Port Adelaide forward Brad Ebert will play his 250th career game on Saturday afternoon against the West Coast Eagles – the club he started his career with. His former teammate and close friend, Kane Mitchell, gave aflplayers.com.au a unique insight into the Power’s No. 7.
When I think of Brad Ebert my mind instantly goes to how selfless, kind and giving he is. He is so nice that he has stopped correcting people who mistake him for his less good-looking cousin Brett Ebert.
I’d known of Brad from his time at West Coast and the one or two games he dominated for Peel Thunder in the WAFL. I knew the type of player he was – an elite runner who was tough as nails.
Arriving at Port gave me the opportunity to learn from him and I saw him as someone who could make me better. He was someone I was drawn to instantly.
Brad comes from a great family and the Eberts are living legends around South Australia.
Every Monday for my first two seasons, Brad’s Mum and Dad, Craig and Christine, would have anywhere between six to 10 new players and partners over for dinner.
Brad was so welcoming of me and everyone that was new to the club – it was a lot for Christine to cook for us all but that’s just the type of people he and his family are.
Brad is Mr Consistent – you know exactly what you are going to get with him.
He is insanely courageous, to the point where you wonder how he gets back up sometimes and whether he should just go out with his head bandaged up before it starts bleeding.
When I came to Port Adelaide, he was the benchmark for how hard you worked on and off-the-field. The respect that he had was something that all of us aspired to be like.
One of Bradley’s greatest attributes is his ability to find a way to balance football and family/ friends without it becoming all-consuming.
His beautiful wife Bec has been a massive support for him moving to Adelaide from Perth. She kept him honest and helped to build this balanced perspective on life. She is as honest as he is and just as hard working.
The next generation of Eberts is in safe hands too with Leo and Henry keeping them on their toes. This ability to keep life and football in perceptive I believe has played such a large part in his consistency and high level of contribution to the Port Adelaide Football Club.
Being in South Australia, where football is almost religion, and being an Ebert, to stay as humble and grounded as Brad is, is a true testament to his character. He is always willing to give up his time for others and never too busy to help out a friend.
You don’t get to the AFL and play 250 games without being competitive. He is so competitive he still hasn’t gotten over the time I beat him in a wrestle at training. It’s still in my top five moments of my career.
It hasn’t always been easy for Brad either. He has had to deal with the loss of a great mate, multiple injuries and this just highlights even further his resilience and courage.
They say good people attract good people and that shows in who else was drawn to him. Brad, and I, have made life long bonds with other players we played with over the time. Hamish (Hartlett), Matt (Lobbe), Lewis (Stephenson), Tom (Jonas) are just a few elite humans that would also hold Brad in the highest regard.
Sometimes you get so lucky with the people you get to spend your time with, and I think these boys would say the same thing about Bradley.
This also meant that I’ve discovered some interesting quirks along the way.
Brad loves a treat. He actually had the nickname ‘Treats Ebert’ there for a while. He used to love his Feel-Good Iced Coffees and vanilla slices from the Port Elliot Bakery after a surf.
His go-to biscuit is always the McVitie’s Digestives.
He would come around for dinner and bring a bottle of wine – and he knows his wine so that was always delicious – but then he’d bring digestive biscuits. You’d sit on the couch and just question, ‘Seriously, Digestives, and not even the choc coated ones?”
The other thing about Brad is that he always had the best fashion sense out of anyone I knew. He was always trying to be on, or slightly ahead of, the trend.
When I talk about his fashion sense being the best, I say that with as much tongue in my cheek as I possibly can.
One time he arrived at dinner wearing a red flannelette shirt and a navy-blue fedora. We couldn’t figure out if he was coming from or going to a farm party, but it was just a Tuesday night and he thought he would wear that!
He also loves to laugh at his own joke and quote movies like he wrote them. Yeah baby!!!
But, the best way to describe Brad is hard-working, courageous, loyal to a fault and a friend you’d eat digestives with on the couch.
He’s in tune with himself and everything that’s going on around him. He is always on the pursuit to better himself, studying throughout his career and creating a blossoming wine business to boot.
He makes everyone around him better and cares for others more than he does himself. He really is a truly an elite human being.
I’m very lucky to have spent so much time with him to this point and looking forward to spending more time together with our families as we grow old.