Sporting community in mourning following the passing of AFL legend Matt Rendell

Jun 29, 2023
During his impressive VFL/AFL career, spanning 12 seasons, Matt Rendell showcased his skills in 177 games. Source: Getty Images.

In a devastating loss for the Australian sporting community, AFL legend Matt Rendell passed away on Wednesday, June 28  at the age of 64.

A highly respected figure in the world of Australian Rules football, Rendell left a lasting mark on the game both as a player and as a prominent media personality.

Rendell had suffered a heart attack while walking his dog on Sunday, June 25, and was quickly taken to the hospital and put on life support.

His family announced his passing in a statement in which they expressed gratitude for all those offering support at this difficult time.

“It is with great sadness that I am releasing this statement in regards to the condition of Matthew Rendell,” the statement read.

“Matthew passed away this afternoon, after suffering a cardiac arrest Sunday morning. He did not regain consciousness.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the first responders and the staff at the Victorian Heart Hospital.

“The Rendell family would like to express gratitude towards everyone who has been supportive at this time.”

During his impressive VFL/AFL career, spanning 12 seasons, Matt Rendell showcased his skills in 177 games. He made significant contributions to both Fitzroy (playing 164 games with 101 goals) and Brisbane (playing 13 games with seven goals). Rendell’s accomplishments included winning the Fitzroy best and fairest awards in 1982 and 1983, earning All-Australian selections in 1983 and 1987, and serving as the club captain from 1987 to 1989.

Following his retirement as a player, Rendell delved into coaching, working as an assistant coach at Melbourne and St Kilda. Eventually, he shifted his focus to recruiting and list management, where he played a vital role. Notably, Rendell’s astute selection of future AFL champion Patrick Dangerfield in the first round of the 2010 draft stood out as one of his greatest successes during his tenure at Adelaide. He also contributed to Collingwood as a recruiter and served as a part-time ruck coach.

News of Rendell’s passing has reverberated throughout the AFL community, prompting an outpouring of grief and tributes from players, coaches, and fans alike.

AFL CEO-Elect Andrew Dillon was among the first to pay tribute to Rendell, offering his love and condolences to the sporting star’s loved ones.

“Matt Rendell was a top-flight footballer from the moment of his debut for the Eagles, regular state representative for SA and imposing ruckman with Fitzroy and the Bears. As a dual All Australian and dual best and fairest winner, he led with distinction and forged friendships across the game with his gregarious nature, both as a player and then later in his career working in the game,” Dillon said.

“He will be greatly missed by so many across the industry and we offer our sincere condolences to Leonie, Daniel and James, and his many friends and colleagues around the game.”


Rendell is survived by his brothers Tim and Stephen, sisters Deb, Melinda and Vanessa, wife Leonie and his two sons Daniel and James.

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