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I was inside the glass, having a spot of lunch, for the majority of the Fitzroy Reserves game against Beaumaris. For the first time this season, the Twos were challenged early, and were trailing at quarter time. Normal transmission resumed thereafter, and an 87–28 win ensued in the end.

Coach Carter told me later that Sean Laidlaw, Doherty and McGrath were prominent, but he was content with the spread of contributors. The depth of talent will be vital when the mid-year holiday season kicks in soon.

Four changes faced the Senior side: Minahan, Tauber, Long and Roberts coming in for Laird Ramshaw, Baker, Wotherspoon and Lambert, all compulsory outs. My head told me that we would be in for a hell of a fight. Beaumaris had a 5–1 record coming into the game, and were strongly touted around the traps, coming off a 140-point victory in the previous round.

The Roys were fast out of the blocks, three goals on the board in the first three minutes, the Clayton twins and Turner scoring. Beaumaris was fumbly early, succumbing to our pressure, and loose in defence. Grace then got on the end of one for our fourth. Toohey then converted our fifth, receiving a pass after a strong mark by Megennis.

Ellis, Green and Lowrie were defending the threat of aerial attacks with their normal aplomb, and Ligris continued his work as school cleaner, mopping up everything assiduously and with customary left-sided polish.

The opposition got on the board at 19 minutes, then snaffled another. It was 37–12 at the first break and to be honest, could have been a wider margin.

At the huddle, the whiteboard revealed that we dominated the inside 30s, 15–4. Coach Mahoney stressed the shoulder-to-shoulder approach. Bolder and bolder.

Clearly the Beaumaris coach delivered a rocket at his huddle. It was a very physical start to the second quarter. They kicked two early goals, which made it four in a row either side of the break.

After a period of heavy hitting, Minahan snuck forward smartly to goal from a Megennis pass, but the blue and golds converted after a long launch. Repeat entries prevailed in their forward half, but the Roys hung on to maintain a 44–36 lead at half time. The game had swung on its axis, and it was now anyone’s.

A slight breeze had favoured the eastern end in the first half, and it was clear that we had to get the score on the board in the third quarter. It took 12 minutes for Hart to goal, manic pressure in the square. Ted Clayton then bombed one, and they replied five minutes later from their goal square.

Faubel marked strongly at 50 just before the siren. This was a critical kick. Charlie lined up with a Michael Holding-like approach, closer to a Brunswick Street tram than his desired target. He gave it everything. And it got there, much to the delight of the Fitzroy throng. A couple of longtime supporters were heard to proclaim, “just like Bernie Quinlan”. Same number 5.

66–43 our way at the final change, the threat of the scoring end confronting the Roys in the last.

A silly, unnecessary 50 gifted them the first goal, and they kicked another quickly – it was now back to 11 points. Bill Clayton then marked and goaled after a sibling pass. Grace snapped a ripper after clever centre bounce work from Tauber. We had regained the initiative.

Toohey then found Minahan with a laser-like pass for another, the lead back out to 30 points. Ligris was still larger than life with his defensive intuition.

The final minutes saw some ill-discipline creep into the opposition’s game, and the ‘Milkman’ (AKA Ted Clayton) benefitting profusely, kicking the final three goals of the game to cap off an excellent performance, alongside his midfield partner in crime, Toohey.

The siren sounded with the board showing a 104–62 victory for the Roys. Now 7–0. The coach commended a great all-round performance, especially noting the contribution of the four inclusions. That’s how it’s gotta be.

So we head west next Saturday to St Bernards for a top-of-the-ladder clash, both sides undefeated. A clash of the titans. See you there with Fitzroy bells on.

Guy Gorilla

Image: Phyllis Quealy

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