The start of the 2022 season for the Senior Men’s team has been quite promising. We’ve had some really great moments with some long-time servants celebrating 150 and 200 game milestones as well our great wins on ANZAC Day and out at St. Bedes. This has been our best start to a year in B Grade since I’ve been at the club which has us feeling optimistic because we know we still have so much more growth to come.
Preparation began in November just as lockdowns finished and as vaccination numbers rose. We had a large number of boys who were committed to getting stuck into pre-season as soon as we could. We consistently had high numbers coming to training and as a group, we really put in the hard work which resulted in lots of players smashing their PBs in the time trials. We also had some hard fought-hit outs in some of the practice games which gave us momentum going into the start of the season.
We fought gallantly against Beaumauris in Round 1, going down by just 5 points. We kept ourselves within arms reach all game and absolutely stormed home in the last quarter, but unfortunately just fell short.
The following week we played Ajax who always dish out a tough contest. Unfortunately our inaccuracy in front of goal cost us dearly and we ended up losing. We came away from those games knowing that we were still far from our best.
It was a privilege for us to play on ANZAC Day, on our beautiful Brunswick Street Oval with the sun shining and being able to pay our respects to those who fought and represented us at war. We led all day and our fast ball movement gave us our first win for the year. It was also special to celebrate five of the new players’ first win in the Senior team.
Following the bye, we played at home and the game was preceded by unveiling of the Kevin Murray Stand with many of the club’s past players attendance. This was a very special moment in time. We played the powerhouse Uni Blacks—a well drilled and polished football team. Although we ended up with some high numbers on the stat sheet, we were outdone by an older more mature side. We came away from that game with a very positive mindset knowing that we can match it with the best.
The following two weeks we celebrated Ross Borland and Max Ellis’ 200th games. We got our 'BAGSA' (beat a good side away) in a proper four-quarter game where the milestone man starred for us. Back at home in Round 7 against Carey, we put them to the sword. Although we didn’t play our best we still came away 82 point winners. Max also starred on this day and snuck up forward to kick two goals in two minutes to cap off a best on ground performance.
At this point in the competition, we’ve balanced our win/loss ratio, have seen some of our young stars play and blow our expectations out of the water, and have been able to celebrate come club greats. We know we’ve got much more to improve on and to grow as a group.
I’m proud of our efforts so far and I know big things are coming if we continue to put in the work.
Brunswick Street redevelopment
Image: Phyllis Quealy
All systems go!
Just over four years ago, on Wednesday 11 April 2018, a group of volunteers gathered around a table at the Royal Derby Hotel to share a few beers and a seemingly ridiculous pipedream.
From this inauspicious beginning the Edinburgh Gardens Sporting Community was established and together the Fitzroy Football Club, the Edinburgh Cricket Club, the Fitzroy Junior Football Club and the Fitzroy Tennis Club set out to realise what then seemed a mountain just too high: the redevelopment of the sporting facilities at the Edinburgh Gardens.
So last Tuesday, after four long years of hard and relentless work and not a few setbacks, the City of Yarra Council meeting approved the most recent design for the redevelopment of the Edinburgh Gardens. And planning can now proceed in earnest, with the sod due to be turned early in 2023.
With its unanimous decision, Council agreed that this sensitive redevelopment – which received an astounding 70+% approval from the community consultation process – will significantly enhance the ability of the EGSC sporting clubs to offer and extend our programs to players, members and supporters and in so doing, continue to make their vital contribution to the health and wellbeing of the whole Yarra community.
Now recognised and respected across all levels of the local political spectrum, the work of the EGSC – in cooperation with Councillors, Council officers and the State Government – provides an exemplary case study of what volunteers can to in a spirit of cooperation to realise long-needed community facilities.
They reckon a change is as good as a holiday. We weren’t expecting a holiday in Caulfield against Old Haileybury, one of the ladder leaders who were on the back of three straight losses. And Fitzroy had ‘change’ again, our second straight set of 6 compulsories. Harris, Megennis, Minahan, Moore, O’Donnell and Staples came in for Kyroussis, Ligris, McKay, Mitchell, Ramshaw and Seakins. Clearly, not ideal, it’s simply not possible to continue to have such alterations to structure without the end result being affected.
The Two’s fought and fought to eventually claim a narrow victory, remembering of course that they were as badly impacted by unavailability as the Seniors. Marcel Laidlaw was outstanding in the win. I enjoyed my coffee and $17 sandwich (aka a Reuben) from the local cafe (there goes the pension) watching the boys slug it out. I savoured the free Haileybury snacks after the game. Just like a good old person.
It was a goal apiece at 10 minutes after Hart marked strongly. A strong man-on-man physical contest. Bill Clayton was rucking well in Jack McKay’s absence. But they were rebounding strongly and easily out of our forward line, switching the play, controlling possessions into their front half. It was 27–8 at the first break, a worry.
The second stanza added to our collective woe. We appeared hesitant at times, not a Roy’s trait. Our clearance work was poor, At one point I stopped scribbling notes, fearful that I might become too negative. It was 8 goals to 1 at this juncture. Hart then found Harris for a goal, and youngster Staples got it to Bill Clayton for another.
62–23 at the half, and a ‘reality and perspective’ mindset sunk in while I passed on the afternoon tea in the social rooms.
I didn’t enter the change rooms, but I did hear a raised voice or two, understandable under the circumstances. I was looking for players who were winning their positions, or at least breaking even. Lowrie was performing a terrific blanketing job at full back, Big Bill solid in the ruck, Hart presenting up forward, Wotherspoon toiling like a traditional rover should, and Toohey getting plenty of the ball. Generally, the opposition were so much cleaner. It was 96–30 at the final change. The best I can say is that we were still fighting.
Coach Mahoney called for clear ‘measurables’ at the huddle. Pride, contest, win the quarter, work at stoppages, look after the ball, take care of the footy. In the main, we met those criteria in the last, and won the quarter. Wotherspoon continued to put his head over the ball, and we kept on keeping on. It was 117–61 at the final foghorn. Could have been a lot worse to be honest.
Reality and perspective are often hard to quantify, but it’s something we always try to teach our kids. Last Saturday, we were certainly up against it from the outset, and maybe we got what was coming.
The skill, the challenge, is to face that reality, turn it around, and legitimately confront De La Salle next Saturday at BSO.