Robbie Flower: Poetry in Motion

Robbie Flower was born 9 days after me.   All similarities begin and end there.  But like Skilton, Gazza Snr, Robran, Blight and Polly he was a reason to watch the game to marvel at the artistry more than care about the result.

They were beautiful footballers who made you blink and marvel at the impossible made simple.  Conjurers more than contributors.

This video montage from the Melbourne Football Club has been on high rotation on my desktop this morning.  Older Almanackers can be reminded of his bravery and genius.  Younger readers can get a glimpse of a man who was not so much a footballer, as a gazelle roaming the savannah making the lions and headhunters look stupid.



  1. Neil Anderson says

    I’d forgotten just how good he was Peter. He truly was a gazelle among the Lions. I’d only forgotten about him being such a skilful player because I kept thinking more about his greatness as a human being. Melbourne supporters have lost another one following the death of the great Jim Stynes.
    They replayed an interview after the Prelim when Jim stepped over the mark and Bucky kicked the goal to put Hawthorn into the GF. Asked whether he blamed Jim he calmly said,” You can’t blame Jim for that. We should have done more earlier in the match to win it well before that happened.”
    One of those ‘lions’ Dipper said he flattened Robbie once and broke his collarbone and when he realized what he’d done he said he felt like he had killed Bambi.

  2. cowshedend says

    Nice work Pete, a beautiful player of immeasurable elegance, it would do no harm for a certain estranged coach to take a step back and marvel at R Flower and a life well lived.
    in the words of the leather patched MCC members of yore. …”WELL DONE NO.2″!

  3. Warwick Nolan says

    When the state selectors went to work, they would just mark on the white board K.Greig on one wing and R.Flower on the other . . . the rest of the line up was up for discussion.

  4. It’s amazing, and totally appropriate, that the word “beautiful” is being used so much to describe how Robbie Flower played the game. Anytime he played you could not help but be drawn to focussing on him. Possibly the most graceful player to have pulled the boots on.

  5. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    A absolute champion , the smooth gazelle like movement such a apt description . I was asked by a cricket mate today who doesn’t follow footy and I said , Flower had the elegance and beauty of Mark Waugh minus the controversy . RIP Robbie Flower
    Thanks PB

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks for the link Peter. So sad. 1987 is the first season I can remember clearly and remember watching him play finals that year. What a wonderful career he had before that. Yet another tragic loss for Melbourne.

  7. If you can, get hold of Garrie Hutchinson’s ‘From the Outer’, p 134, or source the original Age ‘Watcher’ article from 19 June 1983, which describes in detail a game Flower played against Richmond, on the weekend celebrating the 125th anniversary of the game, according to GH ‘one of the most miraculous games ever seen at the MCG’.

  8. Andrew Starkie says

    My friend’s grandmother has been sitting on the MCC wing since the 30s. They’re Old Melbourne people. I asked Gran once who her favourite Dee was. She answered without having to think: ‘Robbie. He was beautiful’.

  9. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Nice work PB,
    I stood on the outer wing at Vic Park on hazy August day in 1982 and watched Robbie own that wing with his skill. Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson kicked 7, Gerard Healy 5 many set up by the sublime skill of Robert Flower. The Dees trounced us by 10 goals. Hard to think of a more skillful and fair player in that era. Great on either side of the body, blind turns timed to perfection and a strong mark for his size. He will be missed.

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