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

Captain's Diary Vol 1: Cass Blake

16-Apr-2021

As I rolled open the blinds open on Saturday morning, there was nothing but grey skies and rain on the street.

623 days ago we played our last gameā€¦ but here we go, Fitzroy footy is finally back!

Dark clouds were building over Ramsden Street Oval as the Reserves girls ran out for the first time in 2021 to the roars of our Fitzroy loyals. As the siren rang at half time, our attention switched and the nerves began to build as we entered the rooms to start our pre-game prep.

Sitting down taping my ankle, I looked around the room. It was starting to set in, we were actually going to play this year, and I could sense the excitement and momentum building in the room. The side had changed since we last met in these rooms. We had a brand new coaching team, 2 club veterans returning from VFLW, 2 girls back from serious injuries that sidelined them in 2019, 7 Fitzroy debutantes and 1 young gun donning the senior Fitzroy colours for the first time.

As the coaches were prepping, I handed players a small note with their name on the front. Inside, I identified a unique character trait as to why theyre such an integral part of our new Fitzroy side. Accompanying this, a description of how this trait helped form the identity of this squad, and could help us get over the line in round one.

Bronte gave one last address and before I knew it, all eyes and ears were on me. We were huddled in tight, jittering in anticipation. Overcome with excitement, the blood was rushing through my body and after some final words, we were out on the ground. Knowing nothing of our new opposition, we were set and ready as Old Geelong came out to line up against us. Smiling and giving fist bumps, we stood side by side our opposition waiting for the ball. As, the siren blew, mouth guards went in and the smiles disappeared. It was on.

Old Geelong started strong, kicking with the wind. The ball was hotly contested and moving quickly into their forward line. The powerhouse backline including gun defenders Lenny (Jess) Hayes, Luci Murphy, LJ (Luci Kerr), Jaqui Fowler (Lauren Atkinson), (Sarah) Lynas kept OG to 1.5 when the quarter-time siren ran. We re-grouped and switched our focus. Aggressive, attacking footy, we needed to use this wind to our advantage.

Alexa (Big Chilli) Madden, Billie Barton and Hilary Collett charged out of the middle and bombed the ball into the forward line, hitting Lizzo (Liz Olney) in the right pocket of the ground. Lizzo booted it through and we were on the board. There was a quick shift in play and Old Geelong couldnt keep up with Erin (Leather Poisoning) Gogerly and Tess (DJ Tessy) Young who worked hard to get us a lead in the wind with one major each.

Old Geelong fought back with the wind in the third quarter with two more goals, and it was anyones game coming into the last quarter (Fitzroy 3.2:20 to Old Geelong 3.8:26). The fourth quarter began, and a big challenge, but an even bigger opportunity was ahead of us. With ten minutes remaining, the ball was up and there were bodies everywhere, I slapped the ball onto my boot in a panicked kick, and it landed right where youd want it. Our two-time Golden Bootwinner Lizzo bombed it through from 40 out and we were back in front!

The girls were fighting, everyone pushing back. RED MODEwas being screamed from the bench. We knew there wasn't long left. OG gave it everything for one final strike, and the ball was locked in their attacking 50. Then, the siren rang. I looked across the contest and spotted Lex, her eyes wide, mouth open - we did it. 713 days since our last win, what a feeling.

Our hard work of 2020 paying off and it showed. Girls, coaches and our trusty supporters soaking up every second of pure elation. What a year this will be, were ready and fighting; were #morethanfooty

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