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The big challenge


Fitzroy’s senior side may be 2-0 for the first time in Premier B, but the big test comes this weekend when they travel to Brighton Beach Oval to play a team sitting atop the ladder with a percentage of over 400!

Old Brighton Grammarians will be a step up in class but so far not much has phased Nick Mitchell’s new team.

The senior coach seemed somewhat of a prophet when he told the pre-game lunch on Saturday to look out for a range of new players, including Nino Lazzaro coming up from the Under 19s for his first game.

Nino certainly made an impressive debut with 5 goals, spearheading Fitzroy’s win over Peninsula in a somewhat fiery encounter.

Nick said the challenge for the coaching group was to balance youth and experience as the talent from the Under 19s and the Colts continued to produce high quality players. The transition is being made easier thanks to the guidance of Michael Pickering, who is playing a development role with the club.

If the best player awards in Round 2 were anything to go by, the mix of youth and experience was executed well during the game, as backman Max Ellis was named best player, followed by Lazzaro and Aiden Burke (pictured above competing for the ball), with the one percenter award. What would have made the coach even happier was the challenge in deciding on the best players – it was certainly an even team performance with an even spread of goal kickers as Fitzroy ran away to a 44 point win.

Needless to say the coach would have been just as impressed with the form of new recruit Mitch Bottomley, who was also playing his first game for Fitzroy Reserves and kicked a cool six goals in his best-on-ground performance. Not bad, coming off an injury. Mitch hails from McLeod and you’d imagine it won’t be long before we see him and his long sleeves in the Seniors.

He was ably supported in the reserves by another new recruit, rated second best on the day, Sam Batterton, who apparently hasn’t played a lot of footy but is a great runner and an elite athlete.

It was also win number one for new Reserves Coach, Richard Willingham, who was blessed with a number of returning senior players in his line up on Saturday against Peninsula, notably Vice Captain Tom Cheshire, Ross Boland (coming back from injury and a cricket premiership for his first run), Max Davies, Jack Dalton, Luke Edwards, Nick Marshall and Matthew Gaite.

Congrats to the Thirds who also start the season 2-0 whilst both Under 19 teams went down on Saturday.

There was more Fitzroy coverage than you could poke a stick at in the Footy Almanac during the week and as always it is great to get the different perspectives. Here are the match reports of King George III, Phil Hill and Rod Oaton.

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Bernie Sheehy to speak before Ajax clash - book now


When Fitzroy plays Ajax at BSO on Saturday 13 May, there will be a man with a foot in each camp who will be speaking about his experiences with both clubs at the pre-game lunch.

Bernie Sheehy, who coached the Fitzroy Reserves in the mid 80s is a great speaker and motivator. His most recent coaching gig was with Ajax from 2009-2012. In between, his stellar coaching career in the VAFA included 3 premierships in 5 years with De La Salle Old Boys. He also worked as Essendon Reserves Coach under Kevin Sheedy and coached Springvale in the VFA.

These days Bernie is a Barrister and Solicitor, having been admitted to the Victorian Bar in 2004. He had an earlier career with the Tax Office.

Fitzroy and Ajax supporters are invited to the lunch at Brunswick Street Oval before the teams meet in Round 5 for the Jellis Craig Game.

Come along and hear from one of the great characters of VAFA coaching.

Book now for your ticket:


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Roy Girls take top spot


It’s only round two but the Fitzroy-ACU Women 1 team has made the most emphatic start to its first season in the VAFA, with a win over SKOB Saints at Vic Park on Friday night.

As the VAFA reported, Fitzroy-ACU remains the only undefeated side in Premier division, beating the strong finishing Saints 33-13. Liz Olney continued her strong and accurate presence in front of goal with two goals in the wet conditions. Claudia Bell, Alex Monacella and Hillary Collett were the best players.

Fitzroy-ACU Women 1 plays Ajax this Sunday at the Gary Smorgan Oval and will go in as favourite, with Ajax yet to win a game. The ground has not been a good hunting ground for the Roys, so let’s hope that hoodoo can be broken.

After a very tough outing against a strong and experienced Melbourne University side last weekend, the Fitzroy-ACU Women 2 team will be at home this week at Ramsden Street, taking on neighbours West Brunswick. Despite the big margin, there were some strong performances from Emily Goegan, Mish Booth, Sophie James, Alice Batterton, Amelia Crook and Rebecca Petrie.

This weekend is the final of the grading rounds for the VAFA Women’s competition and then the new draw will be developed. For Women 1 they will stay in the Wilson Premier Division, along with the other teams they have played so far – SKOB Saints, AJAX and Brunswick Renegades – but their new competition will be revealed when the VAFA advises clubs of the new Premier teams on Monday.

On Monday, the VAFA will be re-working Grading Groups 1 to 6, which includes Fitzroy-ACU Women 2, into four groups of eight teams. Fixtures for all five VAFA Women's competition for rounds 4 to 14 will be released on the VAFA website on Thursday.

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