IT'S A rule for the romantics and without a doubt the AFL's most popular.

It brought the son of the late, great Russell Ebert, who sadly passed away on Friday, to Port Adelaide. It brought the son of Gary Ablett snr to Geelong. And youngsters Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy will soon continue the rich history of the father-son rule when they will be officially selected at this year's NAB AFL Draft by Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs respectively. 

The father-son rule has existed since the 1940s, but for the purpose of this exercise, only players selected in the drafts from 1986 onwards will be considered (therefore, Stephen Silvagni misses out at Carlton). 

VALE RUSSELL EBERT Football in mourning for a Legend

So with our deepest condolences to the Ebert family, and utmost respect, we find you your club's greatest SON OF A GUN. Check it out below. 

For a club that has been so successful since its acceptance to the League in 1991, the Crows have had almost no luck with the father/son rule. In fact, just two players have been listed, with neither Ben Jarman nor Jackson Edwards playing a senior game for the club. They got closest in 2006 when asking for the AFL to change a rule that would have given them access to Bryce Gibbs, who was ultimately selected with the No.1 pick by Carlton. At that stage, the AFL allowed South Australian clubs to select father/sons if the father had played 200 games in the SANFL between 1970-1990 as a way of levelling the playing field against long-established VFL clubs. Gibbs' father Ross played 191 of his 253 games for Glenelg during that period. The Crows asked for leniency (he finished his career in 1994) but were denied. – Michael Whiting

All father-son picks: Ben Jarman (2016), Jackson Edwards (2017)

Jackson Edwards ahead of the 2018 season. Picture: AFL Photos

Jonathan Brown (1999)

Perhaps it was part luck and perhaps part fate, but it seemed destiny Brown would play for the Lions. His father Brian played 51 games for Fitzroy from 1976-1981, scraping past the magical number of 50 required for recently merged Brisbane to have access to Jonathan. He grew up a Lions fan and would play alongside his childhood hero Alastair Lynch in a hat-trick of premiership from 2001-2003. He would finish his brilliant 256-game career as one of the best centre half-forwards of the AFL era, kicking 594 goals, winning two All-Australian jackets, a Coleman Medal and three best and fairests. He was also widely recognised as one of the game's most courageous players, with his willingness to mark while running with the flight of the ball. – Michael Whiting

All father-son picks: Jonathan Brown (1999), Shane Morrison (1999), Josh Clayton (2014)

05:20 Mins
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Hall of Fame: Jonathan Brown

Lionhearted forward Jonathan Brown takes his place in the Hall of Fame

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Lance Whitnall (1996)

Clearly, had this encompassed father-son picks of a pre-1986 draft era, Stephen Silvagni would be heading the list by some distance. But, after that, Whitnall has been Carlton's best. The son of 66-game player Graeme, he became an integral part of the club's forward line from the outset after kicking four goals against Essendon on debut. He went on to enjoy a rich 216-game career, which featured 348 goals and peaked at the turn of the century. He kicked 55 goals to spearhead Carlton's journey to the Grand Final in 1999, then followed it with a 70-goal campaign in 2000 that earned him All-Australian honours. He won a John Nicholls Medal as the club's best and fairest in 2006, having spent a large portion of the year playing through the backline, and served one season as full-time captain of the Blues in 2007. That was enough to see him shade Jarrad Waite for the honour as Carlton's best father-son selection. - Riley Beveridge

All father-son picks: Michael James (1988), Chris Mulcair (1988), Darren Walsh (1992), David Walls (1995), Lance Whitnall (1996), Jarrad Waite (2001), Luke Blackwell (2004), Dylan Buckley (2011), Jack Silvagni (2015), Ben Silvagni (2018)

Lance Whitnall celebrates a Carlton win over Hawthorn in round 12, 2004. Picture: AFL Photos

Travis Cloke (2004)

The son of David, who played 114 games for Collingwood, Travis was the third Cloke child to land at the club after following in the footsteps of brothers Jason and Cameron. He went on to enjoy a stellar 246-game and 441-goal career with Collingwood, which reached its high-point when he helped the Pies claim a drought-breaking premiership in 2010. He followed that with two All-Australian seasons in 2011 and 2013, where he kicked 69 and 68 goals respectively, becoming one of the most dominant key forwards of his era. He also claimed the Copeland Trophy as Collingwood's best and fairest following a 39-goal campaign in 2007. That's enough to narrowly see him edge out Heath Shaw for the mantle as the club's best father-son pick. Collingwood has a rich history of father-son products and will head into 2022 with six on its list, when the highly rated Nick Daicos joins during November's NAB AFL Draft. - Riley Beveridge

