North Melbourne carries heavy hearts following the passing of football icon and the club’s first-ever premiership coach, Ron Barassi, earlier today.
Barassi was lured to Arden St out of retirement ahead of the 1973 season. He guided the Kangaroos to their first-ever VFL/AFL premiership just three years later in 1975.
That victory over Hawthorn was all the more remarkable considering the Roos had finished the 1972 season last on the table with just one win from 22 games.
The legend of Barassi grew larger two years later when his team overcame a 27-point three-quarter time deficit in a historic drawn Grand Final against Collingwood. The Roos claimed their second flag a week later in the replay.
During Barassi’s eight years at the coaching helm from 1973-80, North Melbourne played in six Grand Finals, winning two, drawing one and losing three.
The club missed the finals just once during his tenure, in his first year in charge in 1973.
Club president Dr Sonja Hood said Barassi’s legacy would loom large long after his passing.
“Ron was a giant of the game and for a time he was ours,” Dr Hood said.
“He famously guided us to our first-ever VFL/AFL premiership with a win over Hawthorn in 1975 and he backed that up with another flag in 1977, this time with a win over Collingwood.
“But he was much more than a coach – he was a man of the game and the game will forever owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.
“He gave his all for every club he represented – first Melbourne, then Carlton, North Melbourne and finally at Sydney.
“For us, Ron will always be our first premiership coach and he’ll always be a North Melbourne legend.
“Vale Ronald Dale Barassi.”