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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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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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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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Lest We Forget - Anzac Day 2017


A beautiful ceremony to commemorate those former Fitzroy players and officials who gave their lives fighting for their country was held at the Edinburgh Gardens War Memorial at half time during Saturday’s game.

The memorial was built when the local sports clubs raised funds over 100 years ago to commemorate the young men from the local area.

Fitzroy’s players and officials who died during service are:

  • Harold Collins 1917, six games 1912 and 1915.
  • Jack Cooper 1917, 136 games 1907 to 1915.
  • George Eliott 1917, one game 1905, University 79 games 1908 to 1913.
  • Arthur Harrison 1917, 19 games 1913 to 1914.
  • Arthur Jones 1915, killed in action at Gallipoli, seven games 1914.
  • Sydney O'Neill 1915, killed in action at Gallipoli, one game 1909.
  • Thornton Clarke 1916, killed in action at Fromelles, four games 1911.
  • Tom McCluseky 1917, five games 1911.
  • Alexander Salton 1916.
  • Tom Corrigan 1943, 107 games 1922 to 1928.
  • Fred Heintz 1942, 14 games 1931 to 1933.
  • Arty Gay 1943, committeeman, Changi.
  • Desmond Charles Keays 1943, reserves player, Changi.

Thank you very much to Club Secretary Bill Atherton who organised the beautiful wreath, which featured the names of the fallen. Thank you also to former Fitzroy Director and Life Member, Colin Hobbs (pictured), who laid the wreath and to Danny Wilson who read a letter from former player Jack Cooper. Cooper corresponded with Bob King (Fitzroy time keeper) from the trenches in France, saying “You really don't know how important Fitzroy is until you leave it, and come what may I don't think I will ever smile again until I see that maroon and blue flag flying in front of those two old grandstands.”

Sadly he never did see those grandstands again - he died at war in France in 1917.

Lest we forget.

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Julian Turner – a footballer for the ages


Fitzroy has been Julian Turner’s football home since he first pulled on the boots for the Fitzroy Junior FC’s Under 10 Golds. Coached by the much-loved and much-missed John Dunton, Jules and the boys (and a few girls as it happens) went on to win a premiership a few years later in the Under 12 Greens.

Julian reckons it’s the community and culture of Fitzroy that’s kept him coming back, season after season, despite a run of injuries that would have daunted many others. “I think it’s such a privilege to play at Brunswick Street Oval and to have so many long-time fans of the club who come to watch,” says Jules. “I can’t think of many clubs that have the kind of history we have.”

These days Jules is also pretty happy to be playing at a club with such strong women’s squads and thinks it’s fantastic they receive so much support. But, above all, he loves playing with his mates, especially given the fact that a large number of them have known each other and played together for a long time.

One of Julian’s fondest memories is winning the U19 grand final in 2010. “Going into the finals, Werribee was undefeated and had beaten us by about 10 goals in the final round of the regular season,” Jules recalls, “but we managed to beat them in the first final the next week and then in the grand final, so that was pretty special.”

Jules has gone on to play 100 VAFA games for Fitzroy performing at his consistently high level in some massive wins and some ignoble losses on the way to notching up his ton late last season.

It’s a reflection of the esteem in which Julian is held that he’s been elevated to the leadership group.

This week we celebrate his football genius, courage and longevity when the Roy Boys hit the Brunswick Street Oval for the first time in 2017.

Come down and see a dead-set star in action!


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Book for lunch to hear from Mitch


It’s time to book for Fitzroy’s pre-game lunch for the first home game of the season on Saturday 22 April.

As is tradition, the Fitzroy Senior Coach, Nick Mitchell, will be the guest speaker and it will be interesting to see how he is going about shaping this new, young team with heaps of potential and enthusiasm.

A new feature at BSO this season will be three rounds brought to us by the Major sponsors of the club. Round 2 will be the Royal Derby Game, thanks to the team down at the Derby and we’re keen to have a big crowd along to help boost the community feeling at the game.

If you’d like to book in for lunch in the Community Rooms at Brunswick Street and catch up with the Fitzroy faithful over a few drinks on Saturday 22 April, please book here online.

The pre-game lunch cost has remained the same and the start time is 11.45 for 12pm. Please RSVP by Wednesday 19 April.

Anzac wreath laying

The next home game is also the closest game to Anzac Day and Fitzroy will follow tradition by holding the annual laying of the wreath at half time during the Senior’s game at Brunswick Street Oval.

