Connect with us

The Game

A tribute to Tom Rockliff

Our beloved Fantasy Pig, Rocky, announced his retirement this week.

Tom Rockliff may retire from the AFL as a 200-game player and a former club captain, but in Fantasy footy, he played way more games and captain a heap more teams over his career.

Rocky was picked up by the Lions in 2008 via the pre-season draft from the Murray Bushrangers.

In Rockliff’s draft year, he was the leading goal kicker in the TAC Cup with 43 snags from 15 H&A games with an extra 16 in his three finals appearances. His average of 23 disposals and three goals per game for Murray was the highest by any AFL player at the time.

Fantasy Freako after being drafted: If you believe in Moneyball then watch him. Not athletic but a natural footballer. Can he play the modern game? Only time will tell.

He played just one game in his debut season (around 50% game-time) for a score of 23. In the QAFL that season he was named in the best 11 out of 17 games.

Debut vs Collingwood round 18, 2009

2010 is where it all started. Getting the call-up in round three, he collected 23 disposals, seven marks and two tackles for a score of 87. From his starting price of $101,000 in Dream Team, he finished valued at $367,200 playing all but one game after cracking into the side.

Rocky was one of the best cash cows that season with his FWD status despite playing midfield.

The third year breakout was real with a 112.1 average making him the fourth highest averaging player for 2011 behind Fantasy mainstays Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Matthew Boyd. Behind Rockliff was Sam Mitchell, Gary Ablett and Marc Murphy.

Towards the end of the 2013 season, Rocky’s pig-like games started to come to fore. Tackling was a big part of what he was about, averaging five for the season… but it was from round 16 when he laid 11 against the Roos that he became a must-have for the last few rounds. In that game versus North Melbourne, Rocky racked up 134 points which started a big run that saw him average 123 for the final eight rounds, including 140 in the R23 Fantasy Grand Final.

This put him on the radar as an under-priced starting pick in 2014 as he would be priced at 103.

Roy opened up the pre-season Deck of DT articles that year with a piece on Rocky and he was a popular selection for round one. While his round one score was a modest 96 and ended up missing in round two, he bounced back to score 10 tons in his next 12 games to be averaging 125 by round 16.

He was eventually inducted into the AFL Fantasy Pigsty in round 18, off the back of a career-high 190 against the Suns. He joined Dane Swan in the pig pen based on his epic numbers which included more than half of his games producing scores of 130 or more with four 150+. It didn’t end there with 110, 180, 165 and 154 to finish his season. Unfortunately he didn’t play in round 23 but with a record price, at the time, of $760,600, coaches were able to move him to whoever they wanted for the Grand Final.

VIDEO: Tom Rockliff snouted.

The 2014 season was epic. I have vivid memories of Rocky chasing down the original pig’s record Fantasy average of 133.5 from 2012. Swanny was referred to as a pig for a few years prior informally before we called him an official pig around about 2010-2011. Both pigs had their best seasons playing 18 of the 22 games, but an average is an average! Rocky pipped Swanny in his last game of the year thanks to the 154! Amazing scenes (for the record, Tom Mitchell holds the record for most Fantasy points scored in a season when he racked up 2842 in 2018 playing all 22 games).

2014 Season Stats

RdOppKHDMTG.BFantasy
11361935396
2
31817351153157
4141630313133
519133256116
698173876
71218307111.1141
8181735711147
9
10BYE
11191736613153
12119201101102
13109195575
14261945512172
15181028410122
161917365100.1137
17
183116475101190
1914183237110
2022184010101.1180
2118254399165
2218274548154
23

While he never hit the heights of that massive 2014 season again, Rocky has always found himself a member of our Fantasy teams over the next few years.

2015 was one to forget if you paid top dollar for him from the outset. A score of 0 due to an early concussion in round five against the Suns (many had him captain that day) saw his price plummet. He was injured a few weeks later that would see him out for over a month and had just one Fantasy ton to his name and a season average of 78.

He returned with 128 in round 15 and averaged 126 for the rest of the season with the final four round – yep, the Fantasy finals – pumping out scores of 143, 130, 159 and 149. Epic.

Rocky’s move to Port Adelaide wasn’t great for his Fantasy numbers, but for those who took a punt on him to finish the COVID-affected 2020 season were handsomely rewarded.

From round nine he scored 102, 123, 82, 58, 100, 78, 122, 122 and 105… which may not look as epic as they could be, but these were 16-min quarter stats. That was an average of 125 (BCV). What a machine.

Career Fantasy stats

YearClubAverageGamesHighest100+120+150+
200923123
201087.2191167
2011112.1201511571
2012932214385
201310321144105
2014134.71819015127
2015104.616159981
2016116.61729513103
201710320167972
201882.61812852
201999.318166832
2020*114.314154973
202127127

*2020 scores multiplied by 1.25 due to 16-min quarters.

We love Rocky. He was a champion Fantasy footballer and gave us plenty of highs… but what we really loved about him is how genuine he is as a bloke. Rocky would always have time for us. We first interviewed him in 2011 and met him a few times. He’d jump on the podcast whenever we’d ask and was always up for some fun. We were even his player sponsor at the Lions in 2012!

Some of the (many) highlights include:

  • Being inducted as a pig and having a video shot of him driving around oinking the pig we sent him.
  • Called that he would score 180 on our podcast … and doing it!
  • Taking up Roy’s Ice Bucket Challenge.
  • Coming along to our show at the Arkaba and absolutely killing it!
  • Embracing the mantra of being a Fantasy pig… which has also seen Ken Hinkley oinking at him at the club.
  • Announcing his retirement by saying “Every Pig has his day”.

The list could go on… so I did a twitter search to see some other stuff we’ve got up to over the years.

Rocky – you are a legend. Thank you for everything… on the field, and especially off… we’re proud to call you a mate. Looking forward to having a beer with you as soon as possible!

 

Co-captain of DT Talk since we started this thing in 2007. Best finish was 13th in 2009... that was a long time ago. Follow on Twitter: @WarnieDT

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Fooz

    August 11, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Great acknowledgement of the Pig’s contribution to everyone’s fantasy and DT squads over the past 12 years. Thanks Tom

    And to those that also recall the old RedRock combo…

    Thanks from the coach of tempus fugit.

  2. Bald Patch

    August 11, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Lovely article for the Rock

Leave a Reply

More in The Game