Mitch Wishnowsky has come a long way from his days in the testing Perth sun as a wet behind the ears tradie.
Now the 31-year-old is just one game away from Super Bowl glory with the San Francisco 49ers in what has been a remarkable sporting journey.
After dropping out of high school aged 16, the now globally recognised punter took up an apprenticeship as a glazier.
At the time, Wishnowsky didn’t mind earning $1000 a week, but deep down he knew he wanted more in life.
Enter the Prokick Australia academy, who train athletes down under who want to make it into college football and potentially the NFL.
Mitch Wishnowsky is on the verge of sporting history ahead of the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Monday AEDT
Wishnowsky, 32, is a punter for San Francisco who was raised in Perth and wasn’t drafted in the NFL until 2019 – he also recently signed a contract worth a reported $19million
The Perth native (pictured playing for the 49ers as they beat the Packers in the playoffs this year) owes his start in the NFL to a chance meeting in a park in his home town
Come showtime against the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas on Monday from 10.30am AEDT, Wishnowsky will look to become just the second Aussie to snare a Super Bowl ring
At 188cm and 100kg, the Aussie is uncommonly big and strong for a punter
Scout Craig Wilson felt Wishnowsky – a promising AFL player who quit the sport due to shoulder injuries – could be an NFL rough diamond.
He was right.
Wilson turned on the charm, convincing Wishnowsky to sell his house in Perth and move to Melbourne.
After grasping the basics, he soon entered the US college system with Santa Barbara City College in California and then the University of Utah, where Wishnowsky won the Ray Guy Award as the best punter in college football in his first season.
Next was San Francisco selecting Wishnowsky in the fourth round of the NFL 2019 draft – and the man with a towering right boot hasn’t looked out of place since.
At the time, many 49ers fans were angry the team took Wishnowsky so high in the draft, but they soon changed their tune when he hammered Denver Broncos star Devontae Jackson into the ground with a massive tackle during a preseason game in August of 2020.
Come showtime against the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas on Monday from 10.30am AEDT, Wishnowsky will look to become just the second Aussie to snare a Super Bowl ring.
Former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams is the other previous winner – but he was only a squad member when his team won the coveted trophy in 2014.
Fellow Aussie Arryn Siposs – who was the punter for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2023 Super Bowl – has no doubt Wishnowsky can handle the occasion.
‘He’s a pretty relaxed kind of guy and he has this personality where nothing really seems to faze him, he knows what he needs to do to get the job done,’ Siposs said.
‘He’s a great person and I wish him nothing but the best.’