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



This week’s warm-up artist in the living room featured Cold Chisel. Young meets old, the Rising Sun a favourite. One soon to be 50-game veteran walked in the front door to greet another, we jumped in the car, picked up the 203-game veteran Professor soon to be Doctor of Philosophy, and commenced the awkward journey to Williamstown.

It would turn out to be an awkward game as well, one we had to win to remain in top-four contention. I motored along taking considerable advice as to my ability to steer, indicate, change lanes, stop, think, talk. Safely, eventually, into the prime spot behind the Willy change rooms.

Five changes again, pretty standard these days, but we should be grateful for a deeper list. Hart, Hudson-Bevege, Kyroussis, Lambert and O’Donnell, all in for Doherty at a wedding, not his own I think, Ramshaw a quad, Fendyk the Two’s, Lowrie and Faubel in a Berlin nightclub. A young, small Willy unit awaited us at their windy, fenceless, oddly aligned ground. And with the support of another past players’ day.

The Two’s recorded another win, one which required some hard toil, probably a good thing. There’s obviously a high turnover of players, but the old reliables mix well with emerging youngsters. James Graham needs to be commended for his diligent week in, week out consistency. We ended up seven-goal winners, largely because coach Bernie never used the old standard ‘the wind won’t do it for you’ at the final huddle. Method and endeavour were the keys.

Willy had first use of a 3–4 goal wind, and they were on the board quickly for the first couple. We were clunky with our disposal early until Toohey sharply passed to Bill Clayton on the lead for our first. The message from this was to use low, direct kicks into the breeze, run and handball with it. Before you could blink, they had four on the board, and their adolescent heads were up and about. Smart work in the goal square saw Wotherspoon snap a major, and 50-game Co Captain Hart followed his lead. McKay in the ruck was giving us great advantage at the stoppages, a trend that continued for the rest of the day. Willy predictably kicked one at the 29-minute mark, but a great mark and long goal from Megennis brought it back to 32–28 their way at the break.

A hit to the bank balance will no doubt occur after a major melee on the siren. Coach Mahoney was calm, urging focus on the task, while their coach stressed that we should not be allowed to take contested marks. For reasons that escape me, Fitzroy attendance was not appreciated at their huddle. Intelligent, good-looking attendees should be encouraged among the mass of Warren Zevon ‘excitable boys’. And Dads.

It took us 10 minutes to score our first goal for the quarter through Co Cap Turner. Lambert kicked a ripper after a great smother from Kyroussis. I’m told Ted Clayton shared his weetbix with twin brother Bill when they were kids. Ted found Bill for a goal, prompting Big Warwick to note a similarity with the Krakouer brothers. Sort of. Willy weren’t conceding however, and it was pretty willing on and off the field. More sustained pressure led to a couple more majors, and we were 20 points up at half time.

In simple terms, restricting Willy’s use of the wind in the third was the key to the game. They were held to seven points for the term, goalless. I heard the term “energy and voice” at the huddle. Too true. 64–48 our way, with the breeze.

Things didn’t go according to script. They kicked the first couple, Hart a steadier, and then Turner snapped another after Wotherspoon desperation. Willy goaled again, and it was very tense. Ellis, Green, Ligris and Seakins were superb all day, and stoic in defence in this period of ebb and flow. Turner converted again for his fourth, and Minahan iced the game from 50. He’d been very influential, especially in the last quarter, a 92–67 victory.

Thankfully, it was peaceful in the end, on the ground and in the rooms.

After a 2-week hiatus, something I don’t get in an already ‘overbyed’ season, we welcome Ajax to BSO. A win will see us take their spot in the four. We must match their system, their trust, their team-first mentality, and provide a truckload of own Fitzroy brand of whole-ground contest.

Guy Gorilla.

Image: Fabulous Phyllis Quealy photo of Fearless 50’s.

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