Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has confirmed that veteran midfielder Brad Ebert will retire after suffering a concussion in his side’s heartbreaking AFL preliminary final loss.
Ebert was forced off the ground in the final quarter of the Power’s six-point loss to Richmond after a courageous spoil on Jack Riewoldt.
With the Tigers looking to put the game out of reach, Ebert went back with the flight to get a last-ditch fist on the ball before Riewoldt could mark it, but he was left dazed after his head hit the turf hard following the spoil.
The 30-year-old got to his feet after the brutal contest but staggered as he was helped off the Adelaide Oval by Port Adelaide’s medical staff.
Following his side’s defeat, Hinkley revealed that Port Adelaide had held discussions with Ebert about his future following repeated concussions.
“It’s pretty clear if you watched him come off the ground tonight that he’s done as an AFL player,” he said.
“He’s got to put his health and his family first. He gives everything to our footy club and he’ll walk away from the club knowing he did everything he possibly could.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with Brad throughout this year and the courage of that man is amazing. He just kept at it right till the end.
“Brad will certainly retire and if anything, tonight would’ve absolutely confirmed it for Brad.
“He’s been pretty certain that this was probably going to be the end because he wasn’t prepared to risk any further injuries to his head, it’s too important.”
Like many observers, Hinkley was full of praise for Ebert’s final act on a football field – the heroic spoil on Riewoldt in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve been here eight years and it’s what Brad has always done. You can’t question the way he prepares, the way he trains, the way he plays.
“He gave everything he had, he’s a great teammate, dad and husband. He’s got lots of things going for him and he won’t be lost on the club altogether.”
Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall and Port champion Kane Cornes were others who lauded Ebert’s tremendous act.
“If Port were somehow able to win the game, this is the moment that everyone will reflect upon and say, ‘That won Port Adelaide the game’,” Dunstall told Fox Footy.
“He had no right to get back and do what he did. He risked personal injury. There’s no doubt that he is worthy of a decent contract, however the welfare of the individual has to come first.
“Sometimes when you’ve had a lot of concussions, you can just rattle the body. He landed flat on his back and there might have been a bit of whiplash on the ground.”
Ebert finishes his career with 260 matches to his name after being drafted 13th overall in the 2007 AFL draft by the West Coast Eagles.
After playing 76 games for the Eagles between 2008 and 2011, the versatile midfielder requested a trade to Port Adelaide, where his nephew Russell was a club legend.