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



Second-semi final day at Old Paradians’ Garvey Oval in Bundoora saw a dual face off between Fitzroy Mens and St Bernards in both the Seniors and Reserves. Both clubs had set benchmarks for the season, the side from Essendon being especially dominant as a club coming down from A Grade in 2022.

The Twos were gallant in defeat, going down by seven points, but finishing full of running. If they can eliminate patches of inactivity, play a full-on brand, they may get another crack at the premieship in two weeks. They must be focused next week against Old Trinity in the prelim.

There were four changes for the main game – Baker, Lambert, Megennis and Pyers in for Hayward, Holmes, Marcel Laidlaw and Wilson. I expected a much elevated tempo from the Roys as opposed to last week’s lacklustre performance. We wanted an even contribution. The trouble was, St Bernards are a very good side, undefeated all season with good reason.

It was cold, the chance of a blizzard, a 2–3 goal breeze favouring the school end. We started into the breeze. Our first big challenge.

After five minutes of scrimmaging, St Bernards enacted their trademark run out of defence, forcing it forward for their first goal of the game. We responded immediately through Lambert, switching out of defence smoothly, signalling offensive intent. The pressure was good.

Minahan then found Toohey who surged forward for a goal. For an instant, we were leaders, but they replied almost immediately.

Pyers, Toohey and Ted Clayton were doing well in the midfield, along with clever cameos from Grace.

As you might expect from a top of the ladder side, they snapped three late goals in as many minutes, and it was 36–13 at the first change.

Coach Mahoney stressed that we had to stop them shifting the ball out of defence with ease, and needed to place their defenders in uncomfortable positions, pressuring errors.

The opposition were all over us at the start of the second quarter. Then the rain came, and stifled our attacks to the scoring end. To be honest, they had lifted and were exerting dominance. But in the end, it was a nothing, goalless quarter, 40–16 at the main break.

The Roys had stopped their scoring, but couldn’t score themselves.

St Bernards slotted the opener to the second half, the wind had dropped, the gap was widening, and the ball almost exclusively in St Bernards front half. By three quarter time, it was a nine goal deficit, 70–16. We’d been goalless for two and a half quarters.

The coach emphasised that we had to get something out of the last quarter. Firstly in preparation for next week, and secondly to at least sow some seeds of doubt (assuming we are victors in the prelim).

Finally Faubel goaled, then Turner, and St Bernards may have been in self preservation mode. Grace then snapped one after an unusual round the corner torp from Pyers. Gets some strange angles on the ball George. It was 80–41 at the end, the opposition celebrated promotion back to A Grade.

We were left to contemplate next week.

As the coach mentioned after the game, we’re now in the same position we were before the second semi to win promotion: we have to win a final. That is now next week against Beaumaris.

It will require an even contribution from every member of the squad of 22, not from the six to eight reliables. Use Max Ellis as your attitude barometer.

That to me is the challenge for the coaching squad, and if players are into self-reflection like they should be, this week they’ll be asking themselves what more they can contribute.

It has to be nothing short of your best. No question, no doubt.

I’ll see you somewhere next weekend.

Guy Gorilla

Get our Newsletter

Are you a Member?