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Fitzroy: it's all about fun and family for Tess


When Fitzroy-ACU winger Tess Cosgrave takes the field on Saturday night for the VWFL grand final, shell be taking inspiration from her great grandfather Bryan, who played for Fitzroy in the VFL way back in 1924.

In fact just having made the grand final in her first season with Fitzroy, Tess has perhaps already outdone Pa Cosgrave, who played five games but wasnt part of Fitzroys 1924 finals side.

92 years later, Tess wants to be part of club history with a strong performance against Gippsland. But even if she doesnt win, she knows shes on a winner with Fitzroy.

I kind of knew about Pa Cosgrave, but it wasnt really a conscious thing to come to Fitzroy.

I had a friend at ACU (Australian Catholic University, where Tess studies) who said you like running, so why dont you come down to pre-season. Come for a run and see if you like it/p>

And like it she did.

Tess had never played football before this year other than during the occasional lunch time at primary school. Running, netball and tennis were her thing.

To learn the skills and improve them you really need to work outside of training. I actually really did enjoy pre-season because we could work on those things and my brother helped me a lot with skills too,Tess said.

Tess, who will study a Masters of Teaching at ACU next year, works as a receptionist at a physiotherapy clinic in Fairfield and another skills teacher has been former Richmond player and physiotherapist, Mark Summers, who has taken a great interest in her progress. (We can only surmise he might have a soft spot for Fitzroy given his former Richmond team mate Michael Pickering hangs about at the club a bit).

Tess has some excellent football pedigree. Aside from Bryan Cosgrave, Tesss great uncle on her mums side was Len Holland, who played for South Melbourne, and shes also related to Paul Callery, who was a Morrish Medallist and played the majority of his career with St Kilda and Melbourne in the 70s.

Needless to say the Cosgrave family is very, very excited about this Saturday nights grand final.

Mum (Margaret) loves it! In fact its been a really nice thing for mum and dad (Peter) to do as a couple to get out and about and come to watch us play this year, but I think they just really love the fact that Im enjoying it so much.

My dad said the family was extremely grateful to the old Fitzroy Football Club as they always made the effort to keep in contact with the old players and would send Pa a Christmas present each year, which was really lovely./p>

Tess says the thing shes looking forward to the most about Saturday night is singing the team song!

Really on Saturday its about knowing on an individual level that even if we are all nervous, once we get out there we just operate as a team. My weakness, will be someone elses strength and I feel like if you put yourself out there it will benefit the whole team and thats just incredible.

It is so surreal to be in the grand final in just my first season. At the start of the season with 30 new girls and forming two teams, we just had the aim of giving it a good crack and perhaps wining a few games and improving on last years results, and now we are on this crazy winning streak.

When we won against Melbourne Uni and won by about 100 points, we just had so much fun and our captain Alexa said thats when we play our best footy, when we have fun.

There is such a good charisma around Fitzroy. We do have each others backs and thats what gets us through those cold winter training sessions.

John (coach John Marshall) has put a hell of a lot into getting the best out of all of us. He drives such a long way just to get to training and games and every week he provides individual feedback to each player. When I joined the club I just thought there is a real feeling of belonging and family.

Whatever the outcome on Saturday night its a beautiful way to wrap up the season playing in the grand final and thinking look what weve done while were having fun/p>

Bryan Cosgrave lived 1903 - 1992

Played 5 games for Fitzroy (including two at Brunswick Street Oval) for three wins and two losses and kicked four goals in the 1924 VFL season; a year in which Fitzroy finished 3rd in a nine-team competition.

Fitzroy had been a power in the preceding years, winning the 1922 Premiership and finishing runner up in 1923.

After football he turned his hand to cricket, becoming a right handed batsman for Victoria.

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