All father-son picks: Heath Shephard (1988), Ernie Hug jnr (1989), Nick Davis (1998), Brad Osborne (1998), Rhyce Shaw (1999), Jason Cloke (2000), Cameron Cloke (2002), Brayden Shaw (2003), Heath Shaw (2003), Travis Cloke (2004), Jaxson Barham (2007), Darcy Moore (2014), Callum Brown (2016), Josh Daicos (2016), Tyler Brown (2017), Will Kelly (2018)

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Clunking Cloke teaches Rance a seven-goal lesson, 2013

Collingwood forward Travis Cloke on fire in the third quarter and future All Australian Alex Rance had no answers in front of 81,950 fans

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Dustin Fletcher (1992)

In his first year at the top level Fletcher famously played in the 1993 Essendon premiership as a skinny teenager who was given huge jobs at full-back, all the while at one point going back to play at school level. He left school thereafter but remained skinny, at full-back and with big jobs throughout his stellar career that saw him become just the third player in VFL/AFL history to reach the remarkable 400-game milestone. He finished his career on that mark after two flags, including winning Essendon's best and fairest in its all-conquering 2000 season. The son of ex-Bomber Ken (who played 264 games for the club) had a booming long right-foot kick and took on all shapes and sizes of forwards. Clearly Essendon's next greatest father-son is Jobe Watson, the former skipper and three-time best and fairest winner. – Callum Twomey

All father-son picks: Dustin Fletcher (1992), Jobe Watson (2002), Jay Neagle (2005), Darcy Daniher (2007), Joe Daniher (2012), Jake Long (2014), Tom Wallis (2015)

Dustin Fletcher and Jobe Watson after a win over St Kilda in round 18, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Brett Peake (2003)

The Dockers' first and only father-son pick, Peake was recruited under previous rules for WA clubs that gave Fremantle priority access to players whose fathers had played 150 or more WAFL games for East Fremantle, South Fremantle, Swan Districts or Perth. His father Brian Peake is a WA football great who played 305 games for East Fremantle, allowing the Dockers to secure Brett via pick No.43 in 2003 under the temporary rule. A fast outside midfielder, Peake played 75 games for the Dockers before he was traded to St Kilda at the end of 2009. He was part of the Fremantle team that reached the 2006 preliminary final, receiving 10 Brownlow Medal votes in what was his best season for the club. At St Kilda, he was part of Ross Lyon's Grand Final team in 2010, playing 43 games for the club before being delisted at the end of 2012. – Nathan Schmook

All father-son picks: Brett Peake (2003)

Brett Peake evades a flock of Eagles during a Western Derby in 2007. Picture: AFL Photos

Gary Ablett jnr (2001)

No club has benefited more from the father-son rule than Geelong, but there can only be one winner here with Ablett getting the nod over fellow club legends Matthew Scarlett and Tom Hawkins. Arriving at the club as the son of one of the game's greatest ever players, Ablett started his career relatively slowly before exploding in 2007 and going on to dominate the competition for the best part of a decade. He took his game to another level when joining Gold Coast at the end of 2010, but he will always be remembered as Geelong's favourite son and almost bowed out in style with the 2020 premiership at the end of his second stint at the Cats. Two flags, two Brownlow Medals, eight All-Australians, five AFLMVP awards, three AFLCA player of the year awards, six club best and fairests and many more accolades punctuate a career that will surely see him one day elevated to Legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame. - Ben Sutton

All father-son picks: Simon Fletcher (1995), Marc Woolnough (1997), Matthew Scarlett (1997), David Clarke (1998), Gary Ablett jnr (2001), Tim Callan (2002), Mark Blake (2003), Nathan Ablett (2004), Tom Hawkins (2006), Adam Donohue (2007), Jed Bews (2011), Sam Simpson (2016), Oscar Brownless (2018)

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Gary Ablett's 29 best moments, milestones and performances

Gary Ablett reaches a rare feat - What is the No.1 moment of his outstanding career?

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Gold Coast is yet to have a father-son selection. 

Greater Western Sydney is yet to have a father-son selection. 

