Remembering Ron Barassi: A Tribute at the MCG

The famous halftime demands of the late Ron Barassi had an effect on the 1970 VFL grand final. Down by 44 points at the main break, the Blues still trailed their rivals Collingwood by 17 points with one quarter to play when taskmaster Barassi made an impactful speech. Barassi’s words had an immediate effect on his players, leading to a famous victory. Barassi’s impact in football was also felt away from the field when he went to the aid of a woman being attacked by a group of men. Former sportsmen and other figures paid tribute to Barassi at his state memorial, honoring his competitive drive and his impact on the game. Former teammates, coaches, and players remembered Barassi as a fierce competitor and ultimately a kind and caring man. The Barassi Line, named after the legend, highlighted the division between states where Australian rules football and rugby are popular, something that he fought to tear down. Barassi’s arrival in Sydney to coach the Swans in 1993 changed the game forever, putting them on the path towards becoming one of the most respected clubs in the game. Former players Sam Kekovich and Paul Kelly also remembered their former coach, highlighting his relentless competitive nature. Barassi’s unforgettable impact on the game was honored by the football anthem ‘Up There Cazaly’, with lyrics altered as a tribute to him. Many voices called for the AFL to rename the premiership cup after Barassi, recognizing his immense contribution to the game.