Welcome to the Round 1 edition of Footy Prophet’s new weekly series – Fantasy Flashbacks. Every week during the 2018 home and away season, we will look at some of the greatest historical fantasy performances correspondent to the upcoming round – before fantasy football existed.
This week’s player of the round is South Melbourne legend Bob Skilton. The former Bloods’ Skipper is one of the most decorated players in the history of the game, beginning his career as a 17 year old in Round 5 of the 1956 season.
At only 171 centimetres tall – Chimp as he became known, was a speedy rover with an uncanny ability to evade his usually much larger opponents and a proficiency on both sides of his body envied by the majority of his peers. In a 15 year career Skilton played a then club record 237 games, while kicking 412 goals.
Skilton is one of only four players to have won three Brownlow Medals – tying with Richmond full back Verdun Howell in 1959, while winning outright in 1963 and 1968. He won the Swans’ best and fairest award (which is named after him), a record nine times, and was the clubs’ leading goal kicker on three occasions.
He captained his own club from 1961 to 1968 and 1970 to 1971, as well as coaching the side in 1965 and 1966, while also leading the Victorian state side – of which he represented 25 times, in 1963 and 1965. Skilton was also named as both South Melbourne/Sydney’s and the AFL’s Captain in their respective Teams of the Century.
As Bobby Skilton’s career began before statistics were recorded, we can only look at his average post 1965. In the six seasons he played where stats were recorded he averaged 21.4 kicks, 5.2 handballs, 4.1 marks and 1.4 goals per game. Although he did win one of his Brownlows in 1968, it is fair to say that had statistics been kept earlier, Skilton’s figures would have been far better.
Put simply Skilton is one of the best players to have played the game. But how would he go in Ultimate Footy?
Well, in Round 1 of 1968 against St Kilda, he picked up 35 kicks, 15 handballs, 10 marks and four goals for a staggering 185 fantasy points, to earn himself Fantasy Flashback’s first Player of the Round.
Over the six seasons he played in which stats were recorded, Skilton averaged 95.7 fantasy points per game, with his best season of 118.3 coming in his third Brownlow year of 1968, and a high score of 186 in Round 8 of 1967 – also against St Kilda.
However, as mentioned previously, statistics were not kept during the majority of his prime years, and tackles not at all, so there is little doubt his average would have been higher had they been recorded. With a post 1965 average of almost 96, it is probable Skilton could have had a fantasy average over 100 – putting him in the top echelon of fantasy performers.