On Thursday 30 September the Fitzroy Football Club held its first-ever virtual Redlow with Billie Barton and Ted Clayton taking out the top honours for the Fitzroy-ACU Senior Women's Team and Senior Men's Team respectively.
Hosted by Dr Kasey Symons, the online event celebrated all the Club achieved in another challenging year that was impacted by the pandemic. Despite the challenges, Fitzroy had plenty to celebrate both on and off the field and President Joan Eddy shared some of these special achievements with pride.
Our new electronic scoreboard is up and running. Named in honour of club great Bill Atherton, the scoreboard honours our goal of allowing double and triple headers at Brunswick Street Oval and to get more of our teams on the ground, especially our women players. We are delighted to have been able to name the scoreboard after Bill and to know that we’ll be playing under his influence and guiding hands long into the future.
Four out of our seven teams made finals, with the other three doing their best to compete in another COVID-19 interrupted season. Our Men’s Ressies toughed out a crazy year to finish fourth. Our Div 1 Thirds side have made it to finals for four straight seasons (excluding 2020 of course) and our newest team, Thirds Gold (Div 2) finished top of the ladder after only one defeat in the home and away – and that by only one point!
Our Senior Men finished sixth with an incredibly memorable win over St Bedes Mentone in their first game under the BSO lights with THAT goal after the siren. And we had our first-EVER Senior Men’s victory over AJAX at their home ground.
Our Women’s squad played five home games at BSO this season, with the Seniors making finals and playing out a close one in the loss to Beaumaris at their home ground.
Women’s Senior Captain, the amazing Cass Blake, came equal second in the VAFA best and fairest in Premier B.
We played in our first Pride Game, co-hosting this special event with Melbourne University Women’s Football Club with the support from the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation’s Change Our Game initiative. We were proud to be able to donate over $2000 to Queer Space, s great organisation working with LGBTIQIA+ young people in our community.
2021 Redlow award winners
The Fitzroy Football Club congratulates all of the 2021 Redlow winners.
In the Club's first virtual Redlow, the awards were celebrated a little differently, but still with the same pride for our players receiving recognition for all they achieved in 2021.
In another challenging year, our players have shown resilience, leadership and community spirit, representing the Roys with pride and passion.
Congratulations to all our award winners!
Senior Women Elaine Findlay Perpetual Trophy Winner: Billie Barton
Senior Men Greg Roughsedge Perpetual Trophy Winner: Ted Clayton
Reserves Women Janet Graham Perpetual Trophy Winners:
Reserves Men Marc Marsden Perpetual Trophy Winner: James Graham
Reds Foundation Best First Year Player: George Pyers
Thirds Tim Madden Perpetual Trophy Winners:
Thirds Gold Tim Bell Perpetual Trophy Winner: Miles Nelson
Under 19s Stephen Drury Perpetual Trophy Winner: Simon Umbers
2021 nominations for Life Membership
During the formal proceedings at the virtual Redlow, Vice President David Leydon announced the Board’s nominations for Life Membership to the Fitzroy Football Club incorporating the Fitzroy Reds:
Dave Barnes,valued volunteer and long-time goal umpire for the Reserves, and previous Volunteer of the Year
Toby Hudson Bevege, Senior Men’s Premiership Player in 2018.
Loyal long-serving Thirds players Ross Bartel, Raph Lloyd, Bryce McAdam and Nathan White. And, of course, one of this year’s B&F winners, Kai Menzies
Nathan Ligris, Senior Men’s Vice-Captain and Premiership player in 2018
Michael Pickering, former senior coach and current Director
On behalf of the Board, Vice-President Leydon congratulated these magnificent representatives of the Fitzroy Football Club. They will be inducted at the AGM later this year.
Lucky door prizes
Thanks to our partners and sponsors, we had some incredible prizes on offer at the Redlow.
The lucky winners were:
Lucky Prize 1 – Emma Bourke
Lucky Prize 2 – Miles Nelson
Freedom Prize 1 – Rhiannah Sgarbi
Freedom Prize 2 – Patrick McGrath
Freedom Prize 3 – Ross Bartel
We will be in touch soon to get these prizes to you.
The Fitzroy Football Club congratulates Fitzroy-ACU Senior Women's Captain, Cass Blake on finishing equal second in the overall votes for the 2021 VAFA Premier B Women's Best and Fairest count. An outstanding achievement in a great, but challenging season, that saw our Senior Women's team reach finals.
And congratulations to Pasquale Curcio for placing third in the 2021 VAFA Under 19 Division 1 Best and Fairest count - there were joint winners of the division's best and fairest. Well done Pascale!
