Main content
Proudly Sydney

Happy 80th Birthday Bob Skilton

Tribute to Bob Skilton - Bloods Legend A tribute to triple Brownlow Medallist and nine-time Swans Club Champion Bob Skilton who has been immortalised with his own sculpture outside Lakeside Oval in Melbourne.

On November 8, 2018, we reflect on Bob Skilton, a legend of our game and club, who turns 80-years old today.

As virtually everyone connected to Australian football knows Bob won three Brownlow Medals and nine Swans B+Fs (now known as the RJ Skilton Medal).

In addition to being declared Club Champion nine times he was runner up on three occasions and third once.

Bob is a Legend of the AFL and a Sydney Swans Legend.

His was selected in the AFL Team of the Century and as captain of the Swans Team of the Century.

He played 237 games for our club. He made his debut aged 17 and retired at nearly 33.

In addition he was captain coach for 35 games between 1965-66.

And between 1974-77 coached the Melbourne Football Club in 88 games.

He represented Victoria 25 times.

Post his playing and coaching career Bob was one of Channel 7’s lead callers and he was also prominent in Melbourne radio calling and commentating.

As painful as it was personally he was a major supporter of South Melbourne relocating to Sydney. Believing it was the only way the club could survive.

He is Patron of our club.

He is also Patron of the Infinity Club, an arm of the Sydney Swans Foundation.

On July 26 this year, a sculpture of Bob was unveiled at the spiritual home of the Sydney Swans – South Melbourne’s Lakeside Oval.

An emotional Bob Skilton said at the time that he felt humbled by the occasion.

“It’s not often that I feel this way, but I am overwhelmed by the reaction of everyone – I do feel immensely thankful and immensely proud,” he said.

“I never imagined this, and I hope I have been able to give to football as much as it has given to me.”


Alongside his achievements on the field, Bob’s commitment to the community is legendary.

He has been actively involved with many charities and community organisations including:

The Melbourne Leukaemia Research Foundation; as a member of the Royal Children’s Hospital (Victoria), as a long-standing member of the Sporting Chance Foundation (in recognition, an outreach program was named in his honour and the car used by the oncology nurse associated with that program is known as the Bob Skilton Car); and an Ambassador of the EJ Whitten Foundation, a major supporter of men’s health in Australia, particularly prostate cancer.

And for nearly 60 years his major supporter in every endeavour has been his beautiful and beloved wife Marian.

As Chairman Andrew Pridham once said:

“It’s people like Bobby, those who endure, shine, stay loyal and inspire, who laid the foundations for the success of our club, today and into the future. 

"The Sydney Swans, our 1.2 million supporters, our 60,000 members, our players, coaches and administrators past and present, all share a love and admiration for Bob Skilton."

That we do.... Happy 80th Birthday Bobby!

Bob Skilton Honour Roll:

  • 3 x Brownlow Medallist (1959, ’63 and ’68)
  • 9 x Sydney Swans club champion (1958-59, 1961-65 and 1967-68. He also finished 2ndthree times and 3rdonce, meaning he placed in the top three in 13 of his 15 seasons)
  • 3 x South Melbourne leading goal kicker (1959, ’62 and ’63)
  • Legend, AFL Hall of Fame (1996)
  • Bloods Legend, Sydney Swans Hall of Fame (2009)
  • Represented Victoria in 25 state games
  • Swans coach for 35 games (1965-66)
  • Sydney Swans Team of the Century, (captain)
  • AFL Team of the Century (rover)
  • Medal of the Order of Australia (2018)