Kevin ‘Cowboy’ Neale dead – AFL legend dies aged 78 after long battle with Alzheimer’s

Kevin ‘Cowboy’ Neale dead – AFL legend dies aged 78 after long battle with Alzheimer’s

AFL legend Kevin “Cowboy” Neale had died at the age of 78 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

The St Kilda hero’s tragic death was confirmed by the club on Sunday.

AFL legend Kevin “Cowboy” Neale had died at the age of 78Herald Sun

GettyPlayers Kevin “Cowboy” Neale (left) and Barry Breen (right) bring out the 1966 Premiership cup during a match in 2016.[/caption]

In a heartbreaking statement, they said: “St Kilda Football Club is deeply saddened by the passing of Kevin “Cowboy” Neale.

“The 1966 premiership hero died overnight at the age of 78.

“Cowboy was truly a beloved figure at the Saints, not only among his teammates and fans but by those who worked alongside him at the club long after his playing days.”

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018 with teammates organising a reunion in a show of support a year later.

Neale played 256 matches for The Saints and was part of the 1966 premiership-winning team.

He scored five key goals during the match when they defeated Collingwood by a single point.

He earned the nickname “Cowboy” thanks to his tough and reckless style of play after arriving at the club from rural South Warrnambool.

The 6ft sporting star won St Kilda’s best and fairest award in 1973 and was later named in the club’s Team of the Century and was also entered into the Hall of Fame.

He played for The Saints between 1965 and 1977 after making his senior debut at 19 and scored an incredible 301 goals for the club.

After a stint at Victoria, he worked with St Kilda after his retirement.

He was also captain and coach of Ainslie in the ACT competition, winning four premierships.

His tragic passing comes just days after the death of Melbourne legend Ron Barassi at the age of 87.

Ron was a prominent figure in Aussie Rules football and was the first-ever player to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

He played 253 senior VFL games during his career, 204 at Melbourne, and later 49 for Carlton.

Herald SunKevin Neale (left) with former coach Allan Jeans in 1982[/caption]

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