On the eve of landmark games for two of our most important senior players, Red Roy checked in with Matt Kyroussis and Nathan Jumeau to find out what makes Fitzroy so special to them. To complete the circle, we asked coach Luke Mahoney what makes them so special to Fitzroy.
On Saturday, Matty Kyroussis will play his 150th VAFA game,
while for Nathan Jumeau, it’ll be his 100th for Fitzroy. For
these accomplished senior players, Fitzroy has been an irresistible
magnet through their long careers in community football.
Both have toyed with other teams, but both have seen the light
and come home to roost.
As team mates, Matt and Nath go way back. So it’s not surprising
that their responses to Red Roy’s questions largely align.
For Nathan (pictured left, during the 2018 Premier C grand final),
the reasons he cites for coming back to Fitzroy are multi-faceted:
the culture, the history, the supporters, the jumper and the
famous old home ground itself. Matty echoes the sentiment,
with an emphasis on the culture of the playing group.
“All the players are very competitive on the field,” says
Matt, “and very sociable off it.”
For a favourite memory Matt and Nathan both nominate – not
the 2018 grand final – but the brilliant heart-stopping game
against ladder leaders Williamstown that got them there. “To
have such a big loud crowd at the game and to see the faces
of supporters after the final is something I'll never forget,”
Matt says. Nathan reckons it’s “probably the best memory I’ll
have from my days playing with the Roys.”
After playing so many games together over so many years, Nathan
credits team mate Julian Turner as the player he’s most respected
and appreciated along the way.
“I joined the club to play football with Jules back in under
15s,” says Nathan, “and to go on to win two premierships together,
especially last year with him as my captain, is something pretty
There are two players
who come to mind for Matt. “Max Ellis has been selfless and
consistent in every game he’s played and Dr Tom O’Donnell is
another who has a red-hot crack every week and has developed
into a great leader at the club.”
With so many senior players retiring at the end of the 2018
season, it’s not surprising that players like Matt K and Nathan
J rate high in coach Luke Mahoney’s estimation.
“It’s really important at the moment that we have Matty's
experience around the club,” he says. “He knows the game really
well and passes that on to our young forwards and onballers.
“Matt has a great passion for Fitzroy and wants the club to
succeed. On the field he never wastes a possession and things
usually happen when has the ball in his hands.”
As for Nathan, Luke says that over the past two years he’s
become a very important player, one who also understands the
game and helps the other forwards on game day and at training
with their running patterns and positioning.
“Nathan has stepped into a leadership role this year, and
is a key driver of social events for the players.”
This leadership ability has been honed in past seasons with
Nathan’s generous involvement with the women’s squads, something
he’s both enjoyed and appreciated.
“Having women’s teams has changed the club for the better,”
says Nathan. “I’ve really enjoyed the taste of coaching I’ve
received, and even though we didn’t win, coaching one of the
senior women’s games against Marcellin was pretty memorable,
and probably the most nervous experience I've had.”
Before handing over to Luke for the last word, Nathan and
Matt both asked to acknowledge club supporters.
“I have to thank Wendy, Janet and Suzanne for their sponsorship
over last few years,” says Nathan. “It means a lot to have
people like this at a footy club. It’s what makes Fitzroy such
a welcome and open club to anyone and everyone.”
Matt’s recognition extends to the whole club. “I’d like to
thank all the players, coaches, volunteers and supporters for
making Fitzroy the great community club it is,” he says.
So as we said, the coach gets the last word…
“Both Matt and Nath are stand-out Fitzroy people who should
be very proud of what they have achieved and have had a big
impact on where the club is and the direction it’s heading.”
Pictures above by Phyllis Quealy and see if you can spot any of the Fitzroy senior boys in the 2006 Under 15 team shot below.
Thirds face Caufield in top-of-the table clash
Some would call the Fitzroy Thirds the quiet achievers this
season. Steadily going about their business week in, week out
with the fire in their bellies that comes from going oh so
close to a grand final berth last year.
Tomorrow morning they will get a sense of just where they
sit when they play host to top side, the undefeated Caufield
Grammarians at Ramsden Street Oval.
