AFL legend Ron Barassi dead, aged 87
AFL legend Ron Barassi has died at the age of 87, his family has confirmed in a heartbreaking statement on Saturday.
‘After a full and extraordinary life, Ronald Dale Barassi, aged 87, left us today due to complications from a fall,’ the statement read.
‘He died peacefully, surrounded by loving family. We ask for privacy at this time.’
Barassi was a towering figure in Aussie Rules football and was the first player inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame as a Legend after 253 senior VFL games, including 204 for Melbourne and 49 for Carlton.
Between playing and coaching, Barassi claimed 10 premierships at Melbourne, Carlton and North Melbourne.
AFL legend Ron Barassi has died at the age of 87, his family has confirmed in a statement on Saturday.
Barassi’s football journey began in 1953 when he joined the Melbourne Football Club as a player. His exceptional skills, determination, and leadership qualities contributed significantly to Melbourne’s success during the 1950s and 1960s, winning six premierships, twice as captain.
Transitioning to coaching, Barassi’s innovative methods and strategic insights reshaped the game. He achieved premiership victories as a player and a coach with Carlton Football Club in 1968 and 1970, showcasing his prowess as both.
At North Melbourne, Barassi’s coaching brilliance reached its pinnacle, leading the team to premierships in 1975 and 1977. His ability to transform underperforming teams into champions solidified his reputation as a coaching genius.
Beyond his sporting achievements, Barassi was known for his philanthropic work and community engagement, reflecting his character and leaving a positive impact on society.
Barassi was a towering figure in Aussie Rules football and was the first player inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Legend
His father Ron Barassi Senior – who played for Melbourne Football Club – was the inspiration for his illustrious career and when he was tragically killed in action at Tobruk while serving in World War II, his son followed in his footsteps to Melbourne.
Tall and fearless and guided by his father’s coach Norm Smith, he pioneered the role of ruck rover and went on to dominate the sport for decades.
His move to Carlton in 1964 was a landmark moment for the sport, picking up a hefty pay cheque in what was dubbed ‘the most audacious signing in league history’.
His retirement from playing to become a full-time coach transformed the game, with his direction to players to ‘to play on from marks and handball at all costs’ said to be the ‘birth of modern football’.
The father-of-three was twice-married, first to Nancy Kellett in 1957 with whom he had their children, Susan, Ron and Richard, and then to Cheryl Copeland in 1981.
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