On Friday afternoon, on the doorstep of South Australian’s sporting coliseum, the Adelaide Oval, football legend Malcolm Blight became the latest member of an exclusive clique to be honoured with a statue outside the famous ground.

An ornament of the game, for both his playing and coaching feats, Blight joined South Australian treasures Barrie Robran and Russell Ebert in brassed sculpture form, with the South Australian National Football League honouring the former Woodville and North Melbourne champion for his services to football.
In a lifetime of football that spanned five decades, Blight’s odyssey begun in Adelaide’s western suburbs at Woodville where he completed a childhood dream by representing the club he supported as a boy. He spent six years there where he won the most coveted individual prize in the SANFL, the Magarey medal, in 1972, before making a massive move interstate to play for the Kangaroos.
At Arden Street, Blight’s reputation ballooned as he became one of the premier players in the Victorian Football League. He won two premierships for North Melbourne in 1975 and in 1977, and then in 1978, he won the game's most esteemed award, the Brownlow medal. And then he packed up again, shuffled back across the border to his beloved Woodville where he closed out his playing career with distinction by booting 126 goals in his final season.
Football has a habit of providing opportunities to reflect on the past, and Friday was precisely one of those instances. In a special ceremony at Adelaide Oval, broadcasting icon Bruce McAvaney paid tribute to Blight, in a moment the Gold Coast SUNS coaching advisor labelled as a proud occasion.
“It was a terrific day in Adelaide. The SANFL put on a great function and a great ceremony. There was a lot of people (there). It was a very proud moment,” Blight told SUNS TV on Tuesday.
“A really good friend of mine, Bruce McAvaney, a great broadcaster – he grew up in Woodville where I did in Adelaide – he actually did all the notes about me and unveiled it and there I was, this magnificent structure.”
For all the medals, trophies and accolades that sit perched on his mantle piece, and are used to compare his football exploits to other champions, Blight cherishes his first ever appearance for Woodville above all else.
“I’ve been pretty lucky really, with the premierships, some medals and awards and all that. But I still go back to my first game,” Blight said.
“When you’re a kid growing up and you play for the team you barrack for. That first game at Woodville all those years ago, I can still feel the tingle in my body of running out on the ground.
“As much as I’ve had some other ones that were very close of course, it was probably that first game.”
When your football journey lands at so many different locations, at so many proud establishments, it’s hard to know which club resonates most with an icon. For Blight, his time spent at Woodville, North Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, St Kilda, and now the Gold Coast SUNS, are simply all part of his journey. He favours none over the others, but is grateful for the opportunity each of them presented.
“I think it’s just the tapestry of M. Blight – I call it that. When someone says to me: ‘Who do you barrack for?’ It’s a bit like having five or six kids, they’re always your children and you don’t favour any hopefully.
“I suppose being fortunate to play at North Melbourne in the premierships, coaching the Crows, coaching Geelong to Grand Finals and as I said, just starting at Woodville.
“I was pretty lucky I played at two clubs – one in Adelaide and one in Melbourne – and I ended up coaching for both of them, which is most unusual. So that was a bit of a thrill too.”