Because it’s so hard to say goodbye, let’s just say, never say never
As we head into the 2019 season, RedRoy pays tribute to some of our most loved and most talented players who’ve decided to hang up the boots – at least for the time being. With that range of retiring talent, in the end we decided to look no further than former captain extraordinaire as the pinup boy for this story…just one more time. By Gabrielle Murphy.
By any standards, Rory Angiolella has enjoyed a stellar career. And in his case, the standards are about as high as you get in VAFA footy. He’s a supremely talented footballer, a fearless midfielder, admirable captain and role model, umpires’ favourite, and out-and-out VAFA star. We could go on (and wish Rory could do the same!)
But after 20 years on the field, Rory is calling time – along with teammates Sam Baker, Tom Biscaro, Tom Cheshire and Drew Olarenshaw. Sam’s off to explore the world, Tom to pursue further studies, Chesh to live and work overseas and, although we don’t know exactly what Drew’s plans are, we’re pretty sure he’ll approach it with the same unrelenting determination he took to every game he played for the Roys.
Rory Angiolella started playing for Fitzroy in the under 10s, with Michael Pickering as assistant coach, when he was nine years old. Rory reckons that for the first five years he was the chubby kid they tried to hide in the back pocket (yeah, right).
He also says the Fitzroy Football Club has been such a constant presence in his life it’s virtually been a second family to him (easier to believe).
“It's hard to imagine what else I would’ve been doing for the past 20 years,” Rory says. “I've made lifelong friends. I’ve developed so much as a person. Learnt so much – not just about sport – but about life and community and what that means to me and, just as importantly, to others.”
Rory has racked up a string of awards along the way (but those of us who’ve seen his game over the years would no doubt say less than he’s deserved). He won the Colts Division 1 best and fairest in 2007 and named BOG in the YJFL Division 1 grand final that same year (and who of us lucky enough to see that game will ever forget it?!).
He shared the VAFA’s Under 19 League Best and Fairest with Will Pickering in 2010 and was the GT Moore Medallist for the 2015 season. Then, last year, Rory was named BOG in the Roys’ first senior flag since the Reds and Fitzroy merged in 2008 and the most senior victory in the Club’s amateur history.
And that doesn’t even take into account the multiple times he’s made VAFA teams of the year or been runner up in the Redlow and VAFA best and fairest awards, including last season when he was pipped at the post for the L Zachariah Medal, despite missing six games!
“Fitzroy is such a hub for people, both supporters and players,” says Rory, “and I’ll definitely miss the mateship and camaraderie that exists at Brunswick Street.”
We all have a favourite Rory moment, but the particular memory for this correspondent is Rory’s response to a player from a (nameless) old school team when he made a homophobic slur to one of ours. Months before Joe Root was universally lauded for doing the same, Rory loudly suggested the sledger come up with a more intelligent insult, reminding him that in post-plebiscite Australia, such comments are dumb and dated.
So far this year Rory has turned his efforts to starting a new career as a fire fighter. Currently undertaking 20 weeks’ training, Rory reckons it’s been a fantastic new challenge but, unfortunately, means he won’t be able to play this season.
But doesn’t mean that he’ll be a stranger to his legion of fans.
“I’ll be coming down to BSO any chance I can to enjoy a Kerry Burger and to soak up the atmosphere as a supporter,” he says.
Intent on always learning as much as he could from every coach and every player, Rory asked us to close with a mention to those he’s met since walking in as a 19 year old…
“Michael Pickering has been involved in my life, and not just in my football, for as long as I can remember, as a strong role model and someone I’ll always be grateful to for his guidance and support.
“During my time in the Under 19s Tim Bell taught me the benefits of a good work ethic and the importance of training hard on the track.
“Simon Taylor and Michael Wallis stand out as two people who taught me about what it means to play at a community club and I also learnt so much from them about how to play football.
“Nick Mitchell was another coach who always pushed me to improve and be better.”
Finally, Rory says it's awesome to now see Luke Mahoney at the helm.
“He's definitely the right man to take this club where it's never been before,” Rory says, “and he truly belongs”.
Rory also gives recognition to Fitzroy’s prominent strong female role models he believes are unique to Fitzroy.
“The work Sharon Torney does is incredible, along with our leader of so many years, our president Joan Eddy.
“Not to mention my mother Kerry Winchester (pictured above with the GT Moore medal winner), a force of human nature we all love and respect.”
