Fitzroy Football Club: Great football, Great community, Great culture.

A Day in the Trenches


A brilliant day weather-wise for the Anzac Day clash against Williamstown at Brunswick Street. A huge crowd, the Ressies did their bit smashing the opposition 190–21, and the ceremony on the ground set the scene. It was a game we had to win in the context of the season. McKay and Minahan came in for Curcio and Butler.

I attempted a brief interview with Reserve’s coach Bernie Carter about his team's performance, and his thoughts on the chances of the senior side. He gave me nothing, Bernie, won’t deal with the media, deflects attention elsewhere. He’s a quality performer, astute, respected, excellent communicator, and gives you nothing!

The respective defences were on top early, conservative cut and thrust. Great tackling on our forward line led to our first major though Charlie ‘Hollywood’ Faubel. Williamstown played a short, possession-based game, but were wasteful up front. Max Ellis ventured forward courtesy of a 50-metre penalty to goal. 'The Professor’ Ross Borland was lively on the forward line; clearly, a little trim allowed for smoother movement. Big Bill Clayton finally got in front of the pack, marked strongly and goaled. We were on top, but Willy persisted and goaled, it was 20–9 our way at the first break. Poor forward entries were our biggest problem.

Coach Mahoney instructed his charges to “lower the eyes” at the huddle; inside 50s were 19–11 our way in the first period. We needed to covert that on the scoreboard.

Willy continued to be wasteful, and they finally converted to be only a point down. Darcy Lowrie was again providing evidence of confidence growth, and Rhys Seakins is a smooth operator in the E-Dog mode. Mature for his years. Jack McKay kicked a major after a rare forward entry, but it was a pretty lacklustre quarter, Willy probably had more of the play, but it was 28–19 our way at the long break.

At the start of the third, The Professor goaled from a long way out, he seemed to like it out there on Freeman Street. Then ‘Minners’ slotted one. We couldn’t break them however – they exhibited the resolve of their stevedore forebears. Someone in the crowd decided to put a speed gun on Heath Ramshaw, and he put it into overdrive on a number of occasions. At one point however the sun sent us into slumber, and scores were level. Their inaccuracy was costly, for them anyway. A very wise and handsome man in the grandstand was heard to utter “The last few minutes of this quarter will be vital.”

Then Big Bill grabbed one for a goal, skipper Jack Hart converted after Donovan Toohey, Ramshaw and Ted Clayton combined, Bill again goaled on the stroke of the siren, and McKay kicked another after the honker to give us a 20-point lead at the final break. That wise and handsome man from the grandstand headed to the huddle with his notepad. “One more effort” was the coach’s proclamation.

Ramshaw conjured up some magic in a fantastic contest, winning, spinning and swerving, with beautiful foot skills finding Bill for another. Typically, they replied with wharfie endeavour, we just couldn’t shake them. But…but, legs were tiring, “36 gladiators out there giving their all”. The margin snuck back to 13, ‘Hollywood’ reappeared, converted and Chris Doherty went to Brunswick Street to mark, wear one, get up, and goal, on the buzzer for a 25-point victory, at last. At last!

It was not perfect. But willing, and plenty of room for improvement. The youth is inspiring, the middle tier maturing rapidly, and our veterans solid leaders of the club. The challenge for the coaches is to get that melting pot perfect.

A bye this week (like we need another week off), then it’s Uni Blacks at BSO on Past Players Day, May 7. Be there!

Guy Gorilla

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