Josh Kennedy (2006)

With three All-Australian jackets, three club best and fairest awards and a premiership medal, Kennedy is a clear standout in this category. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the star midfielder accumulated all those accolades for Sydney, where he was traded ahead of the 2010 season after just 13 games in brown and gold. The son of four-time premiership player John Kennedy jnr and grandson of the legendary John Kennedy snr, Josh was unable to break into a strong Hawks midfield, but has since gone on to become one of the Swans' most accomplished players. As well as finishing third in the Brownlow Medal twice, he won the Gary Ayres Award for best player in the finals series in 2016, and has also served as captain or co-captain since 2017. After penning a new one-year deal to remain at the club until the end of 2022, Kennedy is on track to become just the fifth Swan to reach 300 games. – Brandon Cohen

All father-son picks: Steven Greene (2000), Travis Tuck (2005), Josh Kennedy (2006), Finn Maginness (2019)

Josh Kennedy with his grandfather John Kennedy snr and dad John Kennedy jnr in 2006. Picture: AFL Photos

Jack Viney (2012)

The son of Todd is a clear standout among the Demons' father-son crop, emulating his father's feat of captaining the club and going one better on the finals front by claiming a premiership in 2021. Viney's brutal, contested style of play also mirrors that of his dad, who played 233 games for the Demons from 1987-99. Jack has just the one club champion trophy to his name, one fewer than Todd's two, but he remains every chance of ranking equally highly in the pantheon of club greats by the time his career ends. Viney's ex-teammate Billy Stretch, who managed 47 games over five seasons from 2015-19, is the best of the remaining selections. - Michael Rogers

All father-son picks: Tom Kavanagh (1988), Glenn Molloy (1992), Brad Campbell (1992), Chris Johnson (2003), Jack Viney (2012), Billy Stretch (2014)

A 16-year-old Jack Viney at a media conference in November, 2010. Picture: AFL Photos

Luke McDonald (2013)

Selected under the father-son rule with pick No.8 in 2013, McDonald has developed into an important player for North, winning the club’s best and fairest in 2020. While father Donald played 155 games for the Kangaroos, McDonald is on track to surpass his old man with 137 games already under his belt. While the 26-year-old’s career has been plagued by injury, McDonald's versatility has made him a vital part of North Melbourne’s rebuild, while his leadership attributes saw him elevated to co-vice-captain ahead of the 2021 season. Just how highly North view McDonald was made plain in April, with the midfielder signing a five-year deal that will keep him at Arden St until the end of 2026. Other notable father-son selections include Jesse Smith, the son of 224-gamer Ross, who managed to pack a Rising Star nomination and one best-on-ground performance in a semi-final win into his 27 career games. Bailey Scott also received a Rising Star nomination on debut in 2019, with the son of premiership Roo Robert playing a total of 34 games so far in his AFL career. - Sophie Welsh

All father-son picks: Jesse Smith (2004), Luke McDonald (2013), Bailey Scott (2018), Joel Crocker (2018)

Luke McDonald with his Syd Barker Medal in November, 2020. Picture: @NMFCOfficial

Brett Ebert (2002)

Much like Adelaide, the Power haven't yet had great success with the father/son rule, but in Ebert they struck gold. He is the son of the late, great Russell, who lost his battle with leukemia on Friday. Russell was a Port Adelaide legend in the SANFL, holding the club's games record (392), winning three premiership and adding four Magarey Medals as the competition's best player. Brett was a dynamic small forward with a booming left boot and ability to mark well overhead for his size (179cm). He played 166 games from 2004-2012, kicking 240 goals, including 56 in a 2007 season Port would eventually finish runner-up in. - Michael Whiting

All father-son picks: Brett Ebert (2002), Jackson Mead (2019), Trent Burgoyne (2019), Taj Schofield (2020)

Brett Ebert in action for Port against West Coast in round five, 2008. Picture: AFL Photos

Matthew Richardson (1992)

One of the club's all-time favourite sons was actually a father-son selection. Alan 'Bull' Richardson played 103 games for the Tigers between 1959 and 1969, with son Matthew then joining the Tigers in the 1992 draft. Richardson became a passionate, legendary figure at the club during one of its toughest on-field periods, playing 282 games from 1993 to 2009, but only featuring in one finals series in 2001. Capable of slotting a goal from 50m on the boundary and then missing directly in front within a five-minute period, Richardson nevertheless holds the record for goals kicked on the MCG, with 464 of his 800 majors coming at the ground. Teammate Joel Bowden played 265 games for the Tigers, following father Michael, and while he was a well-loved Tiger, it's a tough task to overtake 'Richo'. - Sarah Black

All father-son picks: Sean Bowden (1988), Matthew Richardson (1992), David Bourke (1994), Joel Bowden (1995), Nick Jewell (1995), Tom Roach (2003), Patrick Naish (2017), Maurice Rioli jnr. (2020) 

