Australian football legend Barry Round dead at 72

Fans of Australian Rules Football were left saddened last week after learning that 72-year-old legend Barry Round had passed away.

The Guardian noted that Round had a decades-long career with the Australian Football League (AFL) that began when he joined Footscray (now Western Bulldogs) at the age of 17.

Round distinguished himself on the field

Round went on to play some 135 senior games with the Bulldogs before departing for the South Melbourne Swans in 1976.

Round played 193 games for the Swans over a nine year period, during which he distinguished himself on the field.

This included winning Club Best and Fairest (now known as the Bob Skilton Medal) 1979 and again in 1981. He also tied for the Brownlow Medal in 1981 with his good friend Bernie Quinlan.

What’s more, Round served as the Swans’ team captain from 1980 to 1984 and led his team to the night premiership in 1982.

Round left the AFL in 1986 for the Victorian Football League (VFL), where he coached and played for Williamstown until 1991 when he finally retired at the age of 41.

Player remembered as “a champion bloke”

According to Australia’s Wild World of Sports Nine, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan released a statement on Saturday recalling Round’s contributions to the league.

“The early days of the Swans in Sydney, after their painful relocation from the Lake Oval in Melbourne, were incredibly challenging for the club as they sought to generate a new fan base and establish themselves at the SCG,” McLachlan was quoted as saying.

“In a turbulent period as the club battled to build its new life and the competition itself grappled with the first stage of expansion four decades ago, Round held the player group together with his larger-than-life personality,” he continued.

“Under his leadership, and because of his leadership, the Swans fought huge obstacles to lay down a foundation that sees them today as one of the great clubs of the AFL,” McLachlan concluded.

Tributes online

Tributes to Round quickly appeared on social media, with fans fondly remembering the athlete’s “smile and welcoming hand.”