Russell Frank Ebert Australian rules footballer and coach. He is considered one of the greatest players in the history of Australian rules football in South Australia. Ebert is the only player to have won four Magarey Medals which are awarded to the best and fairest player in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).(22 June 1949 – 5 November 2021) was an
|Full name||Russell F. Ebert|
|Date of birth||22 June 1949|
|Place of birth||Berri, South Australia|
|Date of death||5 November 2021(aged 72)|
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||90 kg (198 lb)|
|1968–1978, 1980–1985||Port Adelaide||392 (294)|
|1979||North Melbourne||25 (15)|
|Representative team honours|
South Australia (Coach)
3 (2–1–0) 66.67%
|1983–1987||Port Adelaide||116 (64–52–0) 55.17%|
|1988–1990||Woodville||64 (24–40–0) 37.50%|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1985.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 1990.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
The fourth of six children of Doreen and Albert Ebert, Russell was born in the South Australian river town of Berri. Russell's father Albert was a footballer with the Alawoona Football Club and captain coached the team to a premiership in 1953. Russell's family moved to Loxton during his high school years and the town was home to his junior football club, the Loxton Football Club where he played with his brothers. During his time at the Waikerie Football Club, Ebert played alongside Bruce Light, who would eventually play for Port Adelaide with him.
Port Adelaide (1968–1978)Edit
Ebert debuted for the Port Adelaide Football Club in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) as an 18-year-old in 1968 and immediately made an impression, winning the club leading goalkicking in his debut season.
In 1971 Ebert won his first Magarey Medal, awarded to the fairest and most brilliant player in the SANFL, along with Port Adelaide's best and fairest. For the 1974 SANFL season, he was appointed captain of the club and was again awarded both the Port Adelaide best and fairest along with a second Magarey Medal.
His first premiership as a player came in 1977 when Port Adelaide broke its drought defeating Glenelg at Football Park.
'It has taken us a bloody long time but by gee it was worth it!'
North Melbourne (1979)Edit
Victorian Football League clubs chased Ebert for a decade until North Melbourne finally won his signature and he spent a season with North Melbourne in 1979 Port Adelaide agreed to lease Ebert to North Melbourne for the 1979 season in exchange for Mark Dawson, as well as paying Ebert $35,000. North Melbourne also agreed to cover Ebert's large travel costs caused by his desire to stay in Adelaide and fly to Melbourne each Thursday during the season and return on Sunday.
'I think he was the first fly-in fly-out footballer because he came across from South Australia, Port Adelaide, and played just the one season. He flew in on a Thursday night and would fly home on a Sunday. Marvellous year at the club, played all 25 games, 15 goals, had the most possessions of anyone at the club in that time.'
Ebert's tally of twenty five games for North Melbourne is the VFL/AFL record for the most games in a career which only lasted one season. During his season with North Melbourne Ebert would play alongside Malcolm Blight, Graham Cornes, Keith Greig, Ross Glendinning, Wayne Schimmelbusch, Gary Dempsey and Graham Melrose. Ebert would collect the most disposals for North Melbourne during the 1979 VFL season where the club finished second on the ladder and reached the Preliminary Final.
Return to Port Adelaide (1980–1987)Edit
Following the end of the 1979 season, Ebert returned to Port Adelaide. He won two more premierships with the club in 1980 and 1981. Upon the departure of John Cahill for the 1983 SANFL season, Ebert was appointed captain-coach of Port Adelaide. During the year Ebert also captained the South Australian side for the third time.
In 1984 Port Adelaide reached its only Grand Final with Ebert as coach. In front of 50,271 spectators Port Adelaide relinquished a 3-point lead at the final change of the 1984 SANFL Grand Final to eventually lose to Norwood by 9 points.
Ebert retired as a player at the end of 1985 where his 392 games remains a club record. Ebert's playing career spanned a total of 452 senior games for Port Adelaide, North Melbourne and South Australian representative. At least one compilation of Australian football statistics estimated this to be the seventh highest tally in top-level senior football.
After finishing his playing career at Port Adelaide in 1985, Ebert remained coach for a further two seasons. He started the 1986 SANFL season without star wingman Craig Bradley who had been acquired by Carlton. At the end of the 1987 season, after failing to win a final for three consecutive seasons, Ebert was replaced as coach of Port Adelaide by John Cahill for the 1988 SANFL season.