Gold Thirds season review
By Thirds Gold coach Cameron Ball
If 2020 gave us nothing more, at the very least it gave us time to reflect. For many, the 2021 preseason was a new beginning. A fresh start. A cherished opportunity to pull on the boots, say g'day to some old and new faces, and bask in the rush of kicking the footy around once again.
Around the new year, I came to the realisation that football was something very special to me. Something to help revitalise my sense of self. My memories of my first season at Fitzroy as a player, under the command of Michael Pickering and Bruce Edwards, are some of the fondest of my football journey. The Fitzroy Football Club is a special place. The camaraderie, the support, the history, the good-natured fun and banter. It is something you just have to experience to understand. And it was an experience I longed for again. But I decided my body needed more work to play again, so I thought it best to have a year on the sidelines.
I am a modest kind of guy—most of the time, so I thought a year on the stats board or running some messages would be a nice re-entry. I’d heard good things about Mahns and wanted to get close enough to learn from him. So, I flicked the Pres a message and Joan organised for me to meet with Pickers. To sum up how exited I was, I turned up a day early to the meeting—keen as!
Pickers wasn’t sure whether the numbers rolling in would be young or mature age, but he knew there would be enough for a 7th Senior team. So, he floated the idea that I apply for a head coaching position. I was a bit shocked really. My post-2020 imagination couldn’t quite fathom what a head coaching position would entail. But it didn’t take long for support to come in spades. The willingness of the coaching staff to lend me a hand or an ear throughout the year was encouraging and allowed me to ease into the new role with peace of mind.
The original plan was to field an Under 23s side, however taking stock of the players flooding in during the January and February period saw more players over the age cut-off. In the end the decision was made for us. The Under 23s players would merge with others to create an open age team with a focus on development. To put it simply, the reserves of the Reserves. To develop young players and support those coming back from injury or time away. So the Gold Thirds were born.
The pre-season game against Hawthorn AFC gave the players an opportunity to find their feet and show us what they could do. We played well and came to the realisation that we were probably better suited to a Division 2 Thirds comp, rather than Division 3. This was an important decision. We wanted the boys to have enough of a challenge to develop, but not get thumped each week.
The draw for the start of the season couldn’t have been scripted better for us. We won the first seven games of the season. Amongst those wins we saw our mighty Golds grind out two all-time great wins against the 2nd and 3rd tipped favourites in Williamstown and Old Melbourne. The atmosphere around our team was starting to buzz. On game days we had volunteers aplenty. From players who had missed out or were injured, to girlfriends and family members coming down to help out and cheer on the boys. It was the kind of thing a first year coach can only hope for, but it was a reality. It was all coming together.
By round eight, we couldn’t have been better prepared for the Golds’ first game on Brunswick Street Oval. But it wasn’t to be. We were all plunged into a lockdown none of us saw coming. It was painfully disappointing, but the team were determined to stay positive and not let this derail our season. We rallied around one another to ensure we stayed focused on our goals. We supported each other with fitness programs and anecdotes. The time off also allowed some players who had suffered injuries early in the season to recover, and by the time we were allowed back on the track we had the greatest numbers since the preseason swell. This gave us extra depth to attack the second half of the season.
After having our second games against Old Melbourne and St Bedes Mentone cancelled, we had our sights set on our round 11 clash with Williamstown to act as a yard stick for finals. What an absolute ripper of an affair. If only the VAFA app had a score snake! The lead changed too many times to count. It was a true four-quarter arm wrestle. A mongrel punt from the Williamstown pocket in the dying seconds of the game somehow sailed through, giving them a 1-point victory. Approaching the huddle to address the boys after their first loss was a humbling moment. The boys were already reflecting on the game in a truly positive way, led by comments from the captains, plotting out the bones of our development leading into finals.
The next few rounds saw our group take their belief and professionalism to the next level. The final round of the home and away season, and the lead into what was supposed to be our first week of finals, was electric. We were organised, determined, and had the self-belief to play an amazing finals series. As disappointing as the news was that the season would end up be inevitably cancelled, there was still some satisfaction in knowing that we never faltered as a group. We continued to grow throughout the season. And if we had been given the chance to play finals, I have no doubt we would have come together and given an effort to remember.
I hope that those who were involved in the Golds’ season had a great experience and are inspired to carry the spirit of the season that could have been into 2022 in whatever capacity they wish to do so.
I would like to thank the volunteers, administrators, and coaching group for the warm welcome, support and guidance they provided to me as a first-year coach. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to coaching.
To my lovely partner, and my sister, for taking on the challenge of team manager and other tasks I handballed their way. To those who lent a hand on game day. To our sponsors. To my leadership group and the players for helping me steer the ship. Thank you. Without you, this wouldn’t have been such a glorious and memorable birth to the Fitzroy Golds Thirds.