DOB: 5 August 1955
Died: 2 October 2014
From: Murrumbeena Districts
Number: 2 1973-1987
Captain: 1981 - 1987
Best and Fairest - 1977
Leading Goalkicker - 1979, 1983, 1987
All Australian - 1980, 1983
Life Member - 1981
150 Heroes selection
Team of the Century - Winger
Victorian state player - 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 1983 - 15 games
Victorian captain - 1982 vs Western Australia, 1983 vs Western Australia
AFL Life Member
Australian Football Hall of Fame member
MFC Hall of Fame - 2001
Best First Year Player - 1973
Australian International Rules representative - 1984
When he was recruited by the Demons the frail and shortsighted Flower fit nobody's vision of what a superstar footballer should look like, but when he stepped onto the field Flower rapidly rose through the ranks to become one of his club's best players - and eventually one of its greatest legends.
Without persistence he might never have been picked up, rejected numerous times by the club he had supported his whole life before finally being given a tryout with the Fourths in 1971. A clearance wrangle with Murrumbeena kept him from playing a game for the Under 17's that year, before he played his first game in red and blue in 1972. Midway through the next year he was in the seniors.
Not only was Flower supremely skilled, often in poor teams, but was courageous to a fault and suffered many injuries as the result of not knowing when to quit. In an era when others like Stan Alves and Greg Wells moved to other clubs and won premierships, Flower proved supremely loyal to the Demons.
Despite injury issues he was nearly ever-present from 1974 for the rest of the 1970's and won his only Best and Fairest award in 1977. He finished second four times more up to 1983 and was third in the 1979 Brownlow Medal.
In 1980 Flower played the season under an injury cloud with a dislocated shoulder but still managed every game for the year and racked up 14 more Brownlow votes.
In 1984 Flower played 21 of 22 games despite having to have treatment to relieve the pressure on a nerve in his back which was affecting his legs and restricting acceleration. The injury forced him out of a state match against Western Australia where he would have captained Victoria.
A broken collarbone suffered in Round 4, 1985 when he was driven into the Waverley turf by Neil Cordy of Footscray saw him play just three games - the only season in his career where he appeared less than 10 times.
Midway through 1986 Flower made the decision to retire at the end of the year but was convinced to stay on for one more year by John Northey. He was given a special training regime to get him to round 1 and given the chance to get his body right before his last chance at a finals series. The club used his image in a campaign to raise money for a "player acquisition fund".
Please give Robbie Flower one last chance to play in a final read the advertisements and the subsequent recruiting drive delivered players like Earl Spalding, Warren Dean and Todd Viney. Flower's decision to stay on was vindicated as the Demons rode a late season wave to win their last five games and sneak into the final five for the first time since 1964.
Already acknowledged as legend who would have missed out on ever playing a final had it not been for the amazing sequence of events on the final day of the home and away season in 1987. After having waited so long to play finals, and missing the chance to captain the side in the that year's night flag after suffering a broken finger
Flower saw his side demolish North Melbourne and Sydney en route to a Preliminary Final showdown with Hawthorn. Even if Hawthorn hadn't goalled after the siren to win the game Flower might not have been able to play the Grand Final - he had been collected by Robert DiPierdomenico earlier in the match and suffered an injured shoulder. He returned in the last quarter out of necessity having undergone painkilling injections but whether or not he'd have been able to recover for a Grand Final is anyone's guess.
In the Encyclopedia of AFL Players Brent Crosswell is quoted as saying "...beat Flower and you could just about retire from league football because anything else smacked of anti-climax." It was reported in newspapers that the Demons had tried to coax him in to playing in 1988 with a huge contract offer but he turned them down, citing the years of wear and tear his body had suffered.
When the merger with Hawthorn was proposed in 1996 Flower, along with Brian Dixon, was one of the strongest voices against the union. He later served on the board in 2002 and 2003, elected as part of Gabriel Szondy's Team Vision ticket. Flower received the most votes of any candidate with 10,529.
In 2004 he was forced to resign from the board as he struggled with heart disease. In 2006 he was still battling the disease and fans were urged to show support for Robbie, and the Heart Foundation, but wearing red to the round 5 game against Geelong.
In 1999 Flower was voted on a wing in the AFLPA best team of the previous 25 years, he was also named as the wingman in the Demons Team of the Century. Flower held the club games record until overtaken by David Neitz in 2006. Over his career he played in just 88 wins, and 184 losses.
Flower's brother Tom played 26 games between 1977 and 1979. In 2002 Flower's son Bradley played with Sandringham with a view to being picked up by the Demons with a father/son selection but it never eventuated.
After getting a start in the field from then club President Wayne Reid who owned the Melbourne Sports Depot, Flower eventually became the founder and co-owner of the Sportsco chain of stores.
"Hospital stay for Flower" - The Age 09/07/1984
"Anzac Day four hit by injuries" - The Age 22/04/1985
"Demons fight back to win by 16 points" - The Age 25/02/1987
"Sporting Life" - The Age 12/11/1987
"Robbie" by Robert Flower - 1988
"Flower to power on despite setback" - The Age 30/01/2004
"Melbourne legend Robert Flower dies" - The Age 02/10/2014