RON BARASSI encaptures everything that has made Australian Rules Football the Australian National Game. Barassi became a household name for his never say die attitude and endeavour on the Football Field, originally as a powerful player, then as a driven successful coach and motivator. AFL trading Cards for Barassi and many of the players he has Coached are available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Ron Barassi was the First Australian Rules Footballer honoured as an Australian Football League Hall of Fame Legend in 1996. The persona that is Barassi has an ever powerful presence which has inspired thousands of young Australians for generations , earning him the Honour of a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1978. The renowned Barassi celebrity and passion for everyone to achieve the best they can for themselves, has made him a celebrity and popular culture figure, which was further enshrined with the award of Victorian of the Year in 2009.
Ron Barassi played 204 Games and kicked 195 Goals for the Melbourne Demons from 1953- 1964 , and is still regarded as the most famous Football Personality in the history of Australian Rules Football. He showed enormous determination to succeed, and it is said that his Fathers Death during the Second World War, was a powerful contributor in shaping Barassi’s fearless on-field performances. Barassi also acknowledges the Great Influence of his mentor, Norm Smith, the legendary Melbourne Coach with whom Barassi lived on his arrival in Melbourne.
Barassi is credited with revolutionising the role of a ruck-rover, or on-baller as known in todays football, by busting open packs with his strength and aggression and had the habit of turning games in Melbourne’s favour by regularly performing heroics at crucial times for his team. The Melbourne hierarchy recognised his strong leadership qualities by appointing him Club Captain from 1960-1964. Barassi was a colossus during his career at the Melbourne Demons where he played in 6 winning Grand Final Teams, 2 of them as the Club Captain, and won the Clubs Best and Fairest Player Award in both 1961 and 1964. It was widely lauded that the Melbourne Demons Premiership Sides of 1955/56/57 were the best to have played the game up until that time.
It is ironic that under the Victorian Football League’s Zoning System of the day, Barassi was obliged to play with either Carlton or Collingwood. However, the Melbourne Football Club, who were keenly aware of the young Barassi’s quality, approached the VFL and lobbied for the introduction of a Father-Son Rule, which still benefits footballing families to this day. Barassi subsequently joined the Melbourne Demons from the Preston Scouts (VIC) in 1952 under this New Rule.
Ron Barassi is also credited with starting the “Irish Experiment”, when he began recruiting Gaelic Footballers to try the Australian Game. There are continuing numbers of Irish footballers being successfully added to AFL Club lists, and the most famous to date has been 1991 Brownlow Medallist, Jim Stynes, who had an outstanding Playing Career, and is currently the Club President at the Melbourne Demons.
The Carlton Football Club offered Barassi a lucrative contract to cross to their Club as Captain-Coach, and the Football Populace was shocked when Barassi accepted the role from Season 1965. Barassi went on to play 50 Games and kicked 35 Goals for the Carlton Blues from 1965 to 1969. When Barassi took over the role, Carlton had just endured the lowest Ladder Position in their history, so Carlton Club President George Harris aggressively sought out Barassi to re-invigorate the Club. The Blues were transformed into a very tough and aggressive outfit, with emphasis on a Team-Oriented , disciplined and committed brand of football. This Barassi- inspired Team re-birth saw Carlton win the 1968 Grand Final under his on-field leadership, and again in 1970 with Barassi at the helm as a Non-Playing coach. At the completion of the 1971 Season, Barassi left the Carlton Club to pursue his interests in the Business field.
The North Melbourne Football Club cut short Barassi’s short venture into the Business World when they pursued him to coach their Club in 1973. Administrators Allen Aylett and Ron Joseph supported Barassi in recruiting a number of estsblished Stars from other Clubs in a bid to win a first-ever Premiership for the North Melbourne Kangaroos. The Kangaroos had won the ” wooden spoon”, for last spot on the League Ladder in 1972, and with Barassi introducing a commando-like traing regime at the Club, they succeeded in playing in the 1974 Grand Final, where they were to suffer defeat. Under Barassi’s uncompromising Leadership style, the North Melbourne Team were successful in winning both the 1975 and 1977 Grand Finals. He retired from the Kangaroos Coaching Role after the 1980 Season.
The Melbourne Demons again enticed Barassi to their Senior Coaching Role for Seasons 1981-1985, however the Club did not have sufficient quality in their Playing Group to see any Finals Action during Barassi’s 5 year stint.
Ron Barassi was then able to concentrate for a number of years on his Business ventures and was always in demand throughout the Country as a motivational speaker.
The AFL were thought to have engineered a major coup in 1993 when Barassi was co-erced into the Senior Coaching Role at the Sydney Swans, a position he held until the end of the 1995 Season. Although there was not Finals success during Barassi’s stay at the Swans, he is credited with having “turned the Club around”, with skilful use of his High Profile and media savvy, to firmly establish Australian Rules foothold in a previously Rugby League dominated City.
Ron Barassi had an enormous impact on shaping Australian Rules Football in his 515 Games as a Senior Club Coach, and although the 4 Winning Premierships are fine examples of his influence and success, the Barassi Legend and Legacy will be foremost in Australian Rules folk-lore forever.
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