Caufield has been the front-runner in the Thirds Division
1 comp but only one side has come close... Fitzroy in Round
4, when the final margin at Glenhuntly Oval was 16 points.
Fitzroy is coming off two very big wins against bottom sides
Beaumaris and Old Trinity, so the timing is right for a tilt
at a share of top spot.
Captain Tim De Natris kicked another five goals last week
and leads the goal kicking for the division, with Simon Heather
chasing him in third spot.
Best of luck tomorrow boys. Go Roys.
Westies make history under BSO lights
The crowd was in, the lights were
on, the cameras and livestream were rolling. It was a beautiful
moment as the VAFA Premier Women made history on Friday night
playing the first senior game under lights at Brunswick Street
The junior girls had paved the way and now it was time for
Fitzroy-ACU to take centre stage.
The West Brunswick Women have been making a name for themselves
since stepping into the top comp this season, but the Roy Girls
were ready to roll. We wanted this win.
For so much of the game it looked like we were going to get
it. Having led all night, the Fitzroy-ACU side held the break
at three quarter time; 2.5.17 to 1.4.10. And perhaps they hadn't
achieved quite enough reward for their efforts in tricky, slippery
What happened next was something which has become somewhat
of a pattern in recent rounds, with the Roy Girls overrun in
the final quarter. West Brunswick came home strongly and scored
more in the final quarter than for the three before that, to
take the lead and the win, cementing second position on the
Premier Women's ladder.
And in the end it was a thrilling finish, just not quite the
one we had been working for.
And there were injuries. Tash Ross Harris and Hillary Collett
are out this week. Best of luck to Rachael Telfer, who broke
her leg during the game and had surgery during the week.
Thank you to West Brunswick for being part of our historic
night and congratulations for making it your own. We're looking
forward to more local derbies in future years.
Tomorrow is another day and we travel to St Mary's Salesian
for another tough challenge and the opportunity to start fighting
our way out of the relegation zone.
Very best of luck to Nathan McLean, who will coach the Fitzroy-ACU
Reserves tomorrow, as Simon Jackson takes a quick trip overseas.
Photos by Phyllis Quealy.
Too many gifts, not enough thought
As I strolled into
Princes Park Caulfield, I noticed a bloke of similar vintage
running around in the opposition’s 2s. Well, maybe a touch
younger, bit better nick. Barking instructions, kicking long
from defence. The Roy Ressies were on the money again however
(woops, forgot it's the Amos), and despite being challenged
in the third, went on to win by 12 goals. Wouldn't find a better
2s coach than Bernie Carter (pictured above in a recent game).
Can we get a finals spot?
As for the 1s, Lambert, Dalton and Toohey returned, all senior
flag winners in 2018 along with Lachie Henderson. Pavlich unavailable
debating the wonders of the modern world, Faubel to the 19s
and Wright to the 2s and, unfortunately for us, Nino Lazzaro
a late call up to the Bombers. Kicked a couple I noticed and
featured in the best. Would have made a world of difference
to us I reckon. This was an 8-point game, a must.
The skipper kicked the first after fierce offensive pressure,
and then Dalts kicked our second. We were on. Luke Baker then
snapped a third, and it was clear our manic attack was worrying
their defence. This is how we have to play. Turner then kicked
another after a beautiful mark. We were doing all the heavy
lifting, no weak links, as my mate Stuey sitting next to me
on the park bench remarked, with everyone doing their bit.
Our defence had been fantastic, Nathan Ligris a standout. Caring
for a partner's broken leg all night will do that. 27-4 at
the break, could have been more.
Coach Mahoney implored the players not to revert from their
efforts – super forward pressure, one up in the contest, aggressive
Nathan the Nomad kicked his standard check-side goal after
great run and carry from defence. They kicked their first at
the 9-minute mark, and we were letting them hit up a bit. Ellis,
O’Donnell and Toohey were starting to find the ball in defence.
However, a critical error in the back half led to a goal, then
a moment best forgotten led to another – a gift. They pulled
to within five points when no one contested a bounce 15 metres
out. Aiden Lambert put on the after burners, got it to Ted
Clayton, who snapped a sausage. Truth be known, an 11-point
break should have been more, but for our own ill-discipline.
