Roys in lockdown – let's look back to better times!
As we spend more time in lockdown, we're bringing you some bonus Roys goodness to lift your spirits and remind you that the Roys community is always connected.
We're looking back to the last round before the VAFA bye as Guy Gorilla takes us throughout thrilling Reserves and Senior Men's victories over Ajax, the first for the Roys at Gary Smorgon Oval.
And David Leydon looks back through the history books and reflects on the five-year anniversary of an iconic win for our Fitzroy-ACU Women's Team.
Happy reading Roys family!
Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you back at the footy soon.
A RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE
Photo: Wayne Ludbey
By Guy Gorilla
Back in the 70s, when I was a younger, fitter and more talented Gorilla, I played footy in the Amo’s for Elsternwick. One of the oldest clubs in the VAFA. We reserved our fiercest contests for games against Ajax, and, unfortunately, that rivalry was built on racial, religious and cultural grounds. I was reminded of this when I entered Gary Smorgan Oval, thankfully that sort of bitterness is no longer acceptable. That said, I'm informed that clashes between Fitzroy and Ajax still have a history of heat.
The Ressies marched to a 5-goal win in a committed, even performance. Weather conditions were not ideal, a strong wind favouring the St Kilda end, and a potential dead pocket on Canterbury Road. Bitter and bleak, but a happy crowd, looking forward to the game. Dalton, Hudson-Bevege and Symons were important, more mobile inclusions for the Roys.
We kicked with the wind, but spent most of the first quarter trapped in that dead pocket. Our competitive intent was obvious, and Darcy Bennett dominated the taps. Conversion was the issue, we had 15 minutes of constant attack for little reward. Wrecking Ball Laidlaw was pack busting as per normal, and kicked a goal. Nathan Ligris and Max Ellis were stellar defenders, as was the entire backline. But an 8–1 score line at the siren asked more questions than it provided answers.
Coach Mahoney was positive at the huddle, and didn't want us to go into a defensive mindset. My thinking was that we had to find a way to capitalise on Bennett's dominance. It came, in tandem with fellow ruck Jack McKay. Rory Patterson won a clearance and cleverly passed to the dangerous full forward Lachy Harris for a goal. He provides a mature target. Defence was stout, and Big Bill Clayton made the footy resemble a peanut when he marked regularly on his chest. Brother Ted was in every pack, and Will Symons was showing dash on the flanks. He snapped brilliantly at the 27-minute mark. Harrison Grace was demonstrating great familiarity with the southern suburbs, and Nino Lazzaro was a constant threat all over the ground. 21–8 at half time, not a great margin, but the scene was set.
The third was total dominance. Ajax were locked in their backline for the majority of the quarter with The Wrecking Ball, Max Davey and Toby H-B the pack crashers. Harris kicked a couple before pinging a high hammy, Grace and Lazzaro belted through long ones, and Jack McKay goaled beautifully from a forward pocket throw in. All the while, Bennett just continued to dominate, providing balls galore to our mids. Ajax kicked their only goal for the quarter at the 30-minute mark. 57–14 at the final change.
The last quarter provided no great highlights, captain Jack Hart snapped a ripper, Nino snuck one through, and despite our ball dominance, Ajax was able to kick some late consolation goals. A four-goal win, we'll take that. Pretty even performance commented the coach in the sheds after the game. Sausages and party pies served by the Wrecking Ball as the boys savoured the win with some supporters present. Novel that.
We now have a two-week break for reasons best known to the deal makers, on the back of the 2-week COVID break just a few weeks ago. I will avoid political commentary, but you can read a gorilla's mind. Our challenge now is to knock over a top-four side, and De La Salle is our target. With the mindset we took to Ajax, I'm confident.
Let's run through the jungle. Don't look back.
Cailean Moore celebrates 200 career VAFA games. Photo: Wayne Ludbey
5 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: LIZ OLNEY YOU CHAMPION
Photo: Peter Harrison
By David Leydon
A look through the Roys history book takes us back to July of 2016, when the mighty Roy Girls journeyed over to the iconic Victoria Park in Collingwood for their Round 11 match against Melbourne University.
The game was played on a Friday night under lights at the famous ground. The first quarter was a dour affair, with the Roys gaining a 12 point quarter time lead. All hell broke loose in the second quarter when the Roy Girls started running riot around goals to go into half time with a commanding 39 point lead.
It got even worse for the Muggars in the third quarter when the Roy Girls kicked a further five goals to none to hold an unassailable three-quarter time lead of 72 points.
Often in these situations, a team can rest on their laurels and take their foot off the accelerator. Not this mighty team on this day though.
A further four goals to none in the last quarter saw the final winning margin blow out to a staggering 99 points!
This was a very exciting period in the early development of our team. It was only their second season together and, after a couple of early season losses in 2016, they had already beaten the Muggars by 104 points in May to begin an exciting winning streak. By this return game in July, they were on an unstoppable march towards their famous first finals appearances later in the season.
There were a number of stars in this game but the great Liz Olney turned it on in front of goals to finish with seven for the match.
Liz has gone on to become the Club's all-time leading goal kicker in a stellar career for the Fitzroy-ACU Women's team. Ash Riddell was also very prominent with six goals. But there were good players all over the ground including the magnificent Roy Girls defensive unit who kept the Muggars scoreless after the first quarter.
The Roys team in 2016 featured a number of players who are still running around in 2021 and proudly representing our club including Lauren Atkinson, Sarah Lynas, Alexa Madden, Gemma Minuz, Luci Murphy, Tash Ross-Harris and Mia Sutherland.
Match details: FITZROY-ACU 3.1.19 7.4.46 12.7.79 16.10.106 MELB. UNI 1.1.7 1.1.7 1.1.7 1.1.7
E. Olney 7, A. Riddell 6, A. Monacella, A. Batterton, M. Arthur
A.Riddell, C.Atkinson, M.Arthur , A.Monacella, A.Madden, G.Minuz, E.Olney
Support the Roys while we can't take the field
Show your support for the Roys while we're at home to stay safe - buy some raffle tickets!
All ticket sales help us a lot this year as we continue to work hard to maintain our financial position during the disrupted season.
Tickets are only $5 each, with three brand new Toyotas up for grabs!
If we all pitch in and buy a few tickets each, we’ll move up the leaderboard and raise the funds we desperately need to get our players out on the park each season.
The Good For Footy raffle officially closes at 12pm on 10 September, but if the total is reached earlier, it will be closed off before that. So time is of the essence!