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Just amazing


One word sums it up really: amazing.

The sun shone brightly over Brunswick Street Oval on what was a very special day when our fourth foundation women’s player Lauren ‘Jacky Fowler’ hit the field for her 100th game with the famous Fitzroy Football Club.

Lauren’s moment in the sun was happily foreshadowed by the Reserves curtain raiser against Westbourne Grammar, a new entrant in the VAFA.

Despite the loss, incoming coach and club legend Gemma Minuz was happy with what she saw, reassuring the girls in the rooms after the game that the signs were really positive for happy and successful year ahead.

"Daisy Nitsch was very impressive in her first game for the club," Gemma says, "reading the ball really well in the backline, taking some great marks and clearing the ball well.

Gabrielle Treacher earned Gemma's best-on-ground accolades in what was only her first game for the Roys. "Despite not having played since high school, she obviously hasn’t skipped a beat, getting a lot of the footy around the ground and laying some bone-crunching tackles," said Gem.

In her first game as Reserves captain, Emma Burke was solid in defence and on ball, with Niamh Geoghegan and Aspen Wagner putting in a big effort on ball and delivering truly to Liz Olney and Christina 'Moose' up forward.

After his full first season under inaugural coach and Royboy legend and premiership player Nathan Jumeau, the rubber hit the road in the first game of the 2024 season for the senior Roy Girls.

“It was a team effort today,” Jumeau says, “and it was great to see so much of what we’ve been working so hard to achieve come together on game day.”

The team effort was led by and reinforced all day from the backline, with 100-gamer Lauren ‘Jacky Fowler’ Atkinson marking strongly and defensive colleague Claudia Hetherington intercepting time and again. Tess Young exhibited intrepid run and carry and Maddie DeBondt, Maddi Carter and Sarah Lynas locked down with enduring determination, winning repeated one on ones.

“The midfield really gelled today too,” said Jumeau. “Jaime Nelson was amazing in the ruck, getting the ball down to our centres in Gina Bennett, Robyn Randall and Clo Clodagh Tayor.”

New recruit Leing Reupana and second-year player Elaine Murphy were standout ball winners all game, fulfilling their roles as link up players around the ground. Newly appointed captain Stephanie Pitt worked the wing wonderfully with Edie Bridgewater and Sunday Brisbane providing effective attack and defence throughout the game.

But as Jumeau said, it was a whole-team effort and it’d be remiss of us not to mention the superb efforts and achievements of the forward line with talls Nadia Conte, Elaine Murphy and Eliza James creating targets for smalls Mia Sutherland, Nessa Cooney Hunt, Georgia Sands and Hilary Collett.

And of course, it was heart warming to see Lauren Atkinson leading by example in her 100th, taking goal-saving marks with characteristic determination and power from her vantage point on the last line of defence.

Yes, an amazing team win.

JG Gorilla

Images courtesy club photographer Phyllis Quealy

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