SPORT has taken Bruce McAvaney around the world. He has been involved in some of the most memorable moments in Australian history, yet it was small presentation in suburban West Lakes that left the esteemed broadcaster pinching himself.

As part of his role on the selection committee for the South Australian Sport Hall of Fame, McAvaney visited Port Adelaide great Russell Ebert last week after he was elevated to Legend status by the Sport SA Board and Hall of Fame Board of Governors.

Ebert became just the seventh Legend, following in the footsteps of Sir Donald Bradman AC and Bart Cummings AM (2010), Barrie Robran MBE (2011), Victor Richardson OBE and Gillian Rolton AM (2016) and Anna Meares (2020).

Robran was also on hand for the presentation in Ebert’s study, and McAvaney admits being in awe.

“It was a ‘can you believe it?’ moment for me,” McAvaney said on Adelaide radio station FIVEaa after the presentation.

“It was an amazing hour that we spent with Russell. He was very humble, as you’d expect, saying ‘I don’t really deserve this’, but to sit there and listen to him and Barry have a chat and be the third wheel in a way, it’s something I won’t forget.

“I’ve been around the block. I’m 68 years of age and I’ve been lucky and privileged but honestly, hand on my heart, it was up there with anything I’ve ever experienced as a broadcaster or a person.

“To see the two people I’ve admired so much and watched so often in their normal humbling way, because they both are completely humble… it was a pinch yourself moment.”

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Ebert inducted as Sport SA Hall of Fame Legend | PTV

Port Adelaide congratulates Russell Ebert on his elevation to Legend status in the Sport SA Hall of Fame.

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Ebert played a club record 392 games winning three SANFL premierships, six club best and fairest awards, a record four Magarey Medals and a Jack Oatey Medal. He also played 29 state games - many as captain.

While it is easy to be swept up in his on-field achievements, Ebert’s off-field work is equally admirable.

The driving force behind Port Adelaide’s community programs for more than 20 years, he has also been an ambassador for numerous charities and organisations including the Outback Odyssey, which for nearly 30 years has seen Ebert and other motoring enthusiasts trekking across the nation to raise funds for important causes.

Since 2013 the Odyssey has raised more than $1million for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) including $235,000 this year.

For McAvaney, Ebert’s recognition by Sport SA is as much about the good he has done in the community as what he has done on the football field according to McAvaney.

“He’s a champion on the field and a champion off the field,” McAvaney said.

“That can be a throwaway line but in Russell’s case, that is the ultimate truth.

“He’s given up so much of his time and I think he’s inspired a state, and certainly a city and a suburb like few others have done, both as a footballer and then as a human being.”

After the presentation Ebert reflected on the many organisations he has worked with including Novita and the RFDS.

He said the Sport SA honour was also well-deserved recognition of the incredible work that those organisations do.

“When I think about the work that organisations like the Royal Flying Doctors do, helping thousands of people each year in every corner of Australia, it is just incredible and I feel incredibly privileged to have supported them, even in a small way,” Ebert said.

“I especially thank Keith Finch and Robert Goode from Rapid Haulage who continued to support the Outback Odyssey and raise invaluable funds for the Royal Flying Doctors and Port Adelaide’s community programs.

“These types of awards are for everyone who has played a part in my journey and they all deserve to be acknowledged.”