In Summary


  • The Swinburne computer and the late Lou Richards had a unique rivalry throughout the 1980s 


There was a unique rivalry taking place in the 1980s, a contest of man versus machine. The Swinburne tipping computer versus the late great Collingwood icon, Lou Richards.

“Lou nicknamed the computer ‘Tinhead’, a name which is still used by many people today,” computer inventor and Swinburne Professor Emeritus Stephen Clarke says of Lou’s rivalry with the Swinburne Computer.  

Using an adjustment system that’s similar to what is used in international chess rankings, the computer gives a rating for each team and each ground, and adjusts ratings each week to calculate its own AFL tips.

“The computer first started its media career in The Herald Sun during the 1980s in direct competition with Lou,” says Professor Clarke.  

The Sun newspaper advertising page.

“It was big publicity in those days, with even the flyer outside the newsagents announcing the battle.”

In the six years of their fierce rivalry, Lou managed to equal the computer’s number of winners in only one year, but was beaten by ‘Tinhead’ in every other year.

Newspaper clippings about the Swinburne computer.

In one article written by Richards for The Sun, he claimed that “an automatic washing machine would have more brains” than the computer. We think that ‘Tinhead’ would respectfully disagree.

Students stand in front of a computer with Collingwood gear on.

And while their rivalry may sadly be over, we’re sure that ‘Tinhead’ will remember Lou fondly and miss his long-time footy tipping rival.

Compare your 2017 footy tips with 'Tinhead'