Rory asked to say a few final words before finishing…
“I'm proud to have been involved with Fitzroy for so long. There really is no other place like it on earth, from the supporters who turn up week in week out and tell us we are incredible when we feel like crap, to the volunteers like Dave Barnes who give up their free time to make game day possible, and to all the players who have grown up in the area or just found their way down to the BSO.
“I’ve always been embraced with open arms, felt at home and feel truly honoured to have been able to put in to and perpetuate that spirit.”
Celebrating the many hairstyles of Rory Angiolella
With thanks to Phyllis Queally and VAFA photographers.
Hands up who's coming to lunch?
With the season fast approaching, we're kicking things off with a great day out and some top class football at Brunswick Street Oval on Saturday 6 April for Round 1. And there are only a few days left to book a seat!
You're invited to join the Fitzroy faithful for lunch to celebrate the first game of the 2019 VAFA season at Brunswick Street Oval, as Premier Women's sides Fitzroy-ACU and SKOB Saints meet in a double header.
The ACU Game will feature the inaugural lunch at a Fitzroy-ACU Women's game and it's the fifth year we've celebrated women in football during our pre-game lunch series.
Hear from Fitzroy's new Senior Women's Coach, Gray Barton, Fitzroy President, Joan Eddy, and other guest speakers, who will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Kasey Symons, one of the editors of the Women's Footy Almanac 2018, freelance writer (you can see some of her women's football coverage in The Guardian) and PhD candidate in sport and gender, will emcee the lunch and no doubt touch on some of the hot issues in women's footy right now.
On field, the ACU Game will see rivalries renewed between the Saints and Fitzroy-ACU in the Premier division of the VAFA Women's Competition, this year sponsored by William Buck. The Reserves start proceedings at 12 with the Seniors following at 2pm.
A superb lunch featuring roast meats, vegie dishes and salads, followed by a cheese and sweets platter, starts at 12. The bar will be open in the community rooms under the Brunswick Street Oval grand stand. The bar will be open and there's a great view of the ground. Drinks are at very reasonable Fitzroy prices! By VAFA rules, the bar will close at 2pm in time for the Senior game.
Fitzroy has secured an experienced coach to lead its new Under 23 side in 2019.
Tony Keehan has over 30 years’ experience in coaching at a variety of levels in country and district football.
Most recently he was Senior Assistant Coach at Taylors Lakes Football Club in Division 1 of the Essendon Districts Football League and was head coach of the Under 19s at the same club for the four seasons prior.
Tony was Assistant Coach of the Moyhu Football Club in the Ovens and King Football League from 2010 to 2013. He’s also coached at Wangaratta Rovers.
His playing career included selection in the Essendon VLF Under 19 side, St Bernard’s College and St Bernard’s Old Boys.
The club is still calling for expressions of interest from players who would like to join the Under 23 side. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an interest in playing for what is a development side for those striving for more senior selection.
Royal Derby Round - the mystery of the Rouge et Noir Cup
As if Saturday 13 April wasn't going to be big enough with the unfurling of the Premier C Premiership flags at Brunswick Street, now we need to solve the mystery of the Rouge et Noir Cup.
The first men's game of 2019 at Brunswick Street Oval promises all kinds of intrigue as Fitzroy (in a past life known as the Uni Reds) and the Uni Blacks meet each other for the first time since the emergence of the modern Fitzroy.
Learn about the history of the Rouge et Noir Cup (it could be a bit hazy; has anyone seen it?) and for the more serious football fans, hear from Fitzroy Senior Coach, Luke Mahoney, on how he plans to follow up his victorious first year as Fitzroy Senior Coach.
It is the Royal Derby Round and Fitzroy will be unfurling its 2018 Premier C premiership flags and Uni Blacks will be out to flex their muscle as they seek to bounce straight back into William Buck Premier. It's bound to be a big day, so don't miss out.
Tomorrow will see the first test of the home decks for 2019, with all teams playing practice matches in the lead up to our season launch at the Fitzroy Victorian Bowling Sports Club.
The whole club is playing Marcellin with games at Brunswick Street Oval and Ramsden Street throughout the day.
At Ramsden Street Oval we will see the Thirds up first at 9.20am, followed by the Fitzroy-ACU women’s sides with Reserves at 11.40am and Seniors at 1.40pm.
Over at Brunswick Street, the Under 19s will play at 9.20am, the Reserve Men will start at 11.40am and Seniors in the traditional 2pm time slot.
