How Australian Mitch Wishnowsky Went From Pub Worker In Perth To Super Bowl Glory With San Francisco 49ers | Men's Health Magazine Australia

How Aussie Punter Mitch Wishnowsky Went From Perth Pub To Super Bowl

And the journey hasn’t been easy for the 27-year-old, literally. The distance between Perth and Miami is 18,316km, the furthest distance of any city from the Florida-based stadium. “It all started about seven years ago,” said Wishnowsky. At 16 Wishnowsky dropped out of school to become an apprentice glazier. He also dreamt of a professional […]

And the journey hasn’t been easy for the 27-year-old, literally. The distance between Perth and Miami is 18,316km, the furthest distance of any city from the Florida-based stadium.

“It all started about seven years ago,” said Wishnowsky.

At 16 Wishnowsky dropped out of school to become an apprentice glazier. He also dreamt of a professional soccer or AFL career but his chances were hampered by injuries.

Four years later, in 2013, he signed up to a recreational American flag football league – the competition that saw him capture the attention of leading American football figure, Craig Wilson. 

Wishnowsky could punt and a two-minute video of his kicks soon circulated and got back to Mebourne-based Prokick Australia punting academy, run by John Smith and Nation Chapman

“It was like watching a horse trying to kick it’s way out of a horse box,” Smith told AAP.

“The power was immense.”

Smith gave Wishnowsky a phone call and invited him to join them in Melbourne.

“He had a pretty aggressive sales pitch,” Wishnowsky said.

“He told me then he was going to change my life.”

Wishnowsky, who was still living paycheck to paycheck, impressed at Prokick. But getting a gig at an elite US university proved difficult. Having dropped out of school early, Wishnowsky had to enrol in California’s Santa Barbara City junior college for two years to get the grades for tertiary education.

The University of Utah then offered him a scholarship, an opportunity Wishnowsky took with both hands. He won the Ray Guy award – the award for the college football best punter – in 2016 before impressing scouts at the 2017 NFL combine. While Wishnowsky was an strong punter, he could also run the 40-year dash in 4.63 seconds – the fastest by a punter since 2003 and quicker than some elite offensive players in the league.

His stats were enough to see him snapped up by the 49ers in the fourth round of the draft. In April 2019, Wishnowsky officially joined.

He immediately received the blessing of coach Kyle Shanahan who personally rang him to tell him the club was excited to have Wishnowsky on board. 

“You were a target from the beginning, we were worried we were going to lose you but we got you, man, so we’re pumped up,” Mr Shanahan told an emotional Wishnowsky.

Fast forward nine months and the former pub worker is now within inches of the unthinkable. If the 49ers win he will become just the second Australian to win a Super Bowl ring after Queensland defensive tackle Jesse Williams.

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By Mens Health Staff

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