A Warrnambool man is expected to be kicking goals again soon.
However, this time it won't be on a footy field.
Anthony Kelly, 62, underwent a heart transplant in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
He is now recovering at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne.
Mr Kelly's wife Leeanne remains by his side.
He had been on the donor list for the past eight months after having a major heart attack at age 36.
Mr Kelly has had multiple minor heart attacks in the years since and a stroke at 42.
He also struggled with epilepsy and diabetes.
In his younger days, Mr Kelly played for the Dennington Football Netball Club.
He broke a Warrnambool and District League record in 1985 when he kicked 24 goals in the club's match against Bushfield.
Mr Kelly's children Rebecca, Emma, Bianca and Joel, along with his wife, are extremely grateful he's been given a second chance at life.
"We would like to say a massive thank you to the donor," Rebecca said.
"If you're willing to donate organs, please do so - we know first hand how important it is to a family member in need."
Mr Kelly got a call telling him there was a donor heart for him at 10pm on Tuesday night.
He and Mrs Kelly left Warrnambool at midnight.
"We arrived in Melbourne at 3.30am," Mrs Kelly said.
"He was very nervous but excited at a second chance of a healthy life."
Mrs Kelly said doctors were pleased with how the operation went.
"Doctors informed us the surgery went very well," she said.
Mr Kelly is recovering in an induced coma.
"He will hopefully come out of the coma in the next couple of days," Mrs Kelly said.
Mr Kelly is expected to stay in hospital for four to six weeks.
However, he will stay in Melbourne for another 10 weeks for regular check-ups.
Mrs Kelly said her husband, who is a member of the Warrnambool Bowls Club, was looking forward to getting back on the green with his new heart.
"Anthony is looking forward to having a great, long quality life and spending time with all his grandchildren," she said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Mr Kelly to help the family cover the cost of accommodation and ongoing care.
IN OTHER NEWS
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard: