The late football legend Russell Ebert is being immortalised in a biography written by his teenage grandson to honour the South Australian great.
- Football legend Russell Ebert’s life story is being recorded in a biography to be published in October
- Grandson Albert has taken the lead with contributions from the whole family
- Ebert was made an Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend in 2022
Born in the Riverland town of Berri, Ebert is one of the most celebrated players in South Australian football history and was made an Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend this year, eight months after his death.
The revered sportsman is the only player to have been awarded the Magarey Medal four times, in 1971, 1974, 1976 and 1980 — the South Australian equivalent of the Brownlow medal.
His skill as a player and coach came together when he combined the two roles, taking on the captaincy of Port Adelaide, turning out for a record 392 games.
After his playing career, Ebert went on to coach SANFL sides Port and Woodville-West Torrens, before becoming a respected junior development coach for the state leagues.
A young Albert Ebert approached his grandfather about capturing the sportsman’s life story in September last year, as a way of keeping a record of his achievements for the family.
“Albert asked us if we’d like to do a chapter, so my mother wanted to do a chapter, then my sister, brother and I did a chapter and piece as well,” Ben Ebert, Albert’s father said.
The family affair soon turned into a bigger project, and deep conversations between the football legend and his grandson led to nothing being off the cards, even his last battle with leukaemia is recorded in the biography.
“The book has just everything … the start, the finish and then the rest,” Ben Ebert said.
After Russell Ebert’s passing in November 2021, author Albert was tasked with filling in the gaps of the legend’s life story, with the assistance of his father Ben.
“We found Russell’s dairies from 83 to 99 when he was coaching. It was cursive writing so Albert stopped for a while because he couldn’t read it,” Ben said.
“I had to pop in and then spent about eight months on it.”
Ben Ebert noted his father shied away from speaking about his accomplishments, but his diaries revealed how much Russell achieved within his life.
“He was running a business, he was doing charity work, running a football team, as a captain and coach,” he said.
“I can imagine him up there shaking his fist at everyone going, ‘Why are you telling everyone all my stuff?’ But I’m sure he would be proud as punch.”