BOB PRATT was recruited from Mitcham ( Victoria ) Football Club in 1929 by the South Melbourne Swans ( now known as Sydney Swans ). Pratt played 158 Games, kicking 681 Goals from 1930 to 1939 and is acknowledged as one of the VFL/AFL’s greatest ever Goal Kicking Forwards. His Australian Football League Hall of Fame card is available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Pratt began his Senior career at South Melbourne in 1930 as a Centre Half Forward, and it was not until the second match of the 1932 Season that he was selected as the Swans Full Forward, a position he was to dominate for the balance of his playing career. He quickly became a resounding success in the key forward role, with all spectators becoming excited and enthralled at his pure athleticism and high marking exploits , which stamped his authority on many games. Pratt was also very capable at ground level and used his sharp turn of speed to beat opponents to the ball.
Bob Pratt was a long and very accurate set shot kick for Goal, however he also kicked many goals on the run, or while turning, and displayed remarkable snap-shooting accuracy closer to goals and on tight angles. He gained immediate status as the focal point for South Melbourne’s forward thrusts, but it was his individual class, talent and skills that won him many goals, rather than being spoon-fed on leads by his team-mates. Pratt ended the 1932 Season as the Leading Goalkicker for the Swans with 71 Goals ( having kicked 7 goals in his first game as Full Forward ).
Bob Pratt’s stature was increasing rapidly in 1933 when he kicked 109 Goals to be the VFL Leading Goalkicker for the Season, won selection in the Victorian State Team , and contributed strongly to the South Melbourne Swans Grand Final winning Premiership Team. Pratt underlined his standing as one of the greatest Australian Football Players in history by winning further VFL Leading Goalkicker Awards in both the 1934 and 1935 Seasons, although the Swans, as favourites, lost both Season’s Grand Finals.
Pratt’s Goal Kicking tally of 150 Goals in the 1934 Season is the all-time VFL/AFL Goal Kicking Record Tally ( equalled only by Hawthorn’s Peter Hudson in the 1971 Season ). In 1934 Pratt scored individual goal tallies of 15 .v. Essendon, 12 . v. Footscray, 11 . v. Carlton and another 11 Goals in the return match against Essendon. Bob Pratt scored a further 103 Goals in the 1935 Season, and 2 days prior to the Grand Final he was struck by a truck, resulting in injuries that prevented him from playing, and the Swans , who were hot favourites for the Flag, were defeated by the Collingwood Magpies for the Premiership.
Bob Pratt suffered a number of persistent injuries during the 1936, 1937 and 1938 Seasons during which he was restricted to a handful of games. A serious ankle injury was thought to have brought his career to a premature end in 1938, but he returned for the 1939 Season in which he played 16 Games, kicking 72 Goals. Pratt controversially transferred to the Victorian Football Association Club, Coburg in 1940, kicking 80 Goals in his first Season, before kicking an incredible 183 Goals in the 1941 Season. Pratt’s Australian Football Career was effectively ended when he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942, and saw Overseas War Service in the Pacific and Borneo.
Bob Pratt was an inaugural inductee to the Australian Football League Hall of Fame in 1996, and was subsequently elevated to the status of AFL Hall of Fame Legend. He was selected in the South Melbourne/Sydney Swans Team of the Century, appointed as an Official Swans Legend in 2009, and has the Sydney Swans Leading Goalkicker Award named in his honour ( The Bob Pratt Trophy ). In 2009, the Australian Newspaper nominated Pratt as one of the 25 greatest VFL/AFL footballers to have never won the Brownlow Medal.
Bob Pratt passed away in early 2001 at the age of 88 years, and had not experienced a second Premiership victory in his lifetime ( Sydney Swans/South Melbourne under the astute coaching of Paul Roos eventually winning that additional elusive Premiership in 2005).