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



De La Salle visited Brunswick Street yesterday for the last home and away game for the season. It was a big game for their senior men – they had to win to guarantee a finals spot, against a side above them on the ladder.

For Fitzroy, for me anyway, I wondered about the knowledge of a guaranteed second spot double chance. The little man in the back of the head has strange ways of reducing output when not on the job.

The other unknown was how the playing group might react to the announcement of their beloved coach’s end-of-season resignation. For some, it would elevate performance, play for the man. For others, maybe it’s just business as usual. We might have a better answer in a month’s time. These things happen regularly in the big time.

The Twos won comfortably, 101–19, despite the impost of some significant injuries from the last game. The Twin Towers, Reid and Lester, continued to provide presence in the ruck and up forward. Will Hodgeman the 9th is a solid rock in defence. Nelson has appetite, and Zaghis goal kicking nous.

There were four changes on Thursday night in the main game. First gamers Anthony Johnson and Harward, as well as Long and Wotherspoon in for Butler, Curcio, Lambert and Pyers. A late, late change was added when Holmes came in for Megennis. We therefore continued the trend of minimum five changes. Not good for stability.

We were on the board early when Toohey found McKay for a goal. Laidlaw then threaded beautifully from range after repeat entries. It appeared that we were ‘on’.

However, the conversion rate and lack of forward pressure continued to be a problem. De La finally goaled on the siren, and a disagreement ensued, the bank balance possibly taking a hit.

It was 13–10 at the huddle, coach Mahoney seemed relatively pleased, and noted the need for pressure and turnovers.

The opposition however kicked the opener. Ligris was dominating in defence but the forwards were ‘deflating’. That’s what I wrote in my notes, I don’t know if it’s the right word, but I think you get my drift.

The umpire entered the equation unnecessarily, and they goaled again. Johnson then lined up for his first senior goal, and duly converted, the customary mobbing followed.

De La replied and were vigorous in their endeavours. Tauber was getting plenty of the ball on his wing, as was Ramshaw on the other. Trouble was we could not find a way forward, and when we did, an inferior skill level coughed it up.

We continued to make mistakes and finally they made us pay, it was 38–19 their way, 13 shots to four.

Johnson proved his previous goal was no fluke from the same spot on the ground.

Their switch out of defence was splitting us apart, any canny coach would insist on this tactic. 41–25 at half time – I’d just witnessed our worst quarter for the year.

Over a quick one in the Bowling Club, with hundreds of others, I asked myself the same questions.

At 16 minutes into the third, a goal hadn’t been scored by either side, but it was 20 shots to six and we were 20 points down.

Finally, De La goaled, we had no method and were mistake-ridden. They added another after an uncontested transfer out of defence, our hopes, in this game at least, looked forlorn.

Ted Clayton then provided a highlight, kicked a monster goal out of a centre bounce clearance. 58–32 at the final change.

The coach implored effort at the final change.

Unfortunately, there was a lack of response, they kicked four in a row, and I put the pen away in disappointment. You don’t want to know my thoughts when we’re getting done. 96–45 at the end.

So we move to next week, positivity has to be the keynote. The challenge of an undefeated St Bernards. The chance of A Grade. Embrace the challenge, don’t question it, think with vigour and resolve, not hesitation.

To the hundreds who were there yesterday supporting the Roys, on the terrace, in the grandstand, around the fence, on the hill, in the Bowling Club, be there next weekend to show your love and support when the venue and timing is announced.

Guy Gorilla

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