It has been one hell of a week Fitzroy Family. We know the lockdown extension announcement has left those of us in Melbourne feeling pretty flat. But we hope we can give you some reprieve for a little bit with some great Fitzroy stories.
One wonderful thing that happened this week was the Brisbane Lions connecting with our women's program to give them an exclusive session to pick their brains.
Brisbane Women's CEO Bree Brock, Coach Craig Starcevich, and star player Kate Lutkins joined key figures from Fitzroy's women's programs for an exclusive online information session during the week.
We value our strong relationship with the Brisbane Lions and are very grateful for the opportunities they provide our club.
After the State Government announcement of the lockdown extension in Melbourne until midnight on September 2, the VAFA Board met Monday night and discussed a number of matters in relation to the remainder of the 2021 home and away season and finals series.
In light of the Victorian State Government announcement that Metropolitan Melbourne will extend the current lockdown until 11.59pm on Thursday 2 September, the home and away season for all VAFA competitions has concluded
The VAFA Board will meet again on Monday 30 August to review its position on returning to play and remain totally committed to completing the 2021 VAFA finals series for all sections under the final four (4), three (3) week model (except for Under 19 Division 3 Men’s and Under 19 Division 4 Men’s where a final six (6) applies)
The VAFA Board will consider scheduling finals from Friday 24 September to Sunday 26 September if required to complete the 2021 VAFA finals series
We'll keep you updated as soon as more information comes through regarding finals, which at the moment will include our Men's Reserves, Thirds and Gold Thirds sides.
This news sees our Senior Men and U19s conclude their seasons. We're sorry they had to finish this way and look forward to celebrating all they achieved in a difficult year when it's safe to bring our community together again.
A pair of Jacks
By Guy Gorilla
The season has been a bit of a poker game, but a 'pair of Jacks' in the Men's senior side have provided some interesting contrast. And similarities too.
Jack Dalton is 30, a combative, committed forward/midfielder, with a shiny chrome top. Jack Hart is 21, a creative key position forward with hair to burn. And shape. And growth. Both Jacks are leaders: Hart in the Leadership Group this year, Acting Captain in most games. Dalton leads by words and deeds, an outstanding role model to all those around him. The pivotal team player.
Dalton is a 4th year teacher at Penders Grove in Thornbury, part of a thriving community, well respected by his peers, parents and of course, the kids love him. They frequently stir him about his hair or lack thereof. He laughs along with them. He has a relaxed approach to lockdown, helps his students with independent work, three or more contacts a day with each student. The parents are very supportive.
Daltz has played all his senior football at Fitzroy since Under 19. He has experienced many highlights, but reflects most strongly on the learnings of his early days, where players like Clark and O'Reilly took him under their respective wings. He learnt the Fitzroy social culture very quickly, togetherness being a given.
As the side's 'senior citizen' Daltz has enjoyed the transition into his role as a mentor. Ask any young player, they love him, hang on his every word. While he has found this year disappointing with its interruptions and under achievement, he is hopeful that the groundwork has been set for higher ladder positions in the years to come.
“We have a great age, height and list profile, we should be banging on the door,” says Daltz. “We can’t accept honourable losses as ok.”
Daltz feels a lot for those who live and breathe the club in our current health predicament.
Jack Hart is an apprentice carpenter with club sponsor Dimpat. He loves his work, they are a great team of blokes, supportive of his footy commitments, and an employer of three or four players. Harty is not a book reader or movie goer, except when he is dragged there, loves his surfing and like the elder statesman, has caught the golf bug.
Neither of them will be winning any pro/ams in the immediate future.
Harty started with Fitzroy Juniors at age 9. He played in some losing grand finals, but always kept things in perspective. He cites long-time Fitzroy Junior coach Robby McKenzie as a great influence throughout his footy career. Double Italian was on the timetable in Year 10 Friday mornings, but latte at the local with Robby provided more meaningful insight.
Harty had a couple of years in the Knights system, but injuries, interruptions, selection ruthlessness led to him committing to the Roys seniors in the second half of 2018. He could then get to know everyone, like the more senior Jack, whom he “adores”. (Bit of man-love there.)
Together, they were able to share a premiership.
Dalton's mum Vanessa was Hart's after-school care teacher at Wales Street way back. Daltz' brother Sam took Harty for footy at primary school, so the connection was there well before their time at Brunswick Street.
Hart has learnt a lot from Dalton. “He's inspiring, a teacher, doesn't take himself too seriously, knows when to switch off, everyone listens when he talks.”
Like the Fitzroy elders treated Dalton in his early days, Hart is firmly planted under his wing.
Jack Hart loves the responsibility of leading, and is learning all the time. He has of course found this year frustrating. “Just when we start to go well and get on a roll, something happens, another lockdown,” he says.
“This year is not a true reflection of how good we could be.”
Both Jacks are committed Fitzroy men, both have a clear vision for the club's future, want to be part of it, and want it to succeed however the cards fall.
Having this pair of Jacks is a winning hand.
Survey wrap up and winner!
Thank you to all the players, coaches, members, supporters and stakeholders who took part in the Club's survey.
The strong response means we can now build a wide variety of views into the development of the 2022—2025 Strategic Plan.
And one lucky survey respondent will be able to build up his Club merchandise—congratulations to Gary Chubb!
Fitzroy coaches: the 1960s
By David Leydon
With lockdown number 6 in full swing and no games of footy to talk about, it gives us another chance to look back at some of the Club's rich history.
This week we're starting a series looking back at some of the Fitzroy coaches of the past by checking out the men in charge in the 1960s.
This was a testing period for the Club with lots of heartache. By mid-decade, we started to struggle on field with experienced players retiring and constant team re-builds. That struggle was matched off field when the financial situation of the Club became difficult and the club was forced to move away from its much loved base at Brunswick Street Oval in 1966.
