Ebert's touching tribute to J-Mac

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 04 November 2012 | 14.43

Port Adelaide defeat Western Bulldogs in a thrilling exhibition match at The Oval in England.

Port Adelaide players celebrate their victory at The Oval - their first match without the late John McCarthy. Source: Getty Images

THE moment the ball swung back through for the goal, Brad Ebert immediately thought of his best mate.

He turned to the black arm band on his left arm, kissed it and then pointed to the sky where he knew John McCarthy would be looking down on him.

The goal - a brilliant kick from 50m out near the boundary line - sealed a one-point victory for Port Adelaide over the Western Bulldogs in the AFL's exhibition game at The Oval.

Power wins London Exhibition

But for the Power this game was more than just a scratch match in a foreign land. It was about finally getting the chance to move on from what has been a horrible couple of months following McCarthy's tragic death in Las Vegas in September.

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"It has been a tough season and the post-season, it has probably been some of the toughest times of my life to be honest," an emotional Ebert said afterwards.

"There have been a lot of emotions going through the last few months and Dani was here tonight, John's girlfriend.

"Over the last year we have got on really and he was my best mate so it was great to be able to kick that goal and even though it was only an exhibition game, it was really nice to able to do that and give him a litle bit, give him a salute."

Ebert said John's friends had urged Dani, who was in tears after the game, to come to London on the trip which she'd planned with her boyfriend months earlier.

"She was initially going to come over with John and then after everything that happened she was going to cancel it and that sort of stuff but the flight was already booked and we just said to her, 'Why don't you come across?'," he said.

"My girlfriend Bec was here and Nathan Blee's girlfriend Jess came across so they were able to stay together for the last five nights in London and Edinburgh.

"It was good for her to get away as well otherwise she would have just been in Melbourne. Being able to get over here, get around the girls and try and have a bit of fun...I think it has been good for her to get away."

Port Adelaide midfielder Brad Ebert kicks the winning goal againts the Western Bulldogs at The Oval. Source: Getty Images

The Power have a memorial planned for McCarthy at their first home game next year in Round 2, but Ebert said playing the exhibition game in London was going to help the club move forward.

"While we will always have J-Mac's memory with us, we really wanted to make sure this off-season that we would be able to move on," he said.

"And while it still will hurt for a long time, we need to be able to use that on the footy field going forward and really start afresh.

"For me personally, I got over here for a few weeks before and that was great to be able to come away with my girlfriend, catch up with a few mates and just get away from everything that was going on in town and try and enjoy yourself.

"Hopefully going forward we will get back to Alberton and really make sure everyone is switched on because we all know how hard the last season has been."

The thrilling victory - 14.4 (88) to 13.9 (87) - was a great start to the coaching career of Ken Hinkley who has spent only a couple of days with his players after being appointed last month.

Former Essendon forward Angus Monfries was the star for the Power kicking three goals and engineering an impressive third-quarter comeback which saw his team kick nine unanswered goals to come from 39-points down to hit the front.

It looked like it was going to amount to nothing with the Bulldogs hitting back with four straight goals midway through the last quarter to wrestle back the advantage before Ebert, with the spirit of J-Mac on his side, produced something special with just 40 seconds remaining in the match.

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