Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
John Rantall

Known as
John Rantall


9 December 1943 (age 79)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 19y 132d
Last game: 36y 167d

Height and weight
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 77 kg

Senior clubs
South Melbourne; North Melbourne; Fitzroy

Jumper numbers
South Melbourne: 5
North Melbourne: 5
Fitzroy: 1

Recruited from
South Melbourne (1973); North Melbourne (1976); South Melbourne (1980)

John Rantall

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
South MelbourneV/AFL1963-1972, 1976-197926080.0334%12.211.973.3537
North MelbourneV/AFL1973-19757020.0361%13.913.233.9614

Pre 1965 stats are for selected matches only

AFL: 7,444th player to appear, 30th most games played, 5,011th most goals kickedSouth Melbourne: 871st player to appear, 8th most games played, 526th most goals kickedNorth Melbourne: 655th player to appear, 202nd most games played, 632nd most goals kickedFitzroy: 974th player to appear, 753rd most games played, 1,123rd most goals kicked

Despite the fact that he scarcely looked like a league footballer, with skinny, shrunken legs and an almost emaciated physique, John Rantall had few peers in the VFL during his 18-season, 336-game senior career with three clubs. Recruited from Cobden, he began with South Melbourne in 1963, and was selected to represent the VFL in his very first season. He went on to play a total of 260 league games (a then club record) in two stints with South, most of them on a half back flank, although it was as a back pocket that he achieved selection in the Swans' official 'Team of the Twentieth Century'.

Somewhat surprisingly, John Rantall never managed to win a best and fairest award while with South, a failure he rectified with North Melbourne in 1974 during a three-season, 70-game stint with that club that culminated in membership of a premiership team in 1975. The 1976-9 seasons saw him back at the Swans, and in 1980 he rounded off his career with a brief, six-game stint at Fitzroy.

Renowned for his superb judgement and tremendous all round skills John Rantall was without doubt one of the best specialist half back flankers ever to have played this game, and further testimony to South Melbourne's perhaps unequalled record of producing bona fide, out and out champions.

Prior to the 1982 season, Rantall was appointed coach of South Melbourne but the club's move to Sydney brought about a split which resulted in his being replaced by Ricky Quade. The following season saw him installed as coach of Sherwood for what was that club's debut season in the QAFL.

In 2003 he was selected on his favoured half back flank in North Melbourne's official 'Team of the Century'.

Author - John Devaney


Full Points Footy Publications


* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.