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Born in 1936, Ron Barassi’s biography is nothing short of inspirational.
In 1952, Barassi was picked up by the Melbourne Club (from the Preston Scouts). This in itself was ground breaking, as there was a zoning system in place that meant he should have been picked up by Collingwood or Carlton. Instead, the Father-Son rule came into existence, and, like his father before him (a fallen WW II soldier), Ron took the field for Melbourne – a premiership player at that.
Coach Norm Smith, who played alongside Ron’s father, became Barassi’s champion and mentor. In 1957, owing to Barassi’s obvious talent, he was chosen to vice-captain Melbourne. Within three years, Barassi was appointed captain. Under these honours, he helped take Melbourne to six premierships.
In 1964, Barassi was offered the captain-coach position with Carlton. With some trepidation, Barassi left his much-loved Melbourne Club. This, however, began Barassi’s brilliant career as a coach – a talent that the entire game of AFL has benefited from ever since.
In 1973, Barassi took the position of coach with North Melbourne. As a struggling team, Barassi lead North Melbourne to their first VFL premiership in 1975.
In 1981, Barassi began work with the troubled Melbourne side. By working alongside the under-19s coach, Ray “Slug” Jordan, the two experienced great victory. This set the stage for later success down the track.
After a time pursuing thriving business ventures, Barassi returned to the game to coach the Sydney Swans in 1993. In just three seasons, Barassi has significantly increased their reputation.
In 1996, Barassi was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.
Despite pursuing business (such as public speaking and his participation in Fox Footy) and personal endeavours, Ron maintains his inexhaustible passion for football and involvement with every level of the game.