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



It’s October 2022 and Kane and I are off for a run to discuss what the 2023 season has in store for us. We discuss what can we do better, we ponder what the year might be destined for us.

A footy season is like a marathon in the sense that it’s about the preparation, sticking to a game plan. Not a focus on what others are doing, rather on what you’re able to control and having the want to stay healthy until the 30km mark, when the race really starts and you give all you have to hit the finish line strong and fast.

Come November 2022 and we’re at the starting line. The gun goes off and the marathon begins. Welcome to preseason 2023.

With very strong numbers and a sense of unfinished business across all teams (coaches included) it’s evident the group has a hunger and drive to work hard on the track to prepare us for memorable and history-making 2023 season.

A small but talented contingent of Colts players joining the preseason were welcomed with open arms and quickly got to work. And fitting in seamlessly. The Thirds Gold is our football nest, a space for younger players to grow, develop and be nurtured as they transition from junior ranks into senior football. Additionally, it’s a space providing support and opportunity for some more seasoned players to develop as leaders and mentors for the younger cohort.

Looking at the other teams in the Premier division, Fitzroy Football Club is the only community-based club represented. The other teams represent big private school old boys’ clubs with multiple teams in multiple divisions and senior teams playing in the A section.

It appears that other clubs have adopted a similar strategy in terms of their younger players, running them in the Thirds Premier division to bolster club playing stocks with the dual purpose of fast-tracking younger players into senior programs. St Kevins name their team the ‘Academy Squad’ and Old Xavs the ‘U23s’. At Fitzroy, we simply go by Thirds Gold.

We don’t care what school you went to or from what side of the track you come from. If you’re a good human being, we’ll wrap our arms around you and call you one of our own. That’s how we roll.

We’re rounding the bend at the 10km mark, feeling good, strong, and full of gusto. Round 1 sees us destroy Trinity by 114 points, eventually sending them down to Division 1.

At the 21km mark (Round 8 in football terms), we’re looking strong, only defeated once at the hands of Old Scotch. Ahead looms the mountain known as the European summer, an obstacle designed to test not only the depth of our own group but the complete playing squad, a challenge to prove the club’s overall resilience. We take it as an opportunity for some to play in more senior teams, and for players in general to step up in the face of adversity.

With each round, a new playing group was formed, no two squads the same, as our commitment and connection tested during this mid-year European exodus. I’m unable to comprehend what a summer in Europe has on a Melbourne winter.

Kane’s magnets were forever on the move and the investment in a new white board was approved as we wore out the old one.

The 30km mark is where the race actually begins (for those who have heard the old war stories of those who have run the marathon). The aim is to feel healthy and to be prepared for a strong push towards the finish line. At this point our home and away season is complete. We finish on top of the ladder. Yes, an achievement, but we haven’t finished yet.

Our semi final is at the Brunswick Street Oval under lights against Old Xavs. It’s rare for this group to play in front of more than a handful of people and the odd stray dog at Ramo, but this venue on this night was the one we really wanted. Most important was the chance for the boys to experience success, witnessed and revved-up by a loving and supportive crowd. We were in the fight until late in the last quarter, but we fell short.

It was an impressive display from the group, and we are so proud of their efforts.

With 5km to go we’re at the 37km mark with a second-chance ticket in our back pockets, our competitive gaze set on Old Scotch. The boys pushed and pushed, giving everything but not coming home with the chocolates.

We cross the finishing line, exhausted, and although we’re disappointed to not cross first, amongst what-ifs comes a satisfaction in the knowledge that we have given our all and more and have nothing left.


Reflecting on the season, I feel a great sense of pride in what our ever-changing group has been able to achieve. In our second year in the Premier Thirds league, finishing on top of the ladder at the end of the home and away season and reflecting a group desire to get better, challenge one another and push on an individual level for selection in the 1s and 2s.

With more than 50 players rolling through this squad this season, our team growth is a credit to the whole playing group and exemplifies the Fitzroy club mentality requiring that you bring the best version of yourself each week, on the training track and on game day.

Methodology and the Fitzroy brand of football across the entire playing group has been consistent, enabling players from our Thirds Gold to ‘play up’ with the shared understanding of club expectations creating a seamless transition to higher grades.

Kane and I are so very proud of the squad that has worn the jumper in the Premier Thirds this year. We’re looking forward to watching ‘our boys’ and all boys who have earnt a spot to play finals in the reserve and senior grades this weekend. All looking to contribute to a great club’s history, with pride.

The connection between players, coaches and the club in general is powerful and putting aside any competitive regret, we’ll all be watching from the stands cheering with all out might.

To our older brothers, you’re now at the 37km mark of your marathon. We’ll all be there cheering you on. You have the opportunity, determination, and skill to make one final push and be first over the line. Create a piece of Fitzroy history. Tired yes, sore likely, as will be our opponents. Pain is temporary but glory lives forever.

Go for it lads, the Golds troop will be barracking, pushing you forward, and looking forward to celebrating and sharing in your success.

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