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Thirds fall just short

26-Aug-2018

The Fitzroy Thirds have bowed out of the premiership race after a 7-point loss to De La Salle at Waverley Oval.

The team that lost four of its first five game this year before finding its mojo, had bounced into the finals with plenty of form and could well have knocked off the premiership favourites, with a bit more luck and structure in the forward line. But they could comfortably look each other in the eyes at the end of the game and know they’d given it their best shot.

Credit to the De La Salle defence which withstood an enormous amount of pressure as Fitzroy played nearly the entire last quarter in attack.

Playing the early game in conditions which showed no signs of what was to come later in the day, De La Salle made the early running and the sizeable Roy crowd which had made its way to East Malvern, was looking slightly concerned at quarter time (4.3.27 to 1.2.8) and even more grim as that margin got out to 5 goals mid-way through the second term. But a burst of three Fitzroy goals just before half time put them back in the game and only 11 points down.

De La Salle kicked three goals to two in a dour third quarter and had slightly extended its lead to 13 points by the final break. The final term was an arm wrestle and despite having a lot of the ball, Fitzroy scored just 1.2 to De La’s two points. Fitzroy just ran out of time.

Nathan Grimshaw was the best player and had been excellent in the weeks prior too. Hugh Morris Dalton, Will Symons, Kai Menzies, Rhys Dolby and Bryce McAdam were among the best.

The goals were shared with Will Symons, Liam Webb and the double and triple teamed Tim De Natris all kicking two.

Coach Trent Coleman told the team he was truly proud of what they’d achieved, going one step further than last year. On reflection during the week he said there was true Roy spirit on display and highlighted many team achievements, including defeating the reigning premiers Williamstown three times and grand finalist Beaumaris at home.

He particularly highlighted the new game plan the team had learnt and implemented from scratch saying “when we executed it, we looked unstoppable. There is so much to build on for next year.”

Trent made a point of thanking all 78 players who had pulled on the jumper for the Thirds throughout the year, particularly for their patience and understanding over some very tough selection nights.

“I thank you for being a great bunch of blokes who displayed some solid performances, in a high grade of football, against quality opposition. And for making my second year as a coach a thoroughly enjoyable one.”

Just a message from one who has missed the ultimate glory, to all those playing in finals over the next few weeks… Sam Buckley lamented after the game that in 25 years of Fitzroy footy he hadn’t played in one grand final. When the coaches say the opportunities don’t come around all that often, it isn’t just an empty cliché.

 


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