Australian Football Celebrating the history of the great Australian game


Key Facts

Full name
Robert Flower

Known as
Robert Flower

5 August 1955

2 October 2014 (aged 59)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 17y 308d
Last game: 32y 45d

Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 75 kg

Senior clubs
Melbourne; Australia

Jumper numbers
Melbourne: 2

Recruited from
Murrumbeena (1973)

Family links
Tom Flower (Brother)

Robert Flower

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV

AFL: 8,580th player to appear, 170th most games played, 181st most goals kickedMelbourne: 924th player to appear, 3rd most games played, 9th most goals kicked

One of football's gentlemen, Robert Flower was also a supremely gifted - and highly effective - one-club footballer for 272 games, only the last three of which were finals. Borrowing Fos Williams' adage about Ken Eustice, journalists often used to refer to him as 'pound for pound the best footballer in the VFL', an assertion which generated little dissent. Blessed with all the attributes of a born champion, Flower's particular trademark was his almost implausible evasive ability, a skill which stood him in good stead as he was often the target of unseemly opposition assaults. Best and fairest awards might well have been devised with players like Robbie Flower in mind, but somewhat surprisingly he only won Melbourne's premier award once, and never finished higher than third, which he did twice, in the Brownlow, despite often starting as one of the favourites. However, he won virtually every other accolade the game had to offer, including making 15 (almost invariably superlative) Big V appearances (three as captain) and earning selection in two All Australian teams. Contemporary VFL and interstate wingmen were near unanimous in declaring him their most troublesome opponent.

Late in his career Melbourne coach Ron Barassi controversially converted Flower from a wingman into a half back flanker but he took the move in his stride and continued to be an exemplary footballer until his retirement in 1987.

A brief, unexpected illness saw Robert Flower die at the tragically young age of 59 in October, 2014.

Author - John Devaney


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