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

For 100 gamer, it’s a (Fitzroy) family affair


Lauren Atkinson is known across the football world by her pseudonym, Jacky Fowler. The origins of the nickname are mired in the mists of time, but whatever we call her, Lauren ‘Jacky Fowler’ Atkinson is recognised as a consummate footballer and the essence of grace, power and skill.

Along the way to her 100th game for Fitzroy, Lauren Atkinson has notched up a number of firsts. She played in the first-ever women’s game for Fitzroy after attending just one training session, and kicked their first-ever score – a single point and the only score the Roys registered that memorable day.

The much-loved and much-respected Lauren 'Jacky Fowler' Atkinson was one of the first Fitzroy women stars to reach the 50-game milestone

Lauren's sporting background, pre-FFC, was netball, where as goal defence she learned to tag. Then came a day early on when the Fitzroy coach called on her to shut down the opposition full forward (who was down from the VFLW and typically scored several goals per game). Lauren held her to one, and won best on ground honours in one of the most accomplished performances father Roger had seen her produce to that point in her football career.

Ten years on and Jacky Fowler has made the backline her own. With superb balance, quiet determination and exemplary marking skills, Lauren leads by example, marshalling the back six and rebutting the opposition time out of mind.

Jacky Fowler combines superb grace with power, determination, and an elite game sense

If Fitzroy is family – and we know it is – Lauren comes from one of its strongest and most giving. Big brother Jack has been a stalwart of the club, notching up more than 220 games, most recently as captain courageous of the Men’s Reserves. Sister Chrissie shared the field with Lauren in the early days playing together for the Roys, before injury cruelled her progress.

Lauren with sister Chrissie in the rooms (above) before one of the games they played together, and brother Jack with whom she shares a ton of football skill and prowess 

Parents Julie and Roger have been steadfast supporters of their children as emerging footballers, and of the Roys when all three played for the club.

Roger also stepped into the breach when we most needed him – as team manager of the Women’s Senior team – even when holding down the job severely curtailed his ability to watch the other games his children were playing in.

“We lived in Katherine in the Northern Territory when the kids were little and signed all the kids up for the local Auskick,” says Roger. “Lauren was four or five at the time.

“She was assigned to the 'magpies' team and was given a jumper 14 sizes too big for her. At that age it was more of a social than a sporting thing for her.

“So, mid-game, sitting in the forward pocket deep in conversation with her opponent, a loose ball came bouncing into their midst. Instead of diving on the ball, the pair of them simply moved away a bit and continued their conversation, completely oblivious to the melee going on just beside them.

“The entire crowd of 40-odd spectators collapsed in hysterics.”

When asked to nominate his favourite Lauren Atkinson football moment, Roger’s initial nomination of being signed for Port Melbourne quickly modified to “actually, any time I get to see Lauren play for the Roys is a special moment for me.”

You’re not alone Roger. Watching Lauren ‘Jacky Fowler’ Atkinson go around is always something special for the whole Fitzroy family.

And to see her hit the field for her 100th fabulous game will be the most special of all.

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