Some of the Club's all-time greats coached the teams through these years, starting the decade with Len Smith who came into 1960 in his third year as Senior Coach.
LEN SMITH Fitzroy Coaching record 1958-1962
Games: 92, Won: 50, Draw 2, Lost: 40, 3 finals.
After an admirable playing career at Northcote in the VFA, Smith moved to the VFL and played 19 games with Melbourne in 1934 and 1935 before crossing to Fitzroy where he stayed until 1945, playing 76 games.
Unfortunately he missed the 1944 Roys Premiership team as he was on active service in World War 2.
Len Smith coached the Fitzroy Under 19s between 1948 and 1957, winning the 1955 Premiership. When the great Billy Stephen stood down as the Club's senior coach at the end of 1957, he took the reins.
He coached Fitzroy from 1958 to 1962 which was a very successful period for the Club, making the finals in ’58 and ’60. In 1960, Smith went within a goal of taking the team to the Grand Final when Collingwood beat the Royboys by 5 points in a thrilling Preliminary Final.
When Fitzroy announced its Team of the Century, Len Smith was named as coach.
ARTHUR EDWARDS Fitzroy Coaching record 1961 Games: 1, Won: 1, Lost: 0.
“Titch” Edwards played 36 games for the Roys in the ‘30s and ‘40s. After coaching New Norfolk in Tasmania in the late 1940s, he came back to Fitzroy as assistant to Len Smith. When Smith was coaching the Victoria State Team in 1961, Edwards took charge for one game which produced a memorable win over arch-rival Carlton.
KEVIN MURRAY Fitzroy Coaching record 1963 - 1964 Games: 34, Won: 0, Lost: 34.
Our greatest ever player had a tough time of it when he became Captain-Coach in 1963. The Club was going through a major transitional re-build after the retirement of some of the great players of the late 50s and early 60s. This, coupled with some early signs of financial stress at the Club, made for some difficult times for the new coach.
In his two seasons at the helm, Kevin Murray unfortunately never coached a Fitzroy win. Thankfully his playing form remained very strong and he won two of his record nine Best and Fairest awards during the hard years he coached.
WALLY CLARK Fitzroy Coaching record 1963 Games: 1, Won: 1, Lost: 0.
Wally Clark was a gutsy, nuggety rover who kicked 120 goals in 105 games for the Club between 1955 and 1962.
With Kevin Murray away playing with the Victorian State Representative team, Wally took over coaching duties for one game in 1963.
This game has gone into football folklore as 'The Miracle Match', with many stories told and even a book written about it. In short, the winless and under-siege Roys were playing at Brunswick Street Oval against the all conquering Geelong team that eventually went on to win the 1963 flag.
No one gave the Roys a chance, but some stirring play inspired by a spine tingling half-time speech from Wally saw the team thrash the Cats in the mud 9-13-67 to 3-13-31. This was the only senior game Wally Clark coached for Fitzroy.
TOMMY WILLIAMS Fitzroy Coaching record 1964 Games: 1, Won: 0, Lost: 1.
Originally hailing from East Brunswick, Tommy Williams played 136 games for Fitzroy between 1928 and 1937 as a tough half back flanker. He played with many of Fitzroy’s greats of that time including Brownlow medal winners Haydn Bunton, Wilfred ‘Chicken’ Smallhorn and Denis ‘Dinny’ Ryan and star full forward Jack Moriarty who, to this day, has still kicked more goals for the club than any other player.
Tommy Williams eventually went on to coach the Fitzroy Under 19s, and in 1964, when Senior Coach Kevin Murray was again off on his usual State Rep duties, Tommy took charge of the side for one game.
BILL STEPHEN Fitzroy Coaching record 1965 – 1970 Games: 115, Won: 29, Lost: 86.
The much-loved Billy Stephen came back for the second of his three stints as coach between 1965 and 1970.
After some very dark years for the Club through the mid-60s, Bill eventually got the team playing better football. There were still some struggles but the Roys eventually moved from what had become a regular bottom of the ladder spot, to the more respectable middle ladder reaches by 1970 when they finished 9th with nine wins.
Bill, over his three terms as coach, always managed to re-build struggling sides and left good legacies for the coaches after him. Players such as John Murphy, Harvey Merrigan, Barry Padley, Alex Ruscuklic and David Wall all got their start in the VFL under Bill’s guidance in this period, and all went on to bigger and better things for Fitzroy in the years that followed.
Next week we’ll look at the coaches of the 1970’s – stay tuned!
Thank you sponsors and partners!
We'd like to sincerely apologise to our sponsors Kieser Fitzroy who we inadvertently spelled incorrectly last week in our sponsor thank you post.
If you tried to contact Kieser, chances are you couldn't get through via email due to the spelling error! Below are the correct details, be sure to reach out to the team for all your physio and strength and conditioning needs!
Kieser Fitzroy: Welcome to a new sponsor of FFC in 2021! Thank you for supporting our Club Kieser! Jess Hiew and her team, including our senior Women’s Vice Captain Alexa Madden, provide integrated physiotherapy and strength and conditioning programs in their clean bright, uncluttered space on Brunswick Street. Thank you also for all the physiotherapy support you have provided our players to get back onto the field as soon as possible! Contact Jess them to find out more about their special deals for the FFC community at email@example.com
Last chance for raffle tickets!
The total ticket allocation for the Toyota Good for Footy raffle is almost sold out! This is your last chance to grab some raffle tickets to support the Roys and have your chance to win!
Tickets are only $5 each, with three brand new Toyotas up for grabs!
The Good For Footy raffle officially closes at 12pm on 10 September, but if the total is reached earlier, which it looks like it will soon, it will be closed off - so what are you waiting for?!