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Sport Recreation

Monash expert: Remembering AFL legend Ron Barassi

Monash University 2 mins read

A Monash expert is available to comment on the passing of AFL legend Ron Barassi, his legacy as well as the Victorian Government’s offer to his family of a state funeral. 


Dr Tom Heenan, Lecturer, Sport and Australian Studies in the Monash Intercultural Lab, Faculty of Arts

Contact: +61 439 047 118 or

Read more of Dr Heenan’s commentary at Monash Lens


The following can be attributed to Dr Heenan:


“As an AFL player and coach, Barassi’s career was unparalleled. He was instrumental in the success of Melbourne in the 1950s, Carlton in the late sixties and early seventies, and North Melbourne’s breakthrough premierships in the mid to late seventies. He is largely unheralded for his role in Melbourne’s rise in the late 1980s. Barassi was a product of time and it’s fitting that the Andrews government has offered his family a state funeral.


“In what has morphed into the most mythical of finals, Barassi changed football into a handball game. His legend was set in stone when he took North Melbourne to their first premiership in 1975. By the late 1970s, he was well and truly on the map. The line demarcating where the goalposts changed was named in his honour by the historian Ian Turner. 


“But the Barassi story is wider than football. He was a mixture of toughness and gentility. Of Swiss-Italian heritage, his family migrated to Australia during the Gold Rush. His father, who was also a footballer, was killed at Tobruk, having just played for Melbourne in a grand final. In a city built on gold and football, Barassi was the most famous Melburnian of his day.”


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