Connect with us

Fantasy 101

Fantasy Flashbacks – Round 1

Jamie profiles a player each week in Fantasy Flashbacks.


For many of us, AFL football wouldn’t be the same without fantasy footy. Yet believe it or not, there was a time when fans didn’t spend hours obsessing over player stats, role changes and the like, in pursuit of fantasy glory in whatever their preferred format might be.

However, just because fantasy footy didn’t exist, doesn’t mean we can’t take a look back in time to see how some of the players from the past, would of performed in fantasy football if it did exist when they took to the field.

In each week of the 2021 season, we’ll delve into historical statistics to find a player of the past who would’ve excelled from a fantasy perspective in the corresponding round of football, and that player will be named our Fantasy Flashback ‘Player of the Round’.

For our Round 1 and inaugural ‘Player of the Round, we go back to 1968 and the season opening match-up between South Melbourne and St Kilda at the old Lake Oval. Leading the Swans out that day was soon to be triple Brownlow Medallist Bob Skilton. Although, at the time of this game Skilton had only two ‘Charlies’ to his name, anyone who was at the ground that day wouldn’t have bet against him winning a third that season after leading his side to a comfortable 25-point win.

Skilton collected 36 kicks and six handballs, took seven marks and kicked seven goals in a dominant performance which earned him three Brownlow votes and would have netted him an outstanding 185 points in AFL Fantasy. Remarkably, his score would have no doubt actually been higher, however back in 1968 tackles were not included in match statistics.

As mentioned above, Skilton would go on to claim his third Brownlow Medal that season and would have also been considered an elite fantasy midfielder, averaging a very impressive 117.8 fantasy points – and remember, that doesn’t include tackles!

Bob Skilton turned 30 during the 1968 season and statistics weren’t recorded until 1965, so unfortunately, we can’t work out what he would’ve averaged from a fantasy perspective over his career. However, in 1965, 1966 and 1967 seasons (and again, not including tackles), he would have produced fantasy averages of 107, 109.2 and 106.5.

There’s no doubt Bob Skilton would have been a favourite among fantasy coaches had fantasy footy existed at the time, but I feel pretty confident that his nine B&F finishes, three Brownlows, 25 appearances for Victoria and a place in both the Swan’s and AFL Teams of the Century compensate somewhat for the disappointment he would feel at not having the opportunity of being a fantasy gun.




  1. Squid

    March 19, 2021 at 8:50 am

    Nice, I like this concept. Skilton looks a proper pig, great captain option too. Lock.

  2. Greg

    March 19, 2021 at 9:01 am

    I am only 35 and thought that the AFL started in 1990. The old VFL had only 12 teams and didn’t include interstate footballers so was a weaker competition. Have watched archival footage and footy seemed slow and boring in the 40s and 50s with a lot of fatties playing.

    • Will

      March 19, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Quality contribution Greg.

    • Henry

      March 19, 2021 at 12:50 pm

      Greg, Australia’s premier league (then the VFL) did have interstate footballer pre 1990 (eg. Polly Farmer in the early ’60’s who revolutionised ruckwork), Daryl Baldock who led St Kilda to its only flag or Peter Hudson who probably remains the greatest spearhead ever). But it just didn’t have interstate teams. A different concept.

      • Greg

        March 19, 2021 at 3:18 pm

        What I meant was the interstate teams.

    • Brown Stains

      March 19, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      Greg, I hope you stay off the sausages

      • Greg

        March 20, 2021 at 12:10 pm

        And Brown stains, enjoy herbal tea and latte!

    • Peter

      March 20, 2021 at 12:14 pm

      I tend to agree with you. Footballers are true athletes now, not so much back in the 40s. Very little fitness work, many stood in goal square for most of the game and wouldn’t have travelled 500 metres. I remember seeing players having cokes and pies at half time. Even saw them smoking.

  3. Phillip my cup

    March 19, 2021 at 9:10 am

    What is a rover?

    • Will

      March 19, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Midfielder/following the ball

  4. llizardofoz

    March 19, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Peter Featherby a W.A born Geelong player ran further than Forest Gump.
    I didn’t like him but he was a master of the give and get ,GAJ style.
    He was the prototype for the current non stop running player.

    Gary Dempsey had 18 marks in one game.

    I reckon these 2 are up there with the fantasy football greats.

  5. Dulcify

    March 19, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Thanks Jamie, you have warmed the cockles of an old man’s heart. As soon as the final siren went, myself and countless numbers of other fans would swarm the old Lake oval to hopefully touch or get an autograph from the great man.

    Although South weren’t very successful I still got a lot of enjoyment from watching “The Chimp” play week in week out. Sadly Bobby only played in one final, in 1970 South were comprehensively beaten by St.Kilda. I have been fortunate enough to have met Bobby several times over the years and all I can say is that he is a great person and he will always be remembered by myself as a champion of our great game.

  6. Henry

    March 19, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Note what Skilts is doing the the photo – the old flick pass!!! Those were the days and good memories of Len Smith.

Leave a Reply

More in Fantasy 101