Barassi bound for Bangalow

HE is synonymous with Australian football, and they don’t come any larger than life than Ron Barassi, the multiple AFL premiership player and coach whose deeds on the field are the stuff of folklore.

Barassi will be the guest at a meet-and-greet at Bangalow Bowling Club, the social club base of the Summerland AFL’s Byron Magpies, on Saturday, July 17.

Barassi, inducted into the AFL Team of the Century in 1996, was the brains behind football’s biggest grand final comeback in front of the game’s largest crowd.

In the 1970 grand final, in front of 121,696 spectators at the MCG, the Barassi-coached Carlton turned around a 44-point half-time deficit to defeat fierce rivals Collingwood by 10 points.

This match was credited with what many call the ‘birth of the modern game’ with Barassi instructing his players to handball and play on at all costs to neutralise the Magpies’ long-kicking game, which was tearing his team apart.

It was a tactic that sped up the evolution of Australian football from a stop-start mark-and-kick game to the flowing spectacle displayed by today’s professional footballers.

Barassi played 254 games for Melbourne (1953-1964) and Carlton (1965-1969) and coached in 515 games with Carlton (1965-1971), North Melbourne (1973-1980), Melbourne (1981-1985) and Sydney (1993-1995), for four premierships (1968, 1970, 1975, 1977).

Barassi was the first to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame as a Legend.

He will share these and other football memories and insights at Bangalow next month.

Tickets are $40 each and are available from the bowling club on 66871235.

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