Ron Barassi: February 27, 1936, to September 16, 2023.
It’s as simple as this. Ron Barassi, who died on Saturday aged 87 from complications after a fall, was the single biggest figure in post-war Australian rules football history.
Player, captain, coach, media performer, ambassador and prophet: there was no aspect of the game in which he did not excel. He was the linchpin of Melbourne’s prodigious run of mid-century premierships; no team has won more in a shorter span.
As coach, he conjured up impossible victory for Carlton in the 1970 grand final, arguably still the most famous of all. He guided North Melbourne to its first premiership, and another via a rare drawn grand final.
He is in the AFL’s team of the century, was the first legend inducted into the AFL’s Hall of Fame, is in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, has a statue in his honour at the MCG and an imaginary line in his name, coined by Professor Ian Turner in 1978 to describe where footy codes divide in Australia.