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Ebert elevated to football Legend status

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SA football icon Russell Ebert has been made an Australian Football Hall Of Fame Legend, eight months after his death.

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Indigenous greats Nicky Winmar and Bill Dempsey, AFL games record holder Brent Harvey and Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich headlined the eight 2022 Hall Of Fame inductees, which also included Norwood’s Michael Taylor.

Along with Ebert, they were honoured at a black tie function in Melbourne last night.

Ebert, who died of cancer on November 5 aged 72, is the Hall Of Fame’s 32nd official legend.

His late wife Dian accepted the honour.

Ebert ranks with North Adelaide’s Barrie Robran, already a Legend, as the greatest players in SA football history.

The skilled and tough centreman played a club-record 392 games for Port Adelaide from 1968-78 and then 1980-85, split by 21 games for North Melbourne in 1979 when he tried his hand at the then-VFL.

He is the only player to win four Magarey Medals, the SANFL’s equivalent of the Brownlow.

Ebert captained the Magpies to their drought-breaking 1977 premiership, his first of three flags at Alberton.

He also coached Port, as well as Woodville in the SANFL, and then became a respected junior development coach in SA football.

Norwood premiership captain Michael Taylor had some great duels in the centre with Ebert, with Norwood-Port the SANFL’s fiercest rivalry. He was also honoured as a new member of the Hall of Fame.

Taylor played 289 games for the Redlegs in the 1970s and ’80s, split by 94 games for Collingwood, and he is a Norwood Hall Of Fame Legend.

Winmar and Dempsey add a strong note of Indigenous greatness to this year’s inductions.

Winmar played 251 AFL games for St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, but is best remembered for an iconic moment in 1993 when he defiantly raised his Saints jumper and pointed to his chest.

The skilled utility made the gesture after Collingwood fans had racially abused him during a match at Victoria Park.

A newspaper photo marked the gesture and it is considered a landmark moment in Australian sporting history.

Dempsey played 343 games for West Perth between 1960-76 – the second-most in WAFL history.

The back pocket, a member of West Perth’s team of the century, was the honouree in this year’s Sir Doug Nicholls AFL Indigenous round.

Harvey and Pavlich were inducted as soon as they became eligible, five years after their retirements at the end of the 2016 season.

Harvey, North Melbourne’s much-loved midfielder and small forward, is the AFL games record holder with 432.

Pavlich is Fremantle’s greatest AFL player, with 353 games for the Dockers between 2000-16 and 700 goals.

Before he was the AFL chairman from 2008-17 – a tumultuous term that featured the Essendon drugs debacle and the Adam Goodes racism controversy – Mike Fitzpatrick was a premiership ruckman at Subiaco and Carlton.

Fitzpatrick captained the Blues to their 1981-82 flags.

Late Tasmanian great Terry Cashion was inducted for a career that featured the 1950 Tassie Medal at the national carnival and being named rover in the Tasmania team of the century.

 – AAP

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