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Last chance for finals


The Fitzroy senior team needs to quickly re-find the form which saw it score a fantastic win over (then) ladder leaders Beaumaris just two weeks ago.

Following Fitzroy’s 55 point loss to Old Scotch on Saturday, the make-up of the VAFA Premier B Finals will be decided in this Saturday’s final round, with Fitzroy facing a game against Parkdale it simply must win and then having to hope St Bede’s Mentone Tigers can defeat Monash Blues.

Unfortunately last week’s result not only puts finals in doubt but also takes fate out of the team’s hands. If Monash and Old Scotch win, they will make up the four, with Fitzroy half a game out on 5th.

This is the scenario as the team travels to Gerry Green Reserve to compete not just for finals but also to retain the Norm Johnstone Trophy, which is on the line each time Fitzroy and Parkdale meet. Fitzroy holds the trophy.

In front of a large crowd at Brunswick Street Oval last week, the team delivered a performance it would rather forget against a hard, tough Old Scotch team which seemed faster and first to the ball for much of the day.

Fitzroy held strong in the first quarter and should have been further in front kicking with the wind to lead 3.5.23 to 2.1.13. At half time it was still tight on the scoreboard with Old Scotch leading by seven points, before piling on eight goals to one in the second half.

Peter Baccanello was named Fitzroy’s best, maintaining his poise, finding space and hitting targets, with Max Allen and Al Green also rating mentions from the coaches after the game.

Co-coach Michael Pickering said Old Scotch just proved too strong on the day and he hoped Fitzroy would get another opportunity to play against them this year.

“Our focus is on winning and then all we can do is just wait and see what happens with other results”.

Let’s get a big Fitzroy crowd down to Gerry Green Reserve and cheer the boys on for the final home and away game of the season. Wouldn’t it be nice to play Premier B finals?

And make sure you are out there early to cheer on one of the club’s stalwarts, Richard Willingham, for what is rumoured to be his last game in Fitzroy colours in the Reserves, starting at 11.40am.


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Narrow loss in women’s grand final


The Fitzroy-ACU team has gone down narrowly to Gippsland Galaxy in the grand final of the VWFL Division 3 competition at Shepley Oval, Dandenong, 5.12.42 to 4.9.33.

On a windy, wet ground under lights, the Fitzroy-ACU team lead at quarter and then again at three quarter time by five points, but could not land an all-important goal early in the last quarter, and Gippsland used their experience and pace to land the winning blow.

You could be forgiven for thinking the Roy Girls were seasoned finals campaigners, such was their attack and composure in the wet and windy conditions at Dandenong. They certainly gave their more fancied opponents a great contest.

As they had in the previous two finals games, the Roy Girls tackled hard, found space and worked together as a team.

The team certainly lost no fans on Saturday night, when they gave it everything and fell just short. There was a large Fitzroy contingent on hand to cheer them on, including many of the senior men’s side. In fact people watched from far and wide (even Darwin) thanks to the live streaming on the VWFL website.

Check out the detailed match report here and you can also relive the action via the link.

Fitzroy’s partner in both women’s teams, ACU Sport and Wellbeing, put together a terrific montage of images throughout the season which you can view here:

To all the Roy Girls and coaches John Marshall and Jo Hogan, thank you for an incredible season and for doing the Fitzroy jumper proud. Congratulations on an outstanding finals series, which gave us plenty of highlights. Next season will be even better. And a huge thanks also to our partner in the women’s squad; Australian Catholic University.

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Rory marks a major milestone


There is a nice symmetry in Rory Angiolella playing his 150th senior game for Fitzroy against Parkdale at Parkdale this weekend; it’s also where he started his captaincy, pulling on the number 1 jumper for the first time five seasons ago.

This is not likely to be the top of his mind as he leads his team out for a game they must win to make finals on Saturday; personal milestones won’t mean much just yet.

But coach Michael Pickering, who has played a role in Rory’s life ever since the under 10s, reckons it’s something he should be very proud of.

Michael says having come into the role as a young captain he has developed into a very good leader whilst also performing strongly personally over a sustained period.

“Rory has always had that hard-working, physical presence, never say die attitude and strong leadership qualities especially on field.

“He sets high standards for himself but he’s always looking to improve the group too and has the capacity to take people with him.”

A captain at the tender age of 21, Rory has certainly grown into the role he now shares with Dan Bisetto.

Michael says Rory now has a much more rounded leadership style “he’s more considered in how he presents and talks to the playing group, supporters and sponsors and he’s keen to see a strong positive culture at the club.”

What most impresses his long-time coach is the work he has done to build relationships with the younger players in the group.

“I think he takes a lot of time to build bridges particularly with the young players, to make them feel comfortable and I think that’s because he saw the value himself in having strong role models in senior players.

“This year he’s also done a few sessions with the junior club, trying to paint a strong positive picture of a Fitzroy Football Club senior player in the minds of the next generation.”

Michael says in some ways Rory does personify the club in his desire to build a welcoming club culture, displaying a strong sense of loyalty, a lot of pride in the jumper and a high level work ethic.

One of Rory’s former co-captains, Sam Baker, maintains it was very clear Rory was the leader of the group when they started playing together in Under 17s.

“Rory is tough, competitive, loyal to his team mates and those around him.

“It’s the way he carries himself on the field. He leads from the front and he knows it’s about actions not just words.

“He’s super competitive which rubs off on those around him. You know what you’ll get from him; consistent performance and passion. He cares for those around him and he loves the jumper more than anything”, Sam said.

From the time he became Fitzroy senior captain, Sam says Rory has grown in the role and has a more mature approach now.

“His actions on the field have always been strong but since becoming captain he thinks about footy and his leadership a lot more. He helps get the most out of those around him.

“He understands the influence he can have on others by the way he conducts himself on and off field. Also his ability to send a message through the group has grown and become more instructive.

“These days I think his ability to engage the group and send a strong, clear, concise message to the team is his best asset.”

Sam recently went past the 150 game milestone himself and says “I’ll look back and be pleased that we did it as friends, especially if this year is successful for us on field, it will be even more special.”

It’s not just his friends and team mates who are influenced by Rory’s passion for the jumper; it’s a family affair down at Fitzroy and no story about Rory would be complete without a mention of mum Kerry, who never misses a minute of the action, even while delivering the best BBQ in the VAFA, sister Mietta, who helps with the canteen, and his nan, who knits the unique Fitzroy beanies that sell like hotcakes (or is that burgers?) even though she might be far away.

Expect to see most of the family down at Parkdale on Saturday at 2pm for a big, big game.

Go Roys. Go Rory.

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