The zing button was not
turned on at the start of the third. They got the opener; we
were lacklustre, and our bench rotations were severely limited
by injury. Our big man stocks were especially depleted, with
Baker off for the game, and Bill Clayton carrying an injury.
It was quiet on and off the field. They hit the front for the
first time at the 17-minute mark and were on a roll. Leadership
was required, but no one flew the flag and they skipped away.
It had been 10 goals to one since quarter time. We had no bench
to speak of. 68-47 their way.
The question was asked at the final huddle, “Do you actually
want to win? Don't just hang on, take them on, don't play their
game”. We had to stop conceding soft goals, that is a slight
on team character.
It was hard to write about the last, other than to say we
mixed persistence and endeavour with thoughtless acts; that
doesn't give you a chance of winning when you're behind. It
was 89-68 at the end, subtract the gifts, apply ourselves consistently,
bit more luck with injuries, which can't be purchased, and
I reckon we win.
As I left the social rooms after the event, in a depressed
state of mind, that old bloke from the 2s was telling us about
his 400 games in a Haileybury jumper. Didn’t help salve my
wounds. Not my scene.
Seek atonement for past deeds against Monash on our deck on
Ressies on a (muddy) roll
The mudbath of Princess Park Caufield didn't
cause any concern for the Fitzroy Reserve Men,
who continued their mid-season resurgence with
another strong win on Saturday.
Winless after five rounds, Fitzroy has moved
into equal fifth spot with its fourth victory
on the trot against Old Haileybury. The final
score was 18.15.123 to 8.4.52.
The mud-covered Mike Humphrey was best on
ground and another man sporting a very big
grin, was full forward Will Pickering, who
kicked six goals.
Unders finish all over Beaumaris
If there was one very happy team strolling off the park after
last weekend's footy, it was the Fitzoy Under 19s who turned
it on for a big win over bottom side Beaumaris.
After three tough weeks facing off against the top three sides,
the Roy Boys relished an opporutnity to play their attacking
brand of footy at home at Ramsden Street.
The final score was 18.13.121 to 6.6.42, with the goals shared
around and Max Ellis (the junior) named best on ground.
On the back of a solid body of work, captain Darcy Lowrie
has earned himself a call up to the senior side for the all-important
clash with Monash Blues tomorrow. Best of luck Darcy.
The Under 19s are away tomorrow against Uni Blacks at Crawford
The Under 23s went down last week to top side, Old Xaverians
and face another stiff challenge in the morning, with a game
against second side, St Kevin's. It's been great to see the
team improving each week and with recent wins, moving steadily
up the ladder.
Under 19 photos by Peter Harrison.
Mining the mind of Mia Sutherland
I wandered down to Collingwood Children’s Farm hoping to catch
up with a few long-lost relatives. No Gorilla enclosure there,
however. It’s a beautiful spot, next to the Convent, peaceful,
restful, inner city but reminiscent of another time and place.
Go there when the working day is a bit much.
Mia Sutherland is a 25-year-old
employee at the farm, has worked there in paid employment for
eight years, but has been a volunteer since she was eight.
A Batchelor in Science majoring in Ecology at Melbourne Uni,
our only ‘real’ learning institution. Back in the day, she
lived just up the road with her Mum and Dad and elder brother.
They all thought the farm was a good thing to try, she loved
it then, loves it now. She is still glued to the place, her
parents having moved out to other climes. Mia now lives in
a share house close by with her brother and a Fitzroy teammate.
As it turns out, Mia is flat out with work, footy and knitting
– there you go, knitting. She is captain of the Women’s 2s
side, trains three times a week to improve skills and strength
(the extra session is an optional gym one), plays her heart
out for the club on the weekend, and knits those famous Fitzroy
Let’s deal with them
first. Mia learnt how to knit at primary school. She had been
at Fitzroy for a couple of years, was out with a long-term
injury, and was bored out of her brain. Knitting was the elixir,
Fitzroy beanies and other goods. No doubt you’ve seen them
on the heads of players, volunteers and at the memorabilia
table below the Grandstand.
Mia enlisted the help of her grandmothers, both keen knitters.
