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



It was a big build up to the Roys Women’s games against the MUGARS on Sunday at Melbourne Uni. But the weather wasn’t looking good and, in must be said, neither was the ground.

But what promised to be a slog on a boggy ground turned out to be anything but. From the get go, both the Ressies and Seniors made light work of the conditions and the opposition, both registering blistering wins. The extent of the dominance only really anticipated by the coaches and players.

“Both teams went into this round with our strongest sides of the season,” said coach Jason Valastro, “and the results we planned and hoped for were made clear on the scoreboard.”

The Ressies dominated the first quarter with five goals, keeping the opposition to a solitary behind. Liz Olney added to her goal-kicking tally for the year with three, including a snap from deep in the pocket, with Nadia Conte, Jess Anticaglia and Evie Deasey pitching in with one apiece.

Aspen Wagner continued her fabulous form, reliable as ever through the midfield, and Maddie de Bondt was simply outstanding across the backline.

“But best on for the day was Lily Prowse-McKeown,” Jason said. “She was tough and courageous in spite of the weather, tackling left and right, shepherding for her team mates and laying smothers all over the place.”

Those of us who saw the sickening facial injury Lily sustained against Kew in Hawthorn in the first game of the season can only agree. Along with Jason and her team mates, we’ve watched with amazement and admiration all season as this quiet, gentle and dignified young woman off the field metamorphoses into a fearless warrior on it. As Jase says, “tough as nails”.

With 100 games to be celebrated for two of their most admired team mates in Alexa Madden and Luci Murphy who’ve been there from the very start and prevailed for more than nine long years for the Roys, the Ones also put in an amazing performance.

“The tone was set early with some great handball chains and ball movement,” said coach Nathan Jumeau, “and finally we got the reward we’ve deserved for the hard work we've put in all season.”

Gina Bennett set the tone early, kicking the Roys’ first with a superb long-range goal. And although Melbourne Uni had a fair bit more of the play in the second, the Roys weathered the storm, literally and figuratively, with Sarah Lynas and Lauren ‘Jacky Fowler’ Atkinson marshalling the backline, snagging repeated intercept marks and overall doing an amazing job stopping the MUGARS from scoring a major.

Nath reckons the third quarter was the Seniors’ best of the year.

“Mia Sutherland seemed to be in every passage of play, and we executed some really good passages from the middle and backline.”

With silky smooth ball movement that defied the boggy surface and unfriendly skies, including two stand out plays from first gamer Charlotte Hammans who slotted an amazing goal from the 50, and Erin Gogerly’s handball over the top inside 10 metres to Robyn Randell, the Roys dominated the quarter. And then, ultimately, the game.

Nath’s message for the final quarter was to go all out to ensure a win in every quarter. This the Roygirls did with aplomb, keeping the MUGARS goalless and kicking eight themselves.

“An amazing reward for the improvements we’ve seen as coaches this year,” said Jumeau. 

“It was an amazing team performance and there were just too many good players and passages of play to shout out individually.”

Next week it’s back to BSO to face Kew again. Be there or be square as they say, but rest assured our square will be in better condition than the one we battled on at the Pav on Sunday.

JG Gorilla

Leading image: @Bernard Wright Photography
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