PORT ADELAIDE coach Ken Hinkley has praised Brad Ebert for showing courage to the end, after the 260-gamer’s final AFL game in Friday night’s Preliminary Final.
Ebert embraced teammates and led his side from the field in tears after retiring from the game with Port’s heartbreaking loss to Richmond.
Hinkley confirmed the news in his post-match press conference.
"It's pretty clear if you watched coming off the ground tonight, Brad's done as an AFL player. He's got to put himself, his health, and his family first," Hinkley said.
"He gives everything to our footy club. He'll walk away from the club knowing he did everything he possibly could.
“I've had a lot of conversations with Brad this year and the courage of that man is amazing. He just kept at it right until the end.
"He's been pretty certain this was probably going to be the end because he wasn't prepared to risk any further injury to his head."
Ebert left the field in the arms of trainers after a typically courageous act saw him come off second best.
He flew back with the flight in defensive 50 to prevent a mark to Tigers forward Jack Riewoldt, giving his side a chance to overturn the narrow deficit late in the game.
Hinkley said it typified Ebert’s willingness to put his body on the line to help his club.
“It’s what Brad has always done,” he said.
“You can’t question the way he prepares, the way he trains, the way he plays.
“He gave everything he had. He’s a great teammate, a great dad, a great husband – he’s got loads of things going for him Brad.
“He won’t be lost to the club all together, obviously Brad will always be part of the Port Adelaide Football Club as he should be.”
Ebert returned to Port Adelaide, where he played junior football, at the end of 2011 after four seasons with West Coast.
He finishes with 260 AFL games and 140 AFL goals and as a former vice-captain of the Power and winner of several club awards including the Fos Williams Medal as best team man.
Ebert and the club are expected to formally announce the veteran's retirement in the coming days.