Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting has revealed the impact AFL legend the late Ron Barassi had on his life.
In a moving tribute beamed into the MCG, Ponting has explained why the football icon was “one of my all-time Australian sporting heroes”.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Son pays tribute to Ron Barassi at memorial service.
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
It is well known that Ponting is an AFL fan and a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of the North Melbourne Football Club.
Ponting was born in 1974, the year after Barassi started coaching the Kangaroos.
North Melbourne had yet to win a premiership in the VFL/AFL when the famous coach took the reins.
Ron Barassi was a source of inspiration for Ricky Ponting. Credit: Seven
But Barassi’s impact was instant.
In 1975, with Barassi in charge, the club broke through for its maiden AFL/VFL flag.
Ron Barassi’s son shares dad’s ‘extremely painful’ final moments
AFL great admits to ‘Ben Cousins’ fears of ‘bad boy’ Dustin Martin
And two years later, in 1977, North had their second and suddenly became the league’s glamour club.
“What I love most about him was his passion, his want, and will to make everyone around him better, and that he wanted to win,” Ponting said.
“I think if you’ve got those three characteristics as a sportsperson, you’re not going to go far wrong.
“As a young boy, I obviously idolised the impact Ron Barassi had on my beloved North Melbourne Football Club.”
Ponting said when he was “a young lad” he was in awe of Barassi.
Ron Barassi and Barry Davis in 2015 with North Melbourne’s 1975 premiership cup. Credit: Getty Images
“To sit back and watch and listen to how motivating he was, to how much he wanted that team to have success, was certainly a lot of things I carried over into my playing days as a player and as a captain, and now as a coach,” Ponting said.
“Ron will be sadly missed. Rest in peace, Ron Barassi.”
AFL great and controversial commentator Sam Newman said Barassi was in the same echelon as surgeon and war hero Sir Ernest Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.
“The two great Australians I have known in my life have been Sir Weary Dunlop and Ron Barassi. They epitomise what this country is,” Newman said.
“Ron was larger than life. He was the doyen of modern football.
“He was revered, his credibility was beyond reproach, he was a tough, brimstone fiery orateur when he coached, but off the field he was a charming, pleasant decent man.
“Of course the whole of Australia will miss Ron because he was nationally known, but certainly the football public will remember him with great joyful ever.”
Barassi claimed a total of 10 AFL/VFL premierships as a player and coach at Melbourne, Carlton and North Melbourne.
There are now growing calls to rename the premiership cup after the football icon.
AFL legend Ron Barassi farewelled at state memorial in Melbourne
More fuel added to fire between feuding AFL clubs
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.