28 March 1924
14 January 2013 (aged 88)
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 22y 23d
Last game: 31y 40d
Height and weight
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 92 kg
Swan Hill (1946)
|Club||League||Career span||Games||Goals||Avg||Win %||AKI||AHB||AMK||BV|
Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only
Fred 'Troubles' Flanagan was as close to the perfect centre half forward as you could wish to see. A superb aerialist, he was feted for his ability to manoeuvre himself while flying for a mark in such a way as to be facing directly towards goal upon landing. He began with Geelong in 1946, and was an eye-catching performer from the start, making the VFL team in his debut season, and thereafter every year until 1954. Given that he retired from football after round four, 1955 this was a remarkable and perhaps unique record.
During his early seasons with the club, Geelong tended to struggle, but Flanagan could always be counted on to produce displays of the highest order. Indeed, it was his consistency as much as anything that elevated him above the common herd, and gave him that elusive but unmistakable champions' quality.
Best and fairest for the Cats in 1949, Flanagan took over the club captaincy two years later and thus had the satisfaction of leading the team to its first flag since 1937. A year later he became the first, and so far only, Geelong skipper to lead the side to consecutive premierships.
Quick, elusive, and elegance itself in motion, Fred Flanagan set the standard for centre half forward play for generations to come. A superb drop kick, he could also stab pass with unerring accuracy when required. Off the field he was a worrier - hence the nickname 'Troubles' - and was heavily involved in various business ventures. Ultimately, it was his need to concentrate on these ventures that led to his premature retirement while still at the top of his form, aged thirty-one. In just over nine seasons, he played 163 VFL and 13 interstate games; his 182 goals for the Cats included 55 in 1954 when he was the club's top goal kicker.
In 2001, Fred Flanagan was a predictable and worthy choice as centre half forward of Geelong's official 'Team of the Century'.
Author - John Devaney