Guy Gorilla gives us his thoughts on the supreme effort of a young senior side who just fell short in the contest with Old Scotch in round 11.
I was dragged into the bowling club before the last game by
two respectable but ‘desperate for a drink’ Dads of 19-year-olds.
They know a Gorilla who can’t say ‘no’. A section of the supporter
group already in there imbibing. Must have been the weather
and the 2s scoreboard. A 130-point defeat was not a good look,
but it was almost a completely fresh team from previous weeks.
The obligatory six changes in the ones. Faubel, Pavlich, Tatchell
on debut, Zahgis, Bushby and Lazzaro in for Brazier at the
Blues, Dalton, Turner, Lambert and Henderson maimed along with
Richardson. Stability would be helpful for the coaching group,
but to quote Alistair Clarkson, ‘another soldier steps up.’
And they did. Lazzaro in exchange for Brazier not a bad compromise;
be lovely to have both.
We kicked the first after Wrecking Ball Laidlaw steadied beautifully
in receipt of the perfect pass from Doc O’Donnell. Our tackling
was on the money early, always a good sign for the attitude
barometer. Ellis resumed his rock-like status down back with
Jacob Long and Martin Deasey in support, reading and rollicking,
reading and rollicking. Byron Bushby was artful, creative,
a name like that, he must be. It was 15-8 their way at the
break, but our effort was solid.
The key message at the huddle was to plant the seed ‘I’m never
out of the play’. There is always something you can do to help
the side-tackle, block, shepherd, bump, contest. Always pressure;
disable their game.
We were playing honest footy, but a costly mistake in defence
led to their third, despite us dominating the opening passages.
Laidlaw prominent. They then kicked a flukey fourth, and the
margin was out to 17. Zorro Zahgis kicked one a after a couple
of previous failed attempts. But the edge in class was taking
over. Harrison Grace, son of one of the blokes who head locked
me into the bowling club earlier, scored from a goal square
free, but it was 49-25 at the main break, a biggish lead in
the conditions. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned the name
of the other side yet. I don’t like them.
Short options are no
good in the wet, we must go longer, otherwise we can’t get
bang for our buck. Deasey was doing an exceptional job in his
dogmatic, no frills manner. Nathan Ligris was providing all
the frills in a performance that combined vigour with poetic
class. But we couldn’t bridge the 3-4 goal gap. Toohey took
a catch from an outside edge, played on from the crease and
goaled. Nathan the Nomad kicked beautifully and truly, and
then bullocking work by Ted Clayton got it to Darcy Lowrie
for his first senior goal, and first overall for the season.
A big, white toothed grin from ‘Sexy Ridge’. You know that
good looking dude on Channel 10 at 4.30? (celebrations of Darcy's goal captured in the pic by Phyllis)
68-44 at the final change, we’re there or thereabouts, rain
clouds looming, the effort gauge was always on high.
‘We are not going away’. Once, twice, three times by Coach
Mahoney. Play surge football, kick long wherever possible,
don’t overuse, surge, surge.
We couldn’t let the other mob score first. Willpower was everywhere,
Jack Hart especially resolute whether in defence or pinch hitting
in the ruck. Zorro had a bounce on the outer flank, picking
out a firm spot on the ground. The Nomad snapped a beautiful
left footer, Toohey won a loose ball, got it to Ted Clayton,
and it was back to 2 goals. We had all the ball, was a turn-up
on offer? Hate to use this kind of language, but it was pissing
down, like seriously. They kicked a couple out of the Khyber
Pass (the oppo’s doctor supporter spelt it for me in the stand).
Nino the Magnificent kicked a ripper in the middle of a maelstrom.
Then he spun out of a pack and got it to Lord Byron for another.
But the siren sounded, it was 82-68 their way.
A sad loss, because our effort was supreme. Can’t fault it.
Our reward was to move out of the bottom two. Let’s keep it
that way. Blacks are gettable next week, let’s get them.
Unders take centre stage tomorrow
With the senior squad and Thirds enjoying a second bye tomorrow, the Under 23s and Under 19s will take centre stage.
