JOHN RANTALL was recruited from Cobden ( Victoria ) by the South Melbourne Swans in 1963 and played 260 Games, kicking 8 Goals in 2 stints at the Swans from 1963 to 1972 and then 1976 to 1979. He also played with the North Melbourne Kangaroos from 1973 to 1975 where he played 70 Games and kicked 2 Goals. His Final Season of 1980 was spent at the Fitzroy Lions where he played 6 Games without kicking a Goal. On his retirement as a player, Rantall was the leading Australian Football Player for number of VFL/AFL Career Games Played. There are some of Rantall’s Football Cards, together with many of his team-mates cards available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Rantall played almost exclusively as a dashing Half Back Flanker throughout his career. He had exquisite skills, with pin-point accuracy by hand and foot on both sides of his body, and was rarely beaten in a contested situation. He was an outstanding Mark, showed great courage by always having his eyes on the ball, and was one of the Fairest players to have played our Game. Rantall displayed exquisite judgement in timing precisely the right time to leave his opponent and turn defence into attack. Modern day player, Nick Maxwell ( Collingwood Magpies ), is the player who has come closest to Rantall in this crucial part of the game.
John Rantall was admired by Swans and other Club followers alike for the clean and precise manner in which he played his football, and individuall awards and honours included:- Acting Captain of the South Melbourne Swans in 1969 ( Bob Skilton injured ), Captain of the Swans in 1972, North Melbourne Kangaroos Best and Fairest Player Award ( Syd Barker Medal ) in 1974, North Melbourne Premiership Player in 1975, State Representation for Victoria on 5 occasions, selection in the South Melbourne/Sydney Swans Team of the Century, selection in the North Melbourne Kangaroos Team of the Century, and an inaugural inductee to the Australian Football League Hall of Fame in 1996.
Rantall’s 260 Games Played was the Club Record at the Swans when he retired, and he was always a staunch Swan through and through. The Swans had not enjoyed any Finals success during Rantall’s career until 1972, when he was enticed to the Kangaroos, together with a number of other senior players from VFL Clubs, in an attempt to gain the Kangaroos First ever Premiership. Under the Coaching of AFL Legend Ron Barassi, the North Melbourne Kangaroos steadily improved to the point where they were successful in winning the 1975 Flag. John Rantall enjoyed Premiership success at North, however immediately sought a Clearance back to his beloved Swans.
John Rantall played another highly productive 4 Seasons for the South Melbourne Swans from 1976 to 1979, then new Senior Coach Ian Stewart called an end to his career at the Swans. He thought he had more games in his legs, so transferred to the Fitzroy Lions where he played only 6 Games prior to his retirement. Rantall remains one of the few players to have been selected as a Victorian State Representative in their First Playing Season. His ability to play at the highest level over 17 Seasons in such a highly consistent manner, is testament to Rantall’s character. The Great Swan and Roo affectionately nicknamed ” Mopsy “, has etched his name in VFL/AFL History, and none has more deservingly so.
( Image courtesy of FindTarget.com.au ).