They’re not particularly avid football followers, a bit scared
of seeing their rough and tumble granddaughter smashed in the
contest. Simple formula – the club provides the wool, they
knit it up. There are categories of player beanies: volunteer
beanies, commercial beanies, and special ones often given to
guests. My baby gorilla couldn’t wait to get his when he broke
into the seniors last year. These beanies are a status symbol,
a club identifier, a badge of honour and pride, a ‘bean beanie’.
Let yourself go.*
Mia has been mad about football since she was 10, even though
there was no organised competition for girls. She later played
cricket down at Edinburgh, and one of her teammates invited
her down for footy. The lure of travelling the continent interrupted
however. The first thing she did when she arrived home was
to roll up for pre-season. Initially, she felt so unfit, but
gradually developed a feel for it. She was slotted into the
back pocket, which she had mixed feelings about. While she
wanted the ball in her area so that she could attack it, it
was better up the other end because we would score. Elementary!
It hasn’t been all
beer and skittles. In 2017, Mia injured her ACL, played on,
but eventually tore it, requiring a reco. She missed the rest
of that season. In 2018 she trained while still in rehab, in
fact never missed one session. Her goal was to play just two
games in 2018 when she got the all clear. The psychological
hurdle – she did. She had a solid pre-season this year, has
been rewarded with the captaincy, a sure sign of respect. Mia
now plays midfield/forward, is having such a great time with
a really close group of girls. There’s been a great deal of
personnel change, but she loves “getting around the new girls.
It’s an easy place to fit in. Everyone contributes a little.”
Currently, the 2s are knocking on the door of the Four.
Mia has ambitions of getting through the season, of moving
forward as a team, of watching the new girls develop, and thinks
it would be “awesome to play finals. Longer term, finals are
what it’s about.”
Life outside the club still involves work, knitting and maybe
some more travel. Mia is still wandering, wondering. She is
looking forward to how we progress as a club with women’s footy.
“There’s been such a huge rate of change and development –
we must progress, excel, not just cope.”
Fine words Mia, you’re a star!
* just a special mention to Louise Maniatakis for the unique player beanies and our other knitters around the club too! Thanks to all of you.
All-star line up for literary lunch
You’d be hard pressed
to find a stronger guest speaker line up than what we’ve got
planned on Saturday 27 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
Mystery Games Night
You won't want to miss Fitzroy’s traditional Mystery Games
Night in the Community Rooms at BSO from 7pm tomorrow night.
It’s a night of fun and games run by the players but we can’t
give too much away. You're invited to join the extravaganza
and $50 will buy you a ticket in the BIG game.
You can purchase tickets online. Your ticket price will include
the games, your first three drinks, finger food, tea and
coffee and music. Beer, wine and soft drinks will be at
our usual bar prices.
This is a great night for close friends of the Fitzroy family,
so get your ticket and join us. There are some big prizes
to be won. Book now!
Saturday 22 June 7pm
Major Raffle – buy early, buy often!
Fitzroy's annual raffle is even better in 2019.
The 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 email@example.com
Get your cakes in the oven!
Fitzroy will host its annual afternoon tea at half time in
the game against Old Scotch on Saturday 29 June.
This weekend's games
St Kevin's Old Boys v Fitzroy Under 23s –
VAFA Under 23s – TH King Oval, 9.20am, Saturday 22
Fitzroy Thirds v Caufield Grammarians–
VAFA Thirds Division 1 – Ramsden Street Oval, 11.40am,
Saturday 22 June
University Blacks v Fitzroy Under 19s – Holmesglen U19 Division 1 – Crawford Oval, 11.40am,
Saturday 22 June
Fitzroy Reserve Men v Monash Blues – VAFA
Premier B Reserves – Brunswick Street Oval, 11.40am,
Saturday 22 June
St Mary's Salesian v Fitzroy-ACU Reserve Women –
VAFA Premier Reserve Women’s – Ferndale Park, 12.00pm,
Saturday 22 June
St Mary's Salesian v Fitzroy-ACU Senior Women –
VAFA Premier Women’s – Ferndale Park, 2pm, Saturday
Fitzroy Senior Men v Monash Blues–
VAFA Premier B Seniors – Brunswick Street Oval, 2pm,
Saturday 22 June