As part of the short service, we will acknowledge the fallen former Fitzroy players, with wreaths laid at the war memorial backing onto the Bowls Club at approximately 3pm.

All members of the community are encouraged to join us at this time for the short commemoration.


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Hipster Cup features in winning weekend


It was a day of firsts at Gillon Oval on Sunday, with Fitzroy-ACU looking old hands as they put on a dominant display against the Brunswick Renegades to hold the Hipster Cup and win their first game of VAFA Wilson Women’s Premier footy.

It was also a first for new coach Mick Symons (pictured with W2 coach Jo Hogan), who must have been pretty thrilled with his charges’ efforts all day in a hard-working full team effort despite the terrible weather conditions.

The girls said they felt that maybe they had something to prove. “We did so well in the VWFL last year, and after electing to play in VAFA I think we all wanted to prove that we deserved our spot in the Premier division as one of the establishment clubs.”

And play like an establishment club they did.

The W1s had a comprehensive win over Brunswick and were able to control the game despite the challenging conditions, winning 7.12.54 to 1.0.6. Brunswick scored their only goal in the final quarter.

It was the Hilary and Hilary show in front of goal, with leadership group player Hilary Grubb showing her fitness around the ground and scoring three goals. Hilary Collett scored two. Playing her first game with the club, Anabel Watson showed plenty of pace and good game sense, while Tash Ross-Harris was fantastic in the ruck. It would have been hard to single out the best players given the even contribution across the ground.

It was a special game in more than one way, with Renegades player, Claire Woodhouse, playing her 200th game – an incredible achievement in women’s footy – and the Roy Girls showed her the ultimate respect lining up with the Renegades for a guard of honour as she left the ground. She was also the Renegades’ goal kicker. Congratulations Claire.

Fitzroy-ACU Women 2 also had a win in their first grading game, defeating Brunswick Renegades in a dour goalless struggle, getting the points 0.0.3 to 0.0.2.

Women’s 2 player, Georgie Steggall, who was awarded best on ground, said it was exciting and enjoyable to be part of the first round of footy in the new VAFA Women's league. “We all had a sense that there was history to be made in the first round, and it contributed to our desire to win. This was spurred on by the fact that the Brunswick Renegades are our northside rivals.

“We played with guts and determination to get over the Renegades in difficult conditions. Two girls went off with suspected broken noses (thankfully it looks like they are both ok) and yet we pulled together to get a well-deserved victory.”

Pictured are the Fitzroy-ACU Women 2 debutantes - congratulations Roy Girls. 


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Trophy retained in a thriller


The combination of youthful exuberance, determination and two returning favourite sons, got Fitzroy over the line in a rain-soaked thriller a Parkdale on Saturday, retaining the Norm Johnstone Trophy.

It’s been a while since Fitzroy has won in Round 1, but the inexperienced team travelled to Parkdale and took the points in a nail-biting finish giving Nick Mitchell a win in his first game as senior coach; 9.11.65 to 9.8.62.

The three point margin was the result of a game of contrasting halves.

Kicking with a strong wind in the opening quarter, Fitzroy seemed a bit tentative and Parkdale set up very smartly in defence, dropping numbers back and limiting the scoring opportunities. Fitzroy led by just two points at quarter time despite the wind advantage and then saw the home team use it very well in the second quarter, with Parkdale leading by 25 points and looking the stronger team at half time.

After a motivational chat from captain Rory Angiolella, it was a fired-up and focused Fitzroy who returned to the field after half time with some slight positional changes and a determination to go straight up the middle of the ground with the use of the wind.

A six goal to nil third quarter had the Fitzroy fans in raptures, and then came the storm and a fast-finishing Parkdale.

Defending a 17-point lead, Fitzroy had to face down a surging Parkdale side, who seemed to have all the momentum but were hampered by the dreadful conditions. It was really down to determination in the final few minutes with limping, spent players giving everything they had to hold on.

The twin towers at either end of the ground were welcomed back to Fitzroy with open arms – Nathan Jumeau provided a great target up forward and kicked three goals, while Max Ellis down back steadied the defence and showed incredible poise all day, but particularly in the last frantic minutes.

Newly appointed to the leadership group, Jules Turner showed his class and skill again and again in the dry and the wet, and was definitely one of the standouts. Luke Baker, who has put on some muscle over the summer, also ran the ball out of the backline to set up a number of attacking moves.

