the AFL All Australian team on five occasions, including twice as captain. The three premierships, which came in consecutive years between 2001 and 2003, were all achieved under Voss's captaincy, and indeed he was either co-captain or sole captain of the club in no fewer than nine of his 14 complete senior seasons. These are mere statistics, however, and do no more than gloss the surface of Voss's greatness (an overused word, but one which, in this case, is wholly warranted).
Few footballers have combined strength (physical and mental), intelligence, skill and creativity in such ample measure, while his personal qualities were equally exemplary, making him the quintessential ambassador and role model for the game in what the AFL would doubtless refer to as 'a very competitive market'. The fact that Australian football today enjoys greater popularity in Queensland than ever before is directly attributable to the impact of the Brisbane Football Club, and no one did more to nurture, embellish and hone that impact than Michael Voss.
Lions coach Leigh Matthews, himself no mean contributor to the burgeoning of the game in Queensland, would probably be the first to endorse this view, and indeed was reported as declaring, shortly after the announcement of Voss's retirement, that in the entire history of the game he doubted whether there had been "a more valuable football person". Moreover, Matthews maintained, it is doubtful whether the Lions would have been successful in procuring three successive premierships had they not had Michael Voss in the team. Such a glittering testimonial would be well nigh impossible to improve upon, but very few genuine lovers of the game, including many who do not often find themselves in agreement with Matthews, would regard it as inappropriate.
One of the most telling and fitting endorsements of Michael Voss's importance in the history of the game was his selection in 2003 as captain of AFL Queensland's official 'Team of the Century'.
Voss took on the role of coach at Brisbane since 2009 but, after leading the Lions to the finals in his first season in the role, his time at the helm after that saw the Lions struggle and he was replaced by Justin Leppitsch late in the 2013 season.
Author - John Devaney, with updates by Andrew Gigacz