It's a great chance to see the Under 23s in action – possibly
featuring a few new faces or those pushing for senior selection
– as they play at 2pm at Ramsden Street. They play host to
The Under 19s (pictured above) will be in action against Old
Trinity at Hudson Oval. OT's are still in the running for finals
so the Roy Boys will need to bring their best game. They also
play at 2pm. Get down and check out some high quality Under
19 football if you can.
All clubs are likely to have extra player options with the
senior men's sides having the extra bye, so the standard is
set to be top class.
All men's teams will be back in action next weekend.
Time to tackle SKOBs
The Roy Girls head out to Righetti Oval tomorrow to take on the SKOB Saints and despite the positions on the ladder, Fitzroy-ACU Captain, Jess Hayes, says the squad is aiming to take some positives out of the season.
The last time the teams met was Round 1, when Fitzroy-ACU
played at Brunswick Street Oval and were run down in the final
quarter. They will be out to even the score tomorrow.
"We see and feel that we are playing good footy, so the morale
is strong, we are playing for each other and looking for the
small positives," Jess said.
Despite facing relegation, the Senior Women are still looking
for the wins and Jess says one of the objectives is to help
shape the finals.
During the bye week, the squad got together for a GALZ night,
reflecting on the good and the not so good of the season and
asked themselves the question, 'what can we do to improve in
"We reflected on the strengths that each individual brings
to the squad and did some team building. We are looking to
the future. There is a lot of love for each other and we also
think the Ressies have a very slim chance of finals, so that's
part of our focus."
Congratulations to Hannah L Martin, who will play her first
game in the seniors tomorrow and Lucy Kerr is back in the side,
which will give Fitzroy-ACU a big boost.
The Fitzroy-ACU Reserves are coming off an outstanding win
in the last round, defeating Kew at Ramsden Street Oval, 5.10.40
to nil. With the benefit of Teresa Zampaglione in the ressies
line up and celebrating the milestone game of Indi Benjamin,
the Ressies turned in an inspired performance and led out hard
from the start of the game, giving Kew no chance to get into
Some credit should go to Assistant Coach, Nathan McLean, who
stepped in while Simon Jackson was overseas, and did an outstanding
job for the last couple of weeks. Jacko is back this week after
having kept a close eye on proceedings from a distance.
Reds Ball–last chance to book
This year's Reds Ball
is all about the battle between good and evil with the theme
Heroes and Villains.
So pick a side and source your costume because there’s no
such thing as being overdressed for a night like this. Players
and friends of Fitzroy are all welcome.
The venue is the fabulous Welcome to Thornbury and
your ticket will be all-inclusive of drinks and finger food.
Cape up and fly on down!
Date: Saturday 20 July
Time: 7pm til midnight
Venue: Welcome to Thornbury, 520 High St, Northcote (train:
Croxton Station or trams along High St)
Tickets: $85 per head.
Click the link for bookings. Bookings must close by Monday 15 July
Nathan part of Big V win
Congratulations to Nathan Jumeau who played
in the VAFA Big V win over Perth Football League
at Fremantle Oval last weekend.
Nathan was Fitzroy's sole representative in
the Big V B-Div 4 team which took the victory
by 31 points.
It's been a big month for Nathan, who also
reached his 100-game milestone with Fitzroy
at Brunswick Street Oval on 22 June against
Captain Jack, will get you high tonight*
The Fitzroy Ressies’ Top Gun sits down for a chat with Guy Gorilla during the bye week and shares some of his aspirations on and off field.
Of course, of course, I now get to interview the 2s captain,
Jack Atkinson. He just happens to be an aerospace engineer.
A lot of blokes are like that at the Roys-educated, refined,
good job, matey, social, aerospace engineers. He's been employed
doing that for over three years, having graduated from RMIT,
where about 300 started out in the course. He's the first aerospace
engineer I've met. I don't know what they do. We're in a quiet
back room at the Northcote Social Club. That's my scene, rather
than my head in the clouds somewhere.
