State funeral for Barassi as AFL weighs up renaming cup

Renaming the premiership cup after Ron Barassi is among the ways the AFL is considering honouring the Australian sporting icon, who will be farewelled at a state funeral.

League bosses will consult clubs and key industry figures in coming days before deciding how to acknowledge Barassi.

The AFL Commission will make a final call, with the grand final looming next week.

Barassi died on Saturday, aged 87.

“It’s hard to imagine a bigger or more significant figure in the history of Australian Rules than Ron Barassi,” outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan told reporters on Monday.

“There were his exploits on the field, off the field and more broadly as an innovator and someone incredibly progressive.

“His legacy is being considered. There is, I know, a lot of push for renaming the premiership cup.

“There are other ways to remember him. Those things are being discussed.”

McLachlan played a straight bat when asked for his own opinion on whether the premiership cup should be renamed after Barassi.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to express my view at the moment, other than to say I believe Ron Barassi needs to be honoured in some way,” McLachlan said.

“There are a variety of ways and I know the focus is on the renaming of the premiership cup. That will have different views.

“We’ll work through the process with our clubs and ultimately it will be a Commission decision.

“But I do think he needs to be acknowledged in the same way that Norm Smith has been or Jock McHale.”

Smith and McHale both have grand final day awards named after them.

The Norm Smith Medal is awarded to the best player on the ground in the season decider and the Jock McHale Medal goes to the premiership-winning coach.

The AFL is also considering a tribute to Barassi on grand final day this year.

It comes after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed Barassi’s family has accepted the offer of a state funeral.

“The word legend is used a lot. But nobody deserves it quite like Ron Barassi,” Andrews said in a statement on Monday.

“He didn’t just play the game – he reshaped it. And how fitting that Friday night’s game was a cliffhanger between the Dees and the Blues.”

Barassi’s state memorial details are yet to be confirmed.

Barassi played 253 senior VFL games in his career, including 204 for Melbourne and 49 for Carlton.

Between playing and coaching, Barassi claimed 10 premierships at Melbourne, Carlton and North Melbourne.


Shayne Hope
(Australian Associated Press)


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