It's fair to say there was mixed form during the practice matches last weekend, with the Fitzroy-ACU teams looking very sharp against the Mugars. Pictured above is some action from the Under 19s game against Uni Blacks at Vic Park and there was plenty to like about the way Monty Stuart has his new charges looking in the pre season. The future is bright.
Photo by Peter Harrison.
Who are our 2019 captains? Find out at tomorrow's season launch
You're invited to the Club's season launch this Saturday night at the Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club from 5.30pm.
Hear about our plans for a new tilt at the silver wear, meet the new players and coaches and find out who'll lead the sides in 2019.
The launch will follow a full day of practice games against Marcellin.
Check out the form at Ramsden and Brunswick Street Ovals and then wander over to the Bowling Club for a nice, informal opportunity to chat and mingle with players and fellow fans.
Everyone is welcome, entry is free and the chef will have a select menu to choose from so get in and order early. Check out the food options here. Drinks at the usual Bowling Club prices
If you purchased your Fitzroy membership before 28 February, you may also be in the running for our great prize, which will be drawn on the night.
Val in recovery
If you asked Fitzroy people, who was their number one fan, it would most certainly be Val Allpress.
Fitzroy and Fitzroy Reds Life Member, the former Secretary of the University of Melbourne Football Club, never misses a Fitzroy game at home or away; it doesn’t matter how far she has to travel.
She has also been a kind and generous benefactor to several senior players and to the women’s squad.
Last week Val had a fall and finds herself in St Vincent’s Hospital recovering from surgery after breaking both her hip and wrist.
We know she’s tough and she has a bit of a fight on her hands.
Last year she sported the biggest smile as she finally got to hold a Fitzroy premiership cup (pictured). Get well Val. We’re all thinking of you and we can’t wait to see you back at Brunswick Street.
Uniting the Pride tonight
Our home away from home, the Royal Derby, is throwing out the red carpet for both of its beloved teams tonight at an event called 'Uniting the Pride'.
The Derby will hold a football launch for the Brisbane Lions and Fitzroy fans and sponsors, featuring past Fitzroy champions Chris Johnson, Laurie Serafini and Greg Swann.
Tickets ($25 covers speakers and finger food throughout the night) are available online and can be purchased from the hotel bar. The night will kick off at 6.30 for 7pm. See you there.
Team managers wanted!
As always, we'd love to hear from anyone who'd like to offer their time to help us get our teams on the ground this season.
If you can donate a little time, or a lot, please email or call our Director of Volunteers, Gabrielle Murphy, to discuss how you can become part of the team.
We're particularly interested in hearing from supporters who'd like to take up team management roles for our Women's and Under 23 teams. It's a great role – apart from coaching or playing, you couldn't get closer to the action!
In Sunday's wild and windy conditions, even a pro would have had trouble chipping in for an eagle at the FreewayGolf - Public Golf Course.
Not once, but twice, Thirds player Ross Bartel and golf partner Matthew Riselely achieved this feat on Sunday, on their way to claiming bragging rights and the trophy at Fitzroy's annual golf day.
Thanks to all those who participated and to Max and Mike Ellis for organising the day.
The Fitzroy IT team have delcared they are very keen to claim the trophy back in 2020.
Help spread the word, one street at a time
Fitzroy's Director Member and Sponsor Relations, David Leydon, has some new postcards to deliver to the letterboxes of Fitzroy and surrounds and he'd love your help.
The beautifully designed new membership postcard, featuring the elation of grand final day, encourages the local community to come out and see Saturday afternoon footy as it's meant to be. It also encourages people to sign up for a 2019 Fitzroy membership.
David will provide the postcards, carry bags and maps of designated areas. Ideally the deliveries will be made during the week. What a perfect activity to kick off Active April.
Friday 29 March: Uniting the Pride. The Royal Derby starting at 6.30pm
Saturday 30 March (day): pre-season games v Marcellin at BSO (men's teams) and Ramsden Street (women’s teams and men's under 19s).
Saturday 30 March (pm): Season launch, Fitzroy Victoria Bowling Club, 5.30 – 7pm.
Saturday 6 April: Round 1, 2019 – Women in Footy lunch at BSO as Fitzroy-ACU hosts SKOB Saints.
Saturday 13 April: Round 2, 2019 – Unfurling of the 2018 Premiership flags as Fitzroy's Senior and Reserve Men take on University Blacks in their first home game at BSO. Game day lunch details coming soon.