Ron Barassi dead at 87

Ron Barassi, one of the greatest pioneers in the history of Australian Rules football has died tragically at the age of 87.

The Barassi family confirmed his passing in a statement on September 16.

“After a full and extraordinary life, Ronald Dale Barassi, aged 87, left us today after complications from a fall,” the statement read.

“He died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family.

“We ask for privacy at this time.”

Rare footage of the last AFL/VFL match played by the great Ronald Dale Barassi. Picture: Supplied

Barassi (right) after winning the 1975 Grand Final. Hawthorn v North Melbourne. MCG

Barassi is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the game, and was the very first player to be inaugurated into the Australian Football Hall of Fame as a Legend.

He was a six-time Premiership player for Melbourne and four-time Premiership coach with two different clubs, and leaves a legacy in almost every facet of the game.

He was a pioneer of the ruck-rover position, as well as of the “Irish experiment”, recruiting Gaelic footballers from Ireland in a trend that continues across the country at every level of the sport successfully to this day,

This rousing half-time address as Carlton coach in the legendary 1970 Grand Final is remembered as the “birth of modern football”, and he was one of the key figures in the expansion of the then-Victorian Football League to a national competition.

He was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 1978 and selected in the AFL’s Team of the Century fittingly at ruck-rover.

More to come.

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