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Milestone games for favourite sons

21-Jun-2019

On the eve of landmark games for two of our most important senior players, we checked in with Matt Kyroussis and Nathan Jumeau to find out what makes Fitzroy so special to them. To complete the circle, we asked coach Luke Mahoney what makes them so special to Fitzroy.

On Saturday, Matty Kyroussis will play his 150th VAFA game, while for Nathan Jumeau, it’ll be his 100th for Fitzroy. For these accomplished senior players, Fitzroy has been an irresistible magnet through their long careers in community football.

Both have toyed with other teams, but both have seen the light and come home to roost.
As team mates, Matt and Nath go way back. So it’s not surprising that their responses to our questions largely align.

For Nathan (pictured left, during the 2018 Premier C grand final), the reasons he cites for coming back to Fitzroy are multi-faceted: the culture, the history, the supporters, the jumper and the famous old home ground itself. Matty echoes the sentiment, with an emphasis on the culture of the playing group.

“All the players are very competitive on the field,” says Matt, “and very sociable off it.”

For a favourite memory Matt and Nathan both nominate – not the 2018 grand final – but the brilliant heart-stopping game against ladder leaders Williamstown that got them there. “To have such a big loud crowd at the game and to see the faces of supporters after the final is something I'll never forget,” Matt says. Nathan reckons it’s “probably the best memory I’ll have from my days playing with the Roys.”

After playing so many games together over so many years, Nathan credits team mate Julian Turner as the player he’s most respected and appreciated along the way.

“I joined the club to play football with Jules back in under 15s,” says Nathan, “and to go on to win two premierships together, especially last year with him as my captain, is something pretty special.”

There are two players who come to mind for Matt. “Max Ellis has been selfless and consistent in every game he’s played and Dr Tom O’Donnell is another who has a red-hot crack every week and has developed into a great leader at the club.”

With so many senior players retiring at the end of the 2018 season, it’s not surprising that players like Matt K and Nathan J rate high in coach Luke Mahoney’s estimation.

“It’s really important at the moment that we have Matty's experience around the club,” he says. “He knows the game really well and passes that on to our young forwards and onballers.

“Matt has a great passion for Fitzroy and wants the club to succeed. On the field he never wastes a possession and things usually happen when has the ball in his hands.”

As for Nathan, Luke says that over the past two years he’s become a very important player, one who also understands the game and helps the other forwards on game day and at training with their running patterns and positioning.

“Nathan has stepped into a leadership role this year, and is a key driver of social events for the players.”

This leadership ability has been honed in past seasons with Nathan’s generous involvement with the women’s squads, something he’s both enjoyed and appreciated.

“Having women’s teams has changed the club for the better,” says Nathan. “I’ve really enjoyed the taste of coaching I’ve received, and even though we didn’t win, coaching one of the senior women’s games against Marcellin was pretty memorable, and probably the most nervous experience I've had.”

Before handing over to Luke for the last word, Nathan and Matt both asked to acknowledge club supporters.

“I have to thank Wendy, Janet and Suzanne for their sponsorship over last few years,” says Nathan. “It means a lot to have people like this at a footy club. It’s what makes Fitzroy such a welcome and open club to anyone and everyone.”

Matt’s recognition extends to the whole club. “I’d like to thank all the players, coaches, volunteers and supporters for making Fitzroy the great community club it is,” he says.

So as we said, the coach gets the last word…

“Both Matt and Nath are stand-out Fitzroy people who should be very proud of what they have achieved and have had a big impact on where the club is and the direction it’s heading.”


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