02/03/2024
Port Adelaide and South Australian football legend Russell Ebert has passed away, aged 72, after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

Australian Rules football has lost a true icon in Russell Ebert.

A champion on the field, a gentlemen off the field, a true legendary human being.

Russell’s on-field accomplishments speak for themselves; three-time Port Adelaide premiership player, four-time Magarey Medallist, Jack Oatey Medallist, six-time Port Adelaide best and fairest, Port Adelaide captain, leading goalkicker and the all-time games record holder.

At state level, represented South Australia on 29 occasions, was the captain in 1975, 1977 and 1983 and was the coach from 1996 to 1998.

He would also play a season for North Melbourne in the VFL in 1979.

He was always respected by on-field and off-field rivals and is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Australian Rules football.

As a young Port Adelaide fan, I was always told about the greatness of Russell Ebert.

His ability to dominate games and the high regard in which he was held at Alberton Oval.

In 2019, I was fortunate enough to have the time to sit across from him and have a chat and he gave me more than enough of his time.

As someone who was never granted the chance to watch Russell play, to hear his experiences first-hand in depth, from his childhood all through to his first season and more was absolutely surreal.

The stories about Fos Williams, talking about the pride of watching his son, Brett, win his Magarey Medal all the way through to how he felt about having a statue about Adelaide Oval.

Russell was a true gentleman and always showed he was more than willing to have a chat.

The aura he had was unbelievable.

The school visits, the work with the club’s community team and his determination to give to the club he had given an entire career and more to, was unbelievable.

I was always told a story when I was younger about Russell Ebert.

A photo of Russell sat inside the China cabinet at my great-grandparents’ house, in with the expensive, never-to-be-used China.

To me, that spoke volumes.

The idol of my late grandfather and great uncles and aunties, the idol of many Port Adelaide supporters and football fans alike.

The idol I wasn’t able to ever watch in the flesh, but was able to listen to and learn from, thanks to his generosity with his time.

Russell, thank you for everything and rest easy.

Ebo forever.

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