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



Ajax, wherever they are positioned on the ladder, whatever grade they are in, always present a threat. I learnt that in my early days playing for the mighty Elsternwick FC. Never a dull moment against the Jackers.

Fitzroy needed to recognise that threat, because to be a scintilla off meant you’d be quickly in trouble. Football 101, always be on your game.

The Twos were victorious again, 163–9. They’ve done what they’ve had to do every week, whatever their numbers, whatever the strength of the opposition. Bernie Carter generates great trust, enthusiasm and respect from his charges. Having Professor Borland doing and espousing the smart things is invaluable. Back from a sojourn in the Ones, he kicked five and provided instinctive leadership.

Four changes for the Ones: Faubel, Tauber, Baker and Megennis in for Butler, Green, The Professor and Sean Laidlaw. The opposition had nine changes, but Coach Mahoney informed me from his pre-game hamburger eating ritual in the stand that the changes improved their side. We’ll see, I mused, as long as we were on our game.

Beautiful football conditions, clear skies, no breeze, and a sizeable crowd. Minahan kicked our first after a sloppy opening, but then Ajax replied after a series of defensive handling errors. I wondered whether we were on our game.

Doherty experimented in midfield to see whether his head was as hard as a cat’s. He got up, a little slowly, but he got up.

Toohey was everywhere, and Davie seemed to be even more turned on by the prospect of 100 games in Roys colours.

A chain from defence found Ted Clayton to goal, but only after a long period of abstinence.

Wilson showed poise to find McKay but like Grace before him, he was wayward. It was 20–17 their way at the break. It was a poor quarter from the Roys, errant kicking in front of goal, and defensively apprehensive.

I thought to self, I’m not going to the huddle. Are we on our game?

Ajax was proving more committed, and kicked the opener of the second stanza. Are we waiting to turn it on when required? That rarely works, whatever it is you happen to be doing.

McKay got us on the board for the quarter, but then their number 8 took 36 minutes to line up for a shot in front of the Fitzroy hill. He copped a bit of derision, but turned with self -satisfaction in the crowd’s direction as the ball sailed through the big sticks.

I was getting grumpy in the stand. I could feel my own grumpiness, Grumpy Gorilla I was. We have presented Ajax with a gift, the gift of belief. It is a gift rarely given in our game.

It was a 16-point deficit by now, and we rarely went forward with menace. Until, finally, Lambert took it upon himself to surge forward and goal.

A 10-point margin their way at half time, generous to Fitzroy.

At the start of the second half, after a lull while engines started, Laidlaw snapped one out of a pack. Will this light the fuse? Then Pyers found the target from long range, and we edged to the lead.

Seakins, sensational all day at half back, surged forward to slot a goal, after slick work by centurion Davie.

Then to prove he wasn’t only doing it for others, Max The Madman launched one from just on his distance. Four in a row to the Royboys.

At the siren to end the third, we were seven points in front. It would take a supreme effort, one requiring discarding lethargy and fighting tooth and nail, tooth and nail, love that, no idea what it means.

The Coach agreed at the final huddle, gave some stat breakdowns and the like, but then reminded the players of what guts and determination means.

Ajax kicked the opener, and it was one point our way. Toohey and Ted Clayton had been accumulating all day, and continued to dominate the midfield. Ajax were playing a patient game.

Grace then took a speccy, and kicked straight he did.

After some more superb ball handling by Seakins, Minahan swung the ball to Grace, finding Lambert on the move for a major. Laidlaw then snapped one around the corner. A buffer of 20 points had been set.

To their credit Ajax kept fighting, and goaled twice. When Minahan hit the post from long range, the final siren sounded, and the song hit the airwaves, we were seven points to the good.

A feeling of relief, then realisation. Sometimes you lose games when you’re not ‘on.’

We didn’t lose, we’re a pretty good mob when you think about it.

A big, big shout out for their efforts in the last quarter: Luke Baker, back from a big bash a couple of weeks ago against Old Geelong, showed courage supreme in the last quarter, and took some telling marks. Jacob Long spoilt and ran, spoilt and ran, never conceded. Well done boys.

Next week a big clash away against Beaumaris, contenders for top four, maybe top two. They want our spot. It’s ours to keep. Be there down south.

Let’s all be on our game.

Guy Gorilla

Image Phyllis Quealy
Seakins superb all game

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