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Queen's Birthday Weekend Clashes


Zippy Zorzi, Rampaging Ruscuklic and King Quinlan?K A look back at some stunning Fitzroy Queen's Birthday Weekend clashes

As we enter into the public holiday long weekend we look back at a few famous Fitzroy Queens Birthday victories of days gone by.

By David Leydon


A long forgotten, and rarely talked about Fitzroy victory, was a gem from 1960 when the Roys travelled over to the Lakeside Oval to play against South Melbourne on the Saturday of the Queens Birthday long weekend.

Fitzroy had a pretty good team in 1960, eventually making it all the way to the Preliminary Final, but in this mid-season clash against the Swans, we struggled nearly all day.

The South team which included stars like triple Brownlow Medallist Bob Skilton, jumped out of the blocks kicking 7 goals in the first quarter to hold a 19-point quarter time lead.

Fitzroy pegged it back to 13-points at the half, but South dominated the third quarter to lead by 39-points at three quarter time.

It was a different game back in 1960 and a 6 or 7-goal lead at the last change was more than enough to think you had the game won.

The Royboys had other ideas.

They ran riot in the last quarter kicking 7 goals to get over the line in the final moments of the game by a single point.

Owen Abrahams was a star that day, kicking 5 goals, and Kevin Murray was rock solid, as always, in defence. The Roys side in this game included players like Ron Harvey, Rod Vernon and Wally Clark.

Also in the side on this day was a young bloke by the name of Bruno Zorzi. Many current fans at Brunswick Street Oval will know Bruno very well as one of our great and much loved supporters of the modern day Fitzroy Football Club.

Bruno played 18 senior VFL games with Fitzroy between 1957 and 1960 alongside some of the Roys greats of the era like Gale, Murray, Johnstone, Stephen and Ongarello.                                                                                                                                  

Match details: Saturday 11 June 1960 at the Lake Oval, South Melbourne, Crowd: 21,500

4.2.26 6.5.41 6.7.43 13.13.91
South Melbourne 7.3.45 8.6.54 12.10.82 13.12.90

Fitzroy Goals:Owen Abrahams 5, Keith Bromage 4, Graham Campbell 2, Ray Slocum, Kevin Wright.


The next Queens Birthday game we're reminiscing about is another close one against South Melbourne played in 1970 at our new home ground at the Junction Oval.

In a tough affair all day, Fitzroy led by 12 points at quarter time and 20 points at half time.

The Swans had a big third quarter and went into the final break leading by 4-points and with all the momentum.

Windy conditions in the last quarter turned the game into a hard slog, with bodies being thrown in without personal care. South seemed to dominate for most of the quarter but the Fitzroy defence led by Kevin Murray frustrated them repeatedly.

Up the other end, Roys full forward, the high-flying Alex Ruscuklic, was a star and finished the game with 8 goals. His outstanding solo performance was the difference between the two sides as Fitzroy held on to win by 2 points.


Alex Ruscuklic

Match details: Saturday 6 June 1970 at the Junction Oval, Crowd: 16,971

4.4.28 11.5.71 12.6.78 14.9.93
South Melbourne 2.4.16 7.9.51 11.16.82 12.19.91

Fitzroy Goals: Alex Ruscuklic 8, John Murphy 3, David Wall 2, Mike Andrews.
Best: Alex Ruscuklic, Norm Dare, John Murphy, Alan Thompson, David Wall, John Duckworth, Kevin Murray.

The Roys side in this game also included players like Colin Hobbs, Noel Zunneberg, Norm Brown, Russell Crow, Bob Hodgkin, John Newnham and John Benison.


Even though the Roys were a strong unit that regularly played finals between 1979 and 1986, the team struggled to get going for much of 1985 in a somewhat frustrating year.

That said, the season still produced some unbelievable highlights including this Queen's Birthday Monday clash against Geelong.

In typical Kardinia Park fashion, Geelong jumped the Lions early and held a comfortable 25-point lead at half time after a strong 7-goal second quarter. Fitzroy were lack lustre and could not get a handle on the tricky windy conditions while Geelong revelled in the hometown holiday atmosphere.

Its hard to know what went on behind closed doors at half time, but Roys coach Robert Walls clearly put a rocket up all of his players and the Lions kicked an astonishing 14 goals 13 behinds after half time.

Thats 97-points in a half in an away game at Geelong!

Geelong were almost completely shut out of the game with Fitzroy going on to win by a very comfortable 31 points.

The star of the game was the great Bernie Quinlan who kicked 8 goals. He was superbly backed up by Doug Barwick who picked up 39 possessions and 2 goals in the midfield, and a defence that was well led by Paul Roos and Tim Pekin.

Its fair to say that the long trip home from Geelong was a very happy drive that night for a few thousand Roys fans.


Match details: Monday 10 June 1985 at Kardinia Park, Crowd: 22,109.

Fitzroy 3.5.23 6.8.44 14.12.96 20.21.141
Geelong 4.2.26 11.3.69 15.6.96 17.8.110

Fitzroy Goals: Bernie Quinlan 8, Bill Lokan 3, Doug Barwick 2, Bernie Harris 2, Mick Conlan, Leon Harris, Phil Knight, Richard Osborne, Michael Reeves.

Best: Bernie Quinlan, Doug Barwick, Paul Roos, Bill Lokan, Tim Pekin, Michael Nettlefold.

This Roys team also included Grant Lawrie, Laurie Serafini, Matt Rendell, Mark Scott, Andrew Cross, Shane Halas and Peter Burke.



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