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



Welcome to the season proper, Round 1, 2023, the Senior Men. All four Men’s sides were selected on Thursday prior, and around 20 players were unlucky not to gain selection at all. So be it – competition for spots brings success, and the best clubs have lists with depth. Hang in there boys.

When I read the sides on Friday evening, an interesting point emerged. The Ones contained only three players not of Fitzroy Juniors heritage. And the Twos had seven imports. It says a lot about playing for the club, the importance of mateship and playing for each other. I wondered how that is possible when you play for a university side for example.

The Twos were spellbinding in their 147–5 victory. I reckon there were about 10–12 players who could challenge for Senior selection, not counting a few still unavailable. Midfield maestro Matt Larkin has a vast array of youthful talent at his disposal to support Bernie Carter’s instinct-movement game plan. I liked the performances of Levens, Minahan, Nelson and Laird Ramshaw. New captain Will Zaghis must have kicked five or six.

The Ones game was hot for 15 minutes, but our physical advantages were obvious. Height, strength and a clear edge in the benefits of pre-season rigour quickly led to domination. Lambert started the trend with a strong mark on the wing, he roosted long to Turner who marked and duly converted. Meanwhile Lazzaro was dominating at half back, as predicted in a previous Guy Gorilla epistle. Hogg was finding plenty of the ball on the wing, and Grace was presenting well. He goaled after a free.

One thing’s for certain. The pre-season recruitment of ruckman Chas Roberts will be pivotal in our improvement. His tap work and general ruck nous was instrumental in clearances. And remember he frees up the likes of Baker, Hart and McKay to play other big-man roles.

It was 16–1 at the first break.

At the start of the second Faubel goaled after strong forward pressure by ‘the energiser’ Curcio. Baker was providing a strong focus up forward, and he converted for a major. Then Wotherspoon belied his short stature and marked strongly just inside 50, and bombed a long goal. Curcio then worked overtime to find a loose ball and goal after a lull in scoring.

The Roys had taken control, we were very legitimately physical, a good brand.

Beautiful flow from defence, Wotherspoon to Faubel to Hart led to a goal. It was 55-2 at half time, 39 minutes into the second quarter. Total dominance.

All in all, it was a very nice afternoon’s entertainment in the rooms at half time. A cup of tea, 11 party pies and few bits of slice. And that’s just me. My mate Gerry won first prize in the raffle, swapping $250 worth of bike training for an $80 Mexican cantina feed. Smart man Gerry. I’ll enjoy a taco or two.

The second half started in driving rain. After 17 minutes of tit for tat, co-captain Ted Clayton kicked our first for the quarter. Wotherspoon was playing a true rover’s game winning multiple possessions. Monash finally goaled after a series of scrimmages. Toohey had been winning plenty of the ball, then swooped on a loose ball around 50 and snapped a goal. The ground lights were on at 4.03 pm, it was gloomy. I hope the Treasurer has paid the electricity bill!

71–11 at the final change.

It was pouring again at the start of the last. Grace goaled off the spongy carpet, and Curcio snapped another, revealing the pressure we’d been craving from a small forward. Faubel slotted a ripper after a strong forward contest from Grace.

Hogg then marked and goaled, and took pride in the number on his back – number 26, a request from young Charlie. The previous wearer was Jack Dalton, our new forward coach guru. Passing the baton they call that.

It was 106–11 at the final siren, a comprehensive win, our first in the season opener since 2018. Nice.

Next Saturday the 22nd, the Anzac Day game, at Brunswick Street, against Williamstown. It’s always a great day, a moving ceremony, and will be followed by a game of great heat.

Guy Gorilla

Image: There’s some big boys in the Roys’ ranks this year, measuring at least 195cm (6’ 4” in the old). Watching the Twos, from right to left: Roberts, Lowrie, Grace, Hart, Green, Baker, McKay. And a few others 6’ 2”ers, Seakins, Lazzaro et al.

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