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This week in Fitzroy history


By David Leydon

Its 50 years ago this weekend since a famous Fitzroy victory over Richmond in round one of the 1970 AFL season (VFL as it was in those days).

Playing against the reigning Premiers at the MCG was always going to be a difficult task to start the new season for the Royboys, but this game had a number of unique aspects to it.

It was the first VFL game ever played on a Sunday and it featured a visit from Lizzie Windsor (some may know her as Queen Elizabeth) who was the first and only sitting British Monarch to attend an AFL game.

The match was played on 5 April in front of a good crowd of 38,617 and it was officiated by Umpire Jeff Crouch (yes - the good old days when we only needed one umpire). Richmond was coached by the legendary Tom Hafey and Fitzroys coach was one of our favourite sons - the great Billy Stephen.

The Richmond side of the day was a formidable line up filled with stars like Bourke, Barrot, Clay, Hart, Sheedy and Bartlett.

A look at the selected teams shows the Roys didnt have a list of superstars like their opposition but in typical fashion we had a team of real goers that were keen to take it right up to their accomplished opponents.

Fitzroy's team featured the ever present Kevin Murray, Norm Brown, Alex Ruscucklic, Barry Padley, John Murphy, David Wall and a young Harvey Merrigan.

The scorecard from the game shows that Richmond looked like they had the measure of Fitzroy until the third quarter when the Royboys piled on 6 goals to 3 to take a handy 16 point lead into the final term.

Fitzroy then kicked 5 goals in the last quarter and ran out 20 point winners against a shocked Richmond team.

FITZROY 3.3.21 5.8.38 11.14.80 16.20.116
RICHMOND 3.4.22 6.7.43 9.10.64 14.12.96

Goalkickers: Wall 4, Thompson 2, Ruscucklic 2, Peoples 2, Murphy 2, Brown, Crow, Lazarus, Newnham.
Best: Murray, Andrews, Merrigan, Murphy, Wall, Zunneberg, Peoples.

Goalkickers: Moore 6, Northey 3, Brown 2, Bowden 2, Bartlett.
Best: Green, Barrot, Bartlett, Bourke, Moore.

Fitzroy team on the day:
Kevin Murray, Mike Andrew, John Murphy, Norm Brown, Russell Crow, Daryl Herrod, Bob Hodgkin, Gary Lazarus, Harvey Merrigan, John Newnham, Barry Padley, Daryl Peoples, Alex Ruscucklic, Paul Shanahan, Graeme Shearer, Bill Sykes, Alan Thompson, David Wall, Peter Wood.

Richmond team on the day:
Bill Barrot, Kevin Bartlett, Colin Beard, Graeme Bond, Francis Bourke, Michael Bowden, Billy Brown, Graham Burgin, Dick Clay, Roger Dean, Mike Green, Royce Hart, Tony Jewell, Eric Moore, John Northey, Barry Richardson, John Ronaldson, Kevin Sheedy, Geoff Strang, Ron Thomas.

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