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Big Bags: Richo destroys the Dogs with 10 goals

The Tigers fans love Matthew Richardson and this is a great example why in round eight, 2004

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David Sierakowski (1992)

There’s no way to sugar coat it – St Kilda has had very little father-son success. Sierakowski played the most games out of the three players drafted to the Saints using the rule, making 93 senior appearances and surpassing his father Brian’s 75. Sierakowski played in the Saints’ 1997 Grand Final side, and won the 1996 pre-season premiership in the red, white and black. But perhaps his most notable contribution to St Kilda folklore was being traded to West Coast in 2000 in exchange for future cult hero Fraser Gehrig. Interestingly, the Saints’ strongest father-son success has come outside the draft. Michael Roberts, son of Brownlow medallist and St Kilda great Neil, was recruited from Beaumaris and played 77 games for the Saints. And while Steven Lawrence played for Brisbane first, he followed in the footsteps of his father, St Kilda champion Barry, and joined the Saints in 2000 where he played 39 games. - Sophie Welsh

All father-son picks: Stuart Annand (1989), David Sierakowski (1992), Bailey Rice (2015)

David Sierakowski in action for St Kilda in 1999. Picture: AFL Photos

Tom Mitchell (2011)

The Swans' father-son story is not a pretty one and there's a big, ugly twist: the good ones either didn't want to go, or when they did, they ended up packing their bags. Joe Daniher (son of Anthony) chose Essendon over Sydney, Josh Dunkley (son of Andrew) wasn't nominated … and didn't really want to leave Victoria, Sean Dempster became an All-Australian defender at St Kilda, and the undisputed pick of the bunch, Mitchell, won his Brownlow Medal at Hawthorn after leaving Sydney at the end of 2016. Injury-cursed ruckman Stephen Doyle did play in the 2006 Grand Final but quickly fell out favour. As for the rest, it's not a compelling read. - Cameron Noakes

All father-son picks: Gareth John (1988), Heath James (1998), Stephen Doyle (1999), Sean Dempster (2002), Tom Mitchell (2011)

John Longmire looks on as Tom Mitchell faces the media following the 2011 NAB AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

Ben Cousins (1995)

One of the greatest players in West Coast's history, the champion midfielder played 238 games for the club in a highly decorated career that ended in controversy. A six-time All-Australian and 2005 Brownlow medallist, Cousins was a cornerstone in the Eagles' star-studded 2006 premiership team as a hard-running, goalkicking midfielder. Eligible as a father-son selection for West Coast, Fremantle and Geelong, given his father Bryan played 240 WAFL games for Perth and 67 VFL games for Geelong, Ben chose the Eagles and was added to their list at the end of the 1995 draft. A superstar player worthy of higher honours since his career ended after a short stint with Richmond, he battled drug addiction but has recently turned his life around. Two-time premiership defender Ashley McIntosh played 242 games for the Eagles and is also among the club's greatest players. His late father, John, was a champion for Claremont and made a big impact in 51 games with St Kilda, finishing second in the 1971 Brownlow Medal. – Nathan Schmook

All father-son picks: Ashley McIntosh (1989), Ben Cousins (1995), Mitch Morton (2004), Jacob Brennan (2010), Alec Waterman (2014), Jake Waterman (2016)

Ben Cousins celebrates the 2006 Grand Final win over Sydney. Picture: AFL Photos

Tom Liberatore (2010)

This is a tight call given the number of quality father-sons at the kennel currently and in the past, but Liberatore edges out Luke Darcy through his sheer impact in bringing in the long-awaited second premiership cup at Whitten Oval in 2016. Liberatore has had an injury-impacted career at stages but remains one of the best clearance players in the competition, with the 173-gamer crucial to the Bulldogs' trek to the Grand Final this year. 'Libba' is tireless, tough and tenacious and has embodied the Dogs' spirit, including claiming the club's best and fairest in 2014. Darcy will become a part of a three generation father-son story at the Bulldogs in coming weeks when his son Sam is selected by the Bulldogs as a father-son, continuing the family legacy started by Luke's father David. - Callum Twomey

All father-son picks: Luke Darcy (1992), David Round (1995), Ayce Cordy (2008), Mitch Wallis (2010), Tom Liberatore (2010), Lachie Hunter (2012), Zaine Cordy (2014), Rhylee West (2018)

Former Footscray players Tony Liberatore, Steve Wallis and Mark Hunter (back row) pose for a photo with their sons and current Western Bulldogs players Tom Liberatore, Mitch Wallis and Lachie Hunter (front row) in 2019. Picture: Getty Images