At the age of nine,
Jack moved to the Northern Territory with the family; his Dad
a meteorologist with the RAAF. Initially, he wanted to be a
jet pilot, then decided on the engineering bit. 'It inspired
something in me.' He returned to Melbourne for his secondary
education, excelling at the Fitzroy Feeder that is Northcote
High. He excelled there, using his Reservoir home as the launch
pad for Rocket Man aspirations. Off to uni then, having earned
a reputation for having a 'problem with authority'. An aerospace
engineer with behavioural issues. Bit like Tom Cruise in Top
Gun with Kelly McGillis.
He started sport as a youngster playing soccer – a goalie
– and thought to himself, 'if I am going to be catching balls,
I may as well play footy'. Off to Fitzroy juniors in 2003.
By 2007 he had played in a flag at Colts level with Michael
Pickering as coach, and then another at Under 19s under the
tutelage of Tim Bell.
He reflects on the characteristics that make the club what
it is. 'There's plenty of out-there personalities, it's not
your typical suburban club, left-of-centre personalities. You
don't have to be a tradie.' Nothing wrong with tradies of course;
we have some of them too. We agreed that this was an attraction
for the club – 'it's catalytic' – but that this sometimes makes
it harder to recruit hardnosed footy heads.
Jack has played 150 senior games with Fitzroy, but none in
the 1s. 'I'm still waiting for the call-up.' He has been Reserves
captain for two or three years and recognises the importance
of the role but has received assurances from the coaches that
his cards are not stamped '2s only'.
In 2015, Sam Buckley and Rich Willingham (as joint coaches)
guaranteed him five games in the Ressies, then in 2016 appointed
him captain. He developed confidence in his abilities but had
some hesitation in taking on the important role. 'There was
a sense of honour, a sense of pride, coupled with not wanting
to stuff it up. I have not seen it as a blocker to senior selection
His premiership captaincy
in 2018 was exemplary. 'It was the perfect season, but given
our depth and level of talent, it was captaincy made easy.
The club is so fortunate to have the coaches we have. Bernie
Carter is a gem; you couldn't wish for better. He has a great
relationship with senior coach Mahoney but understands how
to assess and advise on the individual needs of the players
in his group.'
Jack has continued to lead from the front in 2019, especially
after the difficult start to the year. He is rapt that the
club has so much young talent to develop. The fight to stay
in Premier B is so important, because it will stand as evidence
and enticement to others to be part of the club. It is the
lure. 'The development will come with some losses, but we'll
be refreshed in 2020 with enhanced development and recruitment.'
On a personal level, work is great, he flies high, taking
on more responsibility, managing projects and people. A key
personality trait. Football meets work meets life. He has just
finished renovating a house after three years, moving from
having little spare time to now looking for something to do.
'I still want to play ones and will do whatever I can to achieve
that aim. I'll be around again next year.'
A born leader, refined personality, Fitzroy person, 'looking
for something to do'. Captain Jack, you'll take us high tonight.
(*Billy Joel, if you’re interested).
Get set for a makeover with new Fitzroy supporter gear
New Fitzroy supporter gear is set to hit the market in the
next few weeks.
With the popularity
of the new player hoodies, the club's Director Member and Sponsor
Relations, David Leydon, has been working overtime to bring
Fitzroy fans some new options to wear on the sidelines.
The following options will be available:
adult hoodie (pictured): $60 + postage and handling
children's hoodie: $50 + postage and handling
polo: $45 + postage and handling
long sleeve t-shirt (pictured): $40 + postage and handling
jacket: $90 + postage and handling
David will have samples
at the Men's senior game next weekend and the gear will go
on sale at Brunswick Street from Saturday 27 July.
Postage and handling will apply to online orders only, so
buying at the ground will be the best option.
Keep a look out in the Red Roy, social media and the website,
as the orders are likely to come online before then.
Player wellbeing program takes shape
Behind the scenes at the Fitzroy Footy Club, Director Player
Wellbeing, Michael Pickering, and a group of current and former
players have been utilising the club's networks and putting
in place the structure for a strong player wellbeing program.
Based on the findings of a player survey earlier this year,
the club is working on offering players support with their
careers and education, personal development and mental health.
Whilst the work is still in its early stages, there have been
some great activities running during the season.
a mental health session with former Carlton player, Ken
mindfulness sessions with Helen Manoli
a financial management session run by current players with
qualifications in financial management, Matty Kyroussis
and Will Pickering.
