THOUSANDS of people have paid tribute to the late, great Russell Ebert during a state funeral at Alberton Oval on Tuesday.
Friends, family, Port Adelaide royalty, fans and politicians were among the 4000-strong crowd who filled the stands and shed a tear for the Australian Football Legend.
Ebert, 72, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in December last year, and lost his battle with the cancer at the start of November.
His son, Brett, who played for the Port Adelaide AFL side, fought back tears as he asked how could a man so generous, so "compassionate", be dealt such an unfair, cruel hand?
VALE RUSSELL EBERT AFL remembers Port Legend
"The world has lost a man whose life was devoted to others," Brett said.
Russell Ebert, who played a club-record 392 games with the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL and won three premierships and six best and fairest awards, was recently elevated to Legend status in the South Australian Sport Hall of Fame.
In doing so, he 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).
"We've had a chance to reflect on just how good he was," Ebert's daughter Tammie Kernich said.
"To us, though, he was Dad, not Russell Ebert."
Peter Woite, a former teammate of Ebert's, said: "I had a front row seat to see him in action, it was an unbelievable experience to play alongside him.
"He was a perfect kick, a sensational high mark, and could read the play better than anyone. What about his overhead handballs?
"He was a champion in every sense of the word. We will miss you Russ."
Max James, another teammate of Ebert's, said he told his grandson that Russell had gone to "captain God's team".
Port Adelaide chief Matthew Richardson said: "It doesn't seem real - he was always indestructible.
"Football may have been his first gift, but [his charity work] was definitely his second," Richardson said.
Earlier, in a statement to fans, Richardson said: "Russell’s humility, fairness and dedication to the broader community post his football career was universally admired and respected, and the stories and tributes that have flowed all week have been testament to that.
"Our thoughts and sincere condolences to Dian, Tammie, Ben, Brett and the Ebert family."