Port Adelaide legend Russell Ebert seals deal on Australian Rules scheme
Port Adelaide stalwart seals agreement with HKFC on Auskick scheme
Russell Ebert could have been excused if he was overawed on his first Hong Kong visit, but the Aussie Rules legend did not let anything faze him as he set about a task close to his heart.
He passed on nuggets of information to hopefully the next generation of great players.
And his mantra - there are no shortcuts in life as one will be found out one day.
"Hard work matters. I trained harder than anyone in the belief that my opponent couldn't have trained as hard. This is the message I try to pass on to young kids. Today everyone has talent and everyone has skills, but those who make it to the top are those who thrive on a combination of hard work and discipline," said Ebert, arguably one of the greatest players in Australian Rules football.
Ebert was making his first visit to Hong Kong as an ambassador from Port Adelaide Football Club where he played most of his illustrious career. Yesterday, he signed on behalf of his club a reciprocal agreement with Hong Kong Football Club, which will also offer children of members, and non-members, the opportunity to play Aussie Rules under the Auskick programme.
Promoted internationally by the Australian Football League, Auskick has nearly 300 children registered in Hong Kong. It has been supported by Hong Kong Football Club, but the tie-in with Port Adelaide gives it added weight and one which Ebert hopes will pave the way for the sport to make inroads into mainland China.
"That is a long-term goal, getting the sport into China. We are trying to take the sport to the community all over the world and this is our first attempt to reach out to Hong Kong where there is a demand with many expat Australians living here," said Ebert, who won four State best-and-fairest awards during a career spanning 392 games with Port Adelaide.
HKFC director of operations Tony Sealy welcomed the initiative and said the club always looked at ways to provide a wider sports platform for members and the community at large.
"We have opened our facilities to the Auskick programme in summer for the last couple of years and when this idea was broached we welcomed it. We are always receptive to helping out other sports codes."
It was all play for Ebert, 64, yesterday. But it will be all business today as he watches the grand final between the Hawthorn Hawks and Fremantle Dockers on television. And he is rooting for the Dockers. "Hawthorn have won multiple premierships, but Fremantle have never been there before and it will be great for AFL if they win."