Although the three seasons preceding Ebert's dismissal at the end of 1987 as coach were ultimately unsuccessful, he is credited with blooding a large number of champions that helped propel the club into the Australian Football League.
- 1983 – Tim Ginever
- 1984 – Greg Anderson, Darren Smith, Wayne Mahney, Roger Delaney
- 1985 – Mark Tylor, Rohan J. Smith, David Hynes, George Fiacchi, Darryl Borlase
- 1986 – Geoff Phelps
- 1987 – Andrew Obst, Paul Northeast, Scott Hodges, David Brown
Woodville coach (1988–1990)Edit
Ebert took up coaching Woodville after ending his coaching tenure at Port Adelaide for John Cahill's return. Ebert would coach Woodville for three years. In his first season as coach of Woodville, the club won the 1988 Escort Cup defeating Port Adelaide in the final in front of 31,210 at Football Park. The 1988 Escort Cup was the only piece of silverware that the Woodville Football Club ever won. The club would end up merging with West Torrens at the end of the 1990 SANFL season.
South Australia coach (1996–1998)Edit
Ebert coached South Australia to memorable wins over Western Australia in 1996 and 1998.
Ebert was a strong-bodied player whose physical build and stamina allowed him to dominate football matches. With a high skill level, errors were rare, and his ability to hit teammates with accurate, spearing passes made him very effective in attacking roles. Ebert was able to win his own ball and could quickly handball effectively under pressure.
Ebert's brothers Craig and Jeff also played for Port Adelaide in the SANFL. His son Brett and his nephew Brad Ebert have both played for Port Adelaide in the SANFL and AFL. Brad Ebert's grandfather is Trevor Obst, and his great-grandfather is Ken Obst; both also played for Port Adelaide. Ebert died on 5 November 2021 at the age of 72 from acute myeloid leukaemia. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in late December 2020. A state funeral, attended by approximatley 4,000 people, was held in his honour on 16 November 2021 at Alberton Oval.
Ebert is widely held to be the greatest player to have played for the Port Adelaide Football Club. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and is centre for Port Adelaide's greatest team.
The Adelaide Advertiser, in recognition of Port Adelaide's 150th anniversary in 2020, selected the club's all-time top 150 players, from both the AFL and SANFL, and ranked Ebert at number one. In 2021 Ebert was recognised with legend status in the South Australian Sport Hall of Fame.
- "EBERT HONOURED WITH SCULPTURE | SANFL". SANFL. 15 August 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Port poised to pick up son of SA legend Ebert – realfooty.com.au". www.theage.com.au. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Magarey Medal | SANFL". SANFL. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- Wood, John (1985). Russell Ebert Australian Record. South Australia: Port Adelaide Football Club. p. 3.
- "Loxton Tigers To Play S.A.N.F.L | Loxton Football Club". loxtonfootballclub.com. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- Russell Ebert, 1977 SANFL Grand Final – Port Adelaide vs. Glenelg.
- Sheahan, M, "$50,000 – Roos price for Ebert", The Age, 19 February 1979, p. 18.
- Remembering Russell, a 7NEWS special: Celebrating football legend Russell Ebert's life | 7NEWS, retrieved 8 November 2021
- Rodgers, Stephen (1996). 100 Years of AFL Players – Volume 3. Melbourne: East-Side Printing. p. 1586. ISBN 0646300164.
- "AFL Tables - 1979 Stats - Player Lists". afltables.com. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
- "AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL FACTS & FEATS: Player Records". Archived from the original on 10 March 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2009.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- "AAMI Footy Flashback - 1988 Escort Cup Grand Final". SANFL. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
- Scott, Walsh (16 September 2018). "It's been 30 years since Woodville won its sole piece of SANFL silverware - and now the players can finally celebrate it". The Advertiser.
- "Australian Football – Brad Ebert – Player Bio". australianfootball.com. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Footy world in mourning as SA great Russell Ebert passes away". Official website of Australian Football League. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
- "Statement - Russell Ebert". www.portadelaidefc.com.au. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
- "Port Adelaide SANFL great Russell Ebert farewelled at state funeral at Alberton Oval". ABC News. 16 November 2021.
- "Who is the greatest Magpies player of all time?". Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Blighty honoured to join the 'brass club'". Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "Football great Russell Ebert declared 'legend' in SA Sport Hall of Fame". ABC News. 21 October 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
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