South Australia’s 1
2 RUSSELL EBERT
JUST who is South Australia’s best-ever sportsman or woman? After jockey Kerrin McEvoy’s win on Cross Counter to notch his third success in the Melbourne Cup, his name must surely be part of the discussion.
Add to those victories his recent back-to-back triumphs in the world’s richest race on turf, The Everest, and if McEvoy’s not in the top 10 his bank balance most certainly is. Of course, his career is far from over and it will be little surprise if pushes himself higher among this group when his riding days are done.
This is a conversation without a definitive answer.
Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder and the biggest impressions are often made when we are young. It was that way for me.
Cricket great Ian Chappell will always be my No.1. No other sportsperson made a bigger impact on me as a youngster.
This top 10 is about those who played, not coached, otherwise cycling mentor Charlie Walsh would be there. And neither are trainers eligible, otherwise Cups King Bart Cummings and the great Colin Hayes would be there.
If commentators could make the list, Bruce McAvaney would be top of the pops. He is special!
Sir Donald Bradman is not eligible, either, despite playing 14 first-class seasons South Australia. The boy from Bowral was born and bred in New South Wales. We’d love to claim him, but we can’t.
So here’s my top 10 ... RUSSELL Ebert was poetry in motion on a football field.
When he had the ball in his hands, the game moved slowly and he did as he pleased. He revolutionised SANFL football. He did what few others could.
A record four Magarey Medals later, from 1971 to 1980 when the SANFL was in one of its strongest eras, it would be fair to say he did what no others could.
When Ebert donned the state jumper, we all celebrated having him on our team. He resisted the temptation to play in the VFL until late in his career.
Even then, he remained in Adelaide and commuted to Melbourne where he played 25 games for North Melbourne in the 1979 season. He had the most possessions of any Kangaroos player and polled nine Brownlow Medal votes before returning home. The drop kick died once Russell stop thumping it 60m.