Our sponsors are also getting on board. This week players have
been hearing from Nicole Manley at Jellis Craig and the team
at the Clifton Hill/North Fitzroy Community Bank Branch, along
with current player Liz Olney, about buying and renting property.
We will be bringing you more details as the program progresses,
but in the meantime, if you have questions or would like to
get involved, please contact Michael Pickering.
All-star line up for literary lunch - tickets selling fast
You’d be hard pressed
to find a stronger guest speaker line up than what we’ve got
planned on Saturday 27 July.
There are still a few seats left so get in quickly. Bookings close Monday 22 July.
FFC footy mum, historian and award-winning author, Dr Clare
Wright, will host “The Football Solution” and she has put together
a panel of three of Melbourne’s most distinguished thinkers
and writers to discuss the sex, politics and religion of Aussie
This is also the Jellis Craig Game, which
has a tradition of being a sell-out and coincides with the
grand final replay against Old Geelong. The Fitzroy teams will
have a point to prove on the field and off the field many points
will already have been shared before the siren sounds, with
this top-class panel of minds. Bookings are now open
to get your seat and share a few stories over lunch with:
George Megalogenis – journalist, author and one of Australia’s most respected
political commentators. His book The Australian Moment won
the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction and
the 2012 Walkley Award for Non-fiction, and formed the basis
for the ABC documentary series Making Australia Great.
His most recent book is The Football Solution: How Richmond’s Premiership Can Save Australia.
Christos Tsiolkas is an award-winning novelist, playwright, essayist and poet.
Two of his best-selling books, The Slap and Barracuda,
have been adapted into ABC television drama series. Christos
has a longstanding interest in the convergence of sport and
literature. He barracks for Richmond.
Dr Chris McConville is
an historian, Victoria University academic and former member
of the Coodabeen Champions. His fields of expertise include
urban history, sports history and the history of gambling in
Australia. Chris is a Fitzroy local and an often be found
lurking in the BSO Grandstand of a Saturday arvo. He also barracks
Dr Clare Wright is an historian, author and
broadcaster. Her books include The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka and You Daughters of Freedom, the first two instalments
of her Democracy Trilogy. She is the host of ABC Radio National’s
history series/podcast, Shooting the Past. Clare is an
Associate Professor of History at La Trobe University and the
mother of Bernie, Noah and Esther Wright. She barracks
for whoever her kids are playing for. Go Roys!
(Photo of Clare Wright by Susan Papazian and Christos Tsiolkas by John Tsiavis)
Saturday 27 July Brunswick Street Oval community rooms 12pm
Major Raffle – buy early, buy often!
Fitzroy's annual raffle is even better in 2019.
The raffle winner will take out the best footy prize going
around: tickets for two to every game in the 2019 Toyota AFL
Finals Series (including the Grand Final), again generously
donated by the Brisbane Lions (GFAFL19/49).
Second prize, kindly donated by David Leydon, is a framed
Fitzroy Team of the Century guernsey featuring Roy legends
including Hadyn Bunton, Mick Conlan, Bernie Quinlan, Paul Roos,
Allan Ruthven and Garry Wilson, and beautifully autographed
by the great Kevin Murray.
And this season Student Flights Melbourne have come on board
to offer a $500 travel voucher.
Tickets are only $5 each. You can purchase them at home games,
from any of our players, from the Directors of the club and
if you can sell tickets, please contact Helen Manoli, who can
provide you with books of 10. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This weekend's games
SKOB Saints v Fitzroy-ACU Reserve Women –
VAFA Premier Reserve Women’s – Righetti Oval, Kooyong,
12pm, Saturday 13 July
Old Trinity v Fitzroy Under 19s – Holmesglen
U19 Division 1 – Hudson Oval, 2pm, Saturday 13 July
Fitzroy Under 23s v Whitefriars – VAFA
Under 23s – Ramsden Street Oval, 2pm, Saturday 13 July
SKOB Saints v Fitzroy-ACU Senior Women – VAFA Premier Women’s – Righetti Oval, Kooyong 2pm,
Saturday 13 July