RON BARASSI knows a thing or two about AFL premierships.
The Melbourne great, who was fortunate enough to be part of the club’s golden era in the 1950s and 60s, won six in his time. He then added another four across his coaching career (Carlton and North Melbourne).
Like many diehard Demons, the 57-year gap between Melbourne’s last premiership and its most recent success was testing for Barassi.
But that’s what makes it special, and it wasn’t until he was holding the 2021 AFL Premiership Cup aloft in his home that it really sunk in.
“It means a lot. It means something special,” Barassi said.
“It’s great to see Melbourne successful again. I played for Melbourne, my father played for Melbourne and it’s just a fantastic thrill.”
Barassi pulled on the red and blue guernsey 204 times across a 12-year playing career at the Dees, in which he led the side for five seasons.
Having been the 1964 premiership captain of the Demons, the now 85-year-old had a special message for the current skipper, Max Gawn.
“Congratulations, Max,” Barassi said.
“You must be feeling so good. All the players, all the teammates would be feeling good.”
Having also experienced success in the coaching box; albeit, not with Melbourne, he was just as pleased for the man at the helm, Simon Goodwin.
“Simon, winning a premiership when you’re coaching is a fantastic thing to do,” Barassi said.
“I’m sure you’re a very happy man.”
While Barassi was like many fans in being unable to attend this year’s AFL Grand Final, that hasn’t stopped him from revelling in the historic win.
And just two weeks on, he’s already dreaming of adding to the success in 2022.
“Melbourne won a mighty, mighty, mighty flag. They are hard things to win,” Barassi said.
“There is no reason why there shouldn’t be more to come.
“The Melbourne players and supporters should be very happy. Give us a couple of weeks and let’s get ready for next year.”