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



We all know the result by now, so let’s relive, recapture those special moments. Moments that have taken the club to A Grade. 

Life can be full of ups and downs, births, deaths, marriages, divorce, accord, disharmony. Saturday 16 September was a special day in the history of the Fitzroy Football Club. One Perfect Day.

Unfortunately, for the Twos, it was one of those downers, losing eventually by five goals. We underperformed in the two finals, compared to the promise the season proper offered. The side continued to provide opportunities for senior selection, solid club comradery developed, and younger players will use those opportunities to seize the day later.

Two changes for the main game, Green in for Doherty and a late one, Marcel Laidlaw in for a lame Wotherspoon. Perfect sunny skies, a breeze favouring neither end really, and a perfect surface. And formidable opposition, tall timber, and a travelling contingent of supporters who frequently exhibit how class differences can affect human behaviour. That’s my nicest way of putting it.

We started kicking to the Plenty Road end, venturing forward early for no result. Beaumaris kicked the opener, and then McKay slotted our first after smart work by centurion Megennis. The opposition presented an aerial threat up forward, exemplified by a strong mark and goal. Lowrie, Ellis and Green will need to be on their game.

The Roys responded after multiple disposals from Toohey, Laidlaw snapping truly. Grace was scything through the opposition in the middle of the ground, finding Bill Clayton, who missed narrowly.

McKay then snapped one out of the ruck, and Faubel found the big sticks. Charlie looked on today, as did all his teammates. Our two months of lethargy seemed to have been replaced by want, vigour and spirit.

30–13 at the first change. We led tackles 12–4 and inside 30s 15–6. Key indicators!

McKay, dominating up forward, slotted his third after concise foot skills from Toohey and Pyers. Laidlaw then marked and goaled spectacularly from the square. Lambert had punched his way forward, fending off pretend tackles is his virtuosity.

A lively Minahan then check sided a sausage with Pythagoras-like precision. That would have to be a Greek sausage. At this point, the Roys were all over the Sharks.

At 16 minutes Beaumaris goaled, and repeated the dose after a dicey free. Turner replied for a major on his trusty left shoe. His Co-Captain Ted Clayton then slammed one through after a sling and 50 at the 27-minute mark.

Minahan continued to be a real thorn, and goaled after a double 50 from a kick in. Poor discipline had been a feature of the opposition approach. South of the river lifestyle and culture maybe?

70–37 at half time, and I started to wonder, I started to dream. I kept reminding myself to focus.

Beaumaris kicked the opener of the second half. Toohey then swooped on a loose ball over on the far side, evaded a tackle or two, and put his hand up for goal of the day from the pocket.

The Sharks replied after a defensive error.

Arguably the play of the day came next. Laidlaw launched across the ground from the clubhouse side to find Ligris. His deft left touch found Lambert exerting power through the hips and he snapped a goal.

85–53 at the last change.

The size of the Fitzroy supporter contingent was immensely obvious at the huddle. Excitement, anticipation, trepidation. Everyone looking for guidance, hope and inspiration.

Coach Mahoney (I want to keep using that term) reminded his players that the opposition will take risks, will handball and run. We should not retreat, but needed to act with composure. A hundred people said to me, “one more to go”. The coach mentioned club values, integrity, grit (I think).

Then he hit the nail firmly on its head. “HERE IS THE MOMENT”. It will take 30–35 minutes this moment.

Johnson worked and worked and worked from the middle to find Bill Clayton at the top of the square. He goaled, but a quick reply followed. Clearly Beaumaris had been instructed to handball and run.

In an instant, we looked buggered. Multiple entries led to a goal at the opposition end, and another. The margin was back to three goals, and we were only 11 minutes into the quarter. The previous two quarters went 35 before the clock retired back to zero.

They then kicked another two, combined with set shot misses, and it was back to four points.

A silent nervousness hit the Roys supporters, apart from the various screams of encouragement. We had to find legs and get it into our front half. Their backs were flaky.

Slowly, slowly, it reached the school end, and a boundary throw in from the pocket. Laidlaw swooped and banged it through. Partial relief.

Faubel then slotted a ‘freedom’ goal after a pass from McKay. The big fellow stood up in critical moments. I felt free because the tension in my guts had disappeared.

It was now 17 points, and Laidlaw then calmly slotted his fourth. 110–89 at the end. How can something as simple as a siren sounding generate such joy?

Plotting A Grade

I leave it to you the reader to trawl Facebook, Instagram and whatever to capture and relive the vibe. To talk to your comrades, your neighbours, your kids about what joy this brings. I won’t talk about the challenge of next week, I’ll leave that to the coaches and players, they are the true believers. The true believers.

Whatever happens next week, the club is now an A Grade side, proudly, noble aims set five years ago, and a work ethic that typifies its traditional urban roots.

The MOMENT was defined, the MOMENT was embraced, the MOMENT can be celebrated.

I’ll see you next Saturday, probably at my old stomping ground, Elsternwick Park.

Guy Gorilla

Images courtesy Phyllis Quealy

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