Australia

AFL legend Ron Barassi tests positive for COVID-19

Australian rules football legend Ron Barassi has tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of taking part in Melbourne’s long-awaited AFL premiership celebrations at the MCG.

The 85-year-old — who is reportedly double vaccinated — is understood to have contracted coronavirus last month.

Barassi was set to hand over the premiership cup to Demons coach Simon Goodwin and captain Max Gawn in the club’s official Victorian celebrations on Sunday.

Former Melbourne coach Neale Daniher will present Goodwin with the Jock McHale Medal, while Christian Petracca will receive his Norm Smith Medal from the Demons’ games record-holder David Neitz.

For 57 years, Barassi was Melbourne’s most recent premiership captain, having led the Demons to the 1964 flag.

Such is Barassi’s stature in the sport, he was inducted as one of the first legends in the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

He played in six premierships during a golden era for the Demons between 1953 and 1964.

Barassi later coached Carlton and North Melbourne to two premierships each.

He also had coaching stints with the Demons and the Sydney Swans.

Melbourne’s official premiership party is set to be attended by about 40,000 fans, most of whom were stuck in Victoria’s lockdown and unable to travel to see the drought-breaking flag live in Perth.

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