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Seven heaven: Special night of tributes for Port legend


Power wingman Xavier Duursma will take to the field in a yet-to-be-determined jumper, rather than his usual No. 7, if he is passed fit to face Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night, when the club celebrates its greatest player at its first home game of the season.Ebert, Port Adelaide’s games record holder, died in November from leukaemia, aged 72.Stream every match of every round of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >He donned the No.7 guernsey in 197 of his 392 matches, winning two of his three premierships and two of his four Magarey Medals in it, having played in one while captain, as per club tradition.His nephew, Brad Ebert, later pulled on his uncle’s number in 184 games for the Power from 2012-20.Duursma, who took over the No.7 guernsey before the start of last season, said it was appropriate to forego wearing it on Saturday night.He needs to get through training on Thursday and Friday to be cleared to play after injuring his collarbone against Brisbane in Round 1.“Being able to celebrate his number seven, which he made famous and the Eberts have made famous, I just think it’s the right thing to do,” Duursma said.“It’s obviously a very special number – it’s become an immortalised number for the Port Adelaide faithful.“Russell was obviously an amazing person, an amazing player, not just for Port Adelaide but people all around South Australia and Australia.“This (gesture) is not about me, it’s about the Ebert family and Russ, to be able to honour that.”Ebert’s wife, Di, and daughter, Tammie, will toss the coin before Saturday night’s match, while his grandson, Albert, will kick the ceremonial first goal.The number seven will also be hung up at the northern end of Adelaide Oval.Power players will have Ebert close to their hearts in more ways than one.Although Duursma will not wear ‘7’ on his back, he and his teammates will sport a patch with the number on the front of their guernseys, on the left side of the chest.They will also don black armbands.Duursma got to know Ebert through the Power’s community youth programs after being drafted to Alberton at the end of 2018.The 21-year-old said the six-time best-and-fairest winner had a huge influence off the field.“You could just see how much of a genuinely good person he was, trying to help kids and people all around the state,” he said.The one-off guernseys will be auctioned after Saturday night’s match and all proceeds will go to Novita – Ebert’s favourite charity – to support children living with disabilities.Ebert’s oldest son, Ben, said it was a special way to continue his dad’s legacy and recognise his achievements.“Number seven was obviously his number until he became captain and it was important to him so it’s a huge acknowledgment by the club,” Ben said.The SANFL also planned to honour Ebert in May when Port Adelaide faced West Adelaide in Loxton, where the Australian and SA Football Hall of Fame member played junior football.

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