As always, Rory marshalled the troops in the middle and had his head over the ball. He was threatening when he went forward and Parkdale awarded him Fitzroy’s best player on the day. Rory was greatly assisted by Lewis Pavlich, who was outstanding all day and scored two goals, along with newly promoted Under 19s, Harris Scholz-Mitchell, Ted Clayton and Eddie Lincoln.

There were 10 changes to the team which last played Parkdale in 2016 and most of the debutants are pictured above. Take a good look at these boys as you may be seeing a bit of them this year, along with Aiden Burke and James Butler, who also played up from the Under 19s on Saturday. Pictured are (Front L-R) Will Zaghis, Mark Obushak, Eddie Lincoln, Owen Symington (Back L-R), Ted Clayton, Harris Scholz-Mitchell and Nick Harrison.

The tough note was the serious injury to James Butler on debut.Called up from the Under 19s to quell Parkdale’s Premier B best and fairest player, Charlie Dillon, Butler’s dogged defence drew plenty of praise from the Fitzroy camp, but he was hurt in a clash on the boundary line just before three quarter time. His broken wrist will require surgery and a plate, with an expected stint on the sidelines for the next 10 weeks. Once he’s back you can expect to see plenty more of this talented player, who is the Under 19s captain.

Here is Phil Hill’s write up of the game for the Footy Almanac and not to be outdone, King George III invokes King Lear to illustrate Saturday’s wild and windy conditions and has a special message for James Butler.


Earlier in the afternoon, in the heat of the day, the undermanned Fitzroy Reserves hung in the game until three quarter time, but things were a bit one sided in a five-goal final term from Parkdale, who went on to win 14.14.98 to 8.11.59.

It was a strong performance at full forward by Will Pickering, who scored four goals, which would have had the Seniors coaches considering a call up.


Setting the tone for the day and the season, it was a mighty impressive start from the Fitzroy Thirds on Saturday at Parkdale, easily accounting for the home side 13.17.95 to 6.7.43.

It was a very even performance up forward, with Steve Petsinis, Simon Heather, Liam Webb and Danny Ly scoring two goals each. Ross Bartel and Jack Dalton played influential games.


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Hipster Cup moves into a brand new era


It might have had just a short life, but already the Hipster Cup has taken on some significant meaning and will feature in the very first round of the VAFA’s Wilson Women’s Premier competition.

VAFA Foundation Clubs and local rivals, Fitzroy-ACU and the Brunswick Renegades will meet in Round 1 at the Gillon Oval on Sunday 9 April, meeting for the second week in a row and this time for the trophy.

The brainchild of the Renegades, the trophy between the local teams is held by Fitzroy-ACU (see Alice and Alexa right from 2016) who plan to keep it under new coach Mick Symons.

In last week’s practice match, the Roy Girls looked pretty slick and wayward goal kicking aside would have had a comfortable victory over the Renegades. This week they know a lot more is on the line and are very, very keen to get off to a winning start in the new era of VAFA women’s footy.

And according to the new captain of the women’s team, we have the winning formula - Esther Harris's homemade vegan cashew cheese, Emilie Goegan's hair and those incredible Roygirl beanies (not to mention the can play a bit of footy). The Roygirls are confident they can keep the Cup at Fitzroy. We’ll have to trust them on that formula!

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Rainbow laces with a special message from the Fitzroy family


If you see some of our players running around with rainbow coloured laces this weekend, it’s because they have put their support behind a campaign called Lace Up for the Love of Sport, which is designed to raise awareness of LGBTI prejudice in sport.

Fitzroy-ACU player Loz Field brought the campaign (sponsored by sports clothing manufacturer Skins) to the attention of the club and encouraged her team and club mates to get behind it.

The Women’s 1 player said she was motivated to get the Fitzroy family behind the day. “I guess as a friend of the LGBTI community I thought it was important to make sure everyone feels welcome and included,” Loz said.

“In this day and age, prejudice in sport is just not acceptable and the rainbow laces allow us to show our support and not only what the Roygirl spirit is but what the whole Fitzroy football club and community does in having a very inclusive and welcoming feel for everyone.

“So let's rise up and lace up in support of the LGBTI community and show everyone just how great the Fitzroy family is.”

The player-led initiative, which is supported by a number of high profile sports teams from around Australia, also received the support of the Fitzroy Board which agreed all players across all teams could wear the laces in Round 1 in support of the cause.


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