In National Volunteer Week, let’s pay tribute to the people who enable us to do what we do
Photo: Phyllis Quealy
In the crazy, uncertain COVID-19 world we’re living in, we can at least be sure of one thing: the support we get, no matter what, from our loyal band of Fitzroy volunteers.
This year we give special thanks to our celebrated photographer, Phyllis Quealy, for her fabulous FFC volunteer montage and for brightening our days in lockdown with her brilliant enhancements to some great images she’s taken over the years.
Thank you Phyllis! Thanks everyone!
Roys getting ready to hit the training track with the VAFA releasing RTT protocols
The protocols outline key information about how we as a Club will need to work to ensure the utmost safety for our players, coaches and community.
On Wednesday, May 20, the VAFA also announced June 1 as the official RTT date meaning all VAFA clubs can begin formal, club-sanctioned training from that date, however, all training sessions must be inline with the RTT protocols such as only in groups of 10, no contact and no indoor sessions.
The Fitzroy FC Covid-19 working group has continued to meet regularly during this time and is now working through plans to get our players back on the training within these protocols. At this week's meeting, player delegates mentioned how much it would mean to the playing group to be able to have a run and a kick with some of their teammates again (and see people outside of their own household!) so it's great that as a Club, we can connect with our players a bit more now and give them back some form of training.
Our players have been working through individual fitness programs since we went into lockdown and we're so proud of the effort they've made to stay fit and connected to their teammates and coaches while in isolation.
There are still many things for us as a Club, and the association to work through to build up to full contact training when it's safe to do so, and what a season might look like. We'll bring you this news as soon as we have it.
In the meantime, as our players look to get back to some form of training, we do ask that family, friends and supporters please do not come along to spectate.
We're sorry to ask this of you all and know some of you only want to show your support, but we need to keep our Club training restricted, and all our groups as socially distant as possible.
When it's safe again, we will of course encourage our community to be out in full force at all Roys events.
Get to know Pete Carter – author of 'Fitzroy's Fabulous Century'
Kasey Symons: Pete, you're from a small town in the Western Australian wheatbelt. We're glad you chose to do so, but what influenced you to support Fitzroy?
Pete Carter: Kasey, my home town of Tammin in the WA bush is that small that even if you didn’t blink, you’d still miss it! Yet Tammin played an indirect role in me choosing Fitzroy as my VFL side. When I started primary school in 1965, the great Kevin Murray happened to be captain-coach of WAFL team, East Perth which was strongly supported around town.
“Muzza” had considerably more success coaching the Royals in 1965-66 than he did the Roys in 1963-64 (best we don’t mention these years). He took East Perth to the 1966 Grand Final, but it was one of six that the blue-and-blacks lost (without a single win) in the 1960s. When Kevin returned to Fitzroy in 1967, it was a very easy decision to follow the Mighty Lions.
KS: Fitzroy won 869 games in its 100 years in the VFL/AFL, so it must have been a challenging job to select the best 100 for your book. What factors influenced your choices?
PC: I established some set criteria whereby the eight winning grand finals, the nine 100-point victories and the 10 games in which a Fitzroy player booted 10-plus goals in a winning match were automatic selections.
The other wins included games where victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat (normally the Roys did the reverse), last-gasp thrillers, performances that sealed a finals berth (or enabled us to avoid the wooden spoon) and boil-overs where Fitzroy wasn’t expected to get within 10 goals let alone win.
The 100 chosen weren’t all necessarily our greatest victories, but some appealed for quirky reasons. For example, a 1909 win over South Melbourne at the Lake Oval was nothing extraordinary on paper, but our gallant Maroons were attacked by South supporters at half-time and after the game. “We could watch for punches and ward them off, but the cowardly kicks we could not see,” said Roys captain Jim Sharp. And he wasn’t talking about the red-and-white players! The newspaper reports of the day turned a humdrum match into a riveting social commentary.
KS: What are your fondest personal memories growing up as a Fitzroy fan?
PC: Wins were pretty scarce for much of the time until Fitzroy’s stunning 1979 season. I relied on the Sunday and Monday newspapers for my VFL news and vividly recall us beating reigning premier, Richmond in front of the Royal Family at the MCG to kick off 1970 and then thwarting another title-holder, Carlton, in the famous fog match at the Junction Oval late in the 1971 season.
When the Lions began 1972 with four victories in their first five games, after winning the last four of 1971, this was it … Fitzroy was surely finals bound that year and a premiership soon after was a fait accompli.
Alas, the Roys only served up appetisers and not the main course for much of the rest of the decade until they won the 1978 Night Series premiership. Then the club’s faithful supporters’ hunger for success finally began to be partially satisfied. A VFL/AFL premiership would’ve been the icing on the cake that was never delivered.
KS: What does it mean to you that the Fitzroy Football Club has been able to continue on and is still alive and well in the VAFA?
PC: After a few years in the footy wilderness post-1996, it’s tremendous that Fitzroy is back at the famed Brunswick Street Oval wearing the colours they finished with in the AFL and singing the same stirring version of the La Marseillaise. Yes, it would be great to still be in the “Big League” but through the hard work of diehard Fitzroyites, the club lives on. I’m sure the Reds’ presence in the VAFA – as well as giving a lot of young (and maybe not so young) men and women a game of footy – helps keep the memory of our 127-year-old club alive.
Living in Perth, and being the voluntary historian at East Perth, I don’t get away much during winter. I haven’t been to Melbourne for the best part of a decade, but when I do “renew my passport”, I’ll make the trip east to see the Roys play. Some of the good folk who’ve kindly bought copies of Fitzroy’s Fabulous Century have told me about the great Saturday arvos they’ve enjoyed at Brunswick Street, so I’d be mad not to join them.
As EOFY approaches, consider a tax deductible donation to support the Roys
The Fitzroy Football Club is a strong, vibrant community club with a proud history that we are passionate about preserving and strengthening as we pursue success on and off the field.
As tax time gets closer, our fully tax deductible fundraising channel through the Australian Sports Foundation is up an running if you'd like to make a donation to the club.
Our club is doing what we can to manage during these times and we're playing our role to stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep our community safe. We’re a strong and resilient club. We're going to get through this.
But we also need as much help as possible to keep thriving and come out the other side of this in a position that allows us to continue at our best.
We know it’s a hard ask, but for anyone who is in a position to, we have the Fitzroy Forever Operations Fund up and running for any donation, big or small.
In an exciting partnership announced at the end of 2019, we have connected with the Australian Sports Foundation, which allows all donations to the Fitzroy Forever Operations Fund to be fully tax deductible.
Any donation will help the famous Fitzroy Football Club come through this crisis and allow us to continue bringing our community together through football.
We are so appreciative of any support and can’t wait to be back at the football again with you all.
Thank you for your support and stay strong Roys family.