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AFL legend Bob Skilton on his statue, moving to Sydney, and the state of the game

South Melbourne & Sydney Swans legend Bob Skilton says he is “overwhelmed” by the recognition he has received this week.

On Thursday, Skilton had his statue unveiled at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium.

Among the 140 guests were current coach John Longmire, captain Josh Kennedy, and club greats including Ron Barassi, Paul Roos and Michael O’Loughlin.

“I was so humbled. When it happens, the reaction of people has been so overwhelming,” Skilton told Clinton Maynard and Craig Willis on Afternoons.

In 1982 the South Melbourne Football Club officially moved to Sydney to be only known as ‘the Swans.’

Skilton says he doesn’t think the club would have survived if they stayed in Melbourne.

“None of us liked it, but I had no doubt over the years that if we hadn’t gone to Sydney, we wouldn’t have a football side.

“The way the club has done its utmost in keeping contact between Melbourne and Sydney. It is great for the players when they come to Melbourne that it is still quite good support there.”

In 1995, the Sydney Swans renamed their Club Champion award the Bob Skilton Medal.

Despite this and winning three Brownlow Medals over his 237 game career, his proudest moment has come in the modern era.

“To win those premierships in 2005 and 2012, to present the cup to the club, I don’t think I have ever been prouder.”

In a period where the state of the game has never been discussed more, Skilton says we get some wonderful games, and we get some “cooked” ones.

“Back in my era there was some of the worst games you would have seen.

“Leave it as it is. I don’t see any reason to change it.”

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