Home » Aussie heartbreak: WA-born star ‘one of 49ers’ best’ in thrilling overtime Super Bowl loss

Aussie heartbreak: WA-born star ‘one of 49ers’ best’ in thrilling overtime Super Bowl loss

Mitch Wishnowsky has narrowly missed becoming the first Australian to play in a Super Bowl win, after the punter saw his San Francisco 49ers fall in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58.

For a second straight year, and third time in five years, it was heartbreak for an Aussie punter with Wishnowsky also part of a loss against Kansas City in the 2019 season, before Arryn Siposs’ Philadelphia Eagles lost in the 2022 season title game.

But the WA native had pundits singing his praises as one of the 49ers’ best players after the battle between two powerhouse offences turned into a defensive struggle where field position was critical.

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The former Aussie rules player, who dreamt of reaching the AFL but ironically struggled with his kicking, delivered a 54-yard punt during the opening quarter.

The Niners offence was hurting itself, with a first-drive fumble and multiple penalties, but Wishnowsky ensured they still had field position as returner Richie James strangely chose to catch a ball landing around the five-yard line, returning it just five more yards.

It pinned the Kansas City Chiefs back in their own territory and kept the 49ers in strong position, before rival punter Tommy Townsend’s huge 62-yarder swung the field back the other way.

“Punting should be a KC advantage, but that was a great punt by Wishnowsky for SF,” long-time NFL analyst Aaron Schatz tweeted.

On the Nickelodeon broadcast, commentator Noah Eagle pointed to a catchphrase out of the University of Iowa – where their offence is always putrid but they create great punters.

“They say punting is winning – and right now punting is very much winning for both of these teams,” Eagle said.

The Aussie contributed to the game’s first points, as the holder for Jake Moody’s 55-yard field goal – the longest made in a Super Bowl ever.

It remained the only score of the game midway through the second quarter, with Wishnowsky’s services required again after Brock Purdy was sacked. A 51-yard punt ensued.

After Patrick Mahomes threw an interception to begin the second half, the 49ers had great field position but couldn’t reach field goal range, forcing another Wishnowsky punt in no man’s land.

Yet thanks to incredible punt coverage by Chris Conley the ball was downed at the two-yard line in a perfect play.

Wishnowsky then made another great play, punting 51 yards to pin the Chiefs on their own 14 yard line in the third quarter as the 49ers held a 10-point lead.

At that moment East Bay Times 49ers beat writer Cam Inman declared Wishnowsky surprisingly one of the best players on the field so far.

Others on social media even teased at an unthinkable prospect, that the punter could be in the mix for the Super Bowl MVP award.

Wishnowsky had already become the first Aussie to play in two Super Bowls.

“Surprisingly, his kicking was the thing that let him down,” his former footy coach at Perth Demons colts level, Damien McMahon, told Code Sports.

“He struggled to kick the ball short. It’s something that didn’t come naturally to him. He struggled to get it to spin correctly and really struggled to hit a short target.”

However he had a stellar career at the University of Utah and was picked in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, starring ever since for San Francisco.