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AFL great Michael Roach hospitalised after scary incident: 'Get well legend'

Richmond Tigers premiership great Michael Roach has had multiple rounds of surgery after suffering a heart attack.

Michael Roach lines up a shot on goal while playing for the Richmond Tigers.
Richmond Tigers legend Michael Roach is recovering from multiple rounds of surgery after suffering a heart attack. (Photo by Getty Images)

The Richmond Tigers have sent their support to premiership hero Michael Roach, who is in hospital following a heart heart attack last week. The 64-year-old AFL great had a stent inserted last Tuesday, but ultimately required triple-bypass surgery.

Roach remains in intensive care following complications post-surgery, however doctors are hopeful he could be discharged from hospital as early as Monday. The episode has come as a major shock to the Roach family, and prompted a wave of support from the Tigers faithful.

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The goalkicking forward played 200 games for the Tigers, culminating in the club's premiership victory over Collingwood in 1980. Earning the nickname 'Disco', Roach was a two-time Coleman Medal winner, as well as leading Richmond's goalkicking a total of seven times.

David Cloke and Michael Roach, pictured here at for the public service for Tom Hafey in 2014.
Richmond greats David Cloke and Michael Roach arrive for the public service for Tom Hafey in 2014. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

He was also responsible for one of the most memorable marks of the 1970s, soaring over a pack of Hawthorn defenders in 1979 to register an iconic moment in Tigers history. He was inducted into the club's hall of fame in 2002.

Roach was also a key figure in Richmond's enduring association with Tasmanian football, following on from the likes of fellow club legend Royce Hart as iconic Tigers from the Apple Isle. The likes of Jack Riewoldt, Matthew Richardson and current club CEO Brendon Gale all hail from the state as well.

On social media, many fans posted messages of support for Roach.

Tigers CEO a key figure in Tasmania's AFL bid

Meanwhile, Tigers CEO Gale has been a key figure within AFL circles pushing for the league to grant a 19th license to found a team in Tasmania. The AFL has made it clear though, that any bid for a Tasmanian team would hinge on the construction of a new stadium.

Despite existing venues Bellrieve Oval and York Park each being capable of holding as many as 20,000 spectators, the Tasmanian state Liberal government, led by premier Peter Gutwein, has pledged to commit to half the costs of a proposed $750 million venue in Hobart. The new stadium, to be built in Macquarie Point, would seat 23,000 and boast a retractable roof, was announced in March.

Gale, who hails from Tasmania, implored prime minister Anthony Albanese to consider the potential benefits of the stadium, despite admitting there were 'local politics playing out' as to its merits. He said most AFL clubs recognised a club based in the state would be an overall benefit to the game.

“I think it would be wonderful for football, it would be wonderful for the AFL, but I think there would be incredible outcomes for health, participation in sport, education and a whole range of other factors in Tasmania,” Gale said. “I think the impact would be seismic for the state. That’s what I would be saying to Anthony Albanese.”

Gale was adamant Tasmania's bid for an AFL license was on track, despite the likes of Collingwood president Jeff Browne suggesting it would be 'premature' to award it in the coming months. The federal government is yet to decide whether it will commit to the project, or how much it will contribute if so.

“I think the AFL clubs have generally felt there’s a legitimate right for Tasmania to be included in the competition and I think that has been supported by a very, very strong and thorough business case,” Gale said. “I think we have a willing partner in the (Tasmanian) state government who is willing to invest in the vicinity of three quarters of a billion dollars over the life of the term, so it’s significant.

“There’s some local politics playing out with the stadium and I’m not too sure where it’s going to end up, but I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm.”

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