It's been a tough few weeks with more announcements from our State and Federal Governments that have severely impacted our lives as we all work together to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
We know it's hard to be stuck at home, away from our friends and family and especially without Fitzroy footy. This weekend should have brought our community so much joy as we gathered for the first time in 2020 to cheer on our Royboys and Roygirls in their first games of the season.
We're gutted not to be out there.
But 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 going to get through this. If the AFL couldn't get rid of us, the coronavirus sure won't!
Our coaches are working especially hard to connect with our players to offer individual programs and support. Our Senior Leadership Groups are being creative with challenges for their teammates to keep them fit, heathy and having fun. Our Board are meeting (online!) regularly and have also developed a working group, that includes some directors, players and coaches, to keep working through different challenges and respond to news as it is delivered from the VAFA.
As soon as there are any further announcements about the 2020 Season, we will inform our community right away. Right now, the latest information is here and we're urging you all to stay at home and stay safe.
This message is one we're passionate about and we were proud to be part of a recent campaign driven by our friends at the Sandown Football and Netball Club to encourage everyone to do the right thing during this time. Fitzroy FC was beautifully represented by Fitzroy-ACU Senior Women's Captain, Jess 'Lenny' Hayes among representatives from 44 clubs, across 26 leagues in Victoria.
We'd also like to express our collective sadness at the recent passing of the iconic Australian poet, Bruce Dawe who passed away on April 1, aged 90.
Our friends at The Footy Almanac have put together a few tributes, including this post with his famous footy poem, 'Life Cycle.' have read and remember the great man who loved this great game.
Self isolated Roys
By Gabrielle Murphy
Our official training is off, but inured to coping with prevailing conditions over decades, the modern-day Roys are proving just as resilient as their forebears.
Senior coach Luke Mahoney bullet points what the senior men’s squads are up to in lockdown and how he's looking after the team:
Live videos posted to the playing group to update them on what’s happening.
Players posting videos on our three themes: Fit.Connect.Laugh to get us through the SI Season (self isolation!)
Each night a player posts a video telling the group what they’re doing to keep fit, how they’re connecting, and finishing with a joke. Then tagging someone to do it the next night.
Karl’s challenge is really taking off with players posting their times to win a variety of races between 1–10kms.
Rd1 side picked on Wednesday night (based on player posts).
Players receive running programs and mental wellbeing advice on a regular basis.
“We’re all frustrated by the situation,” says Luke, “but we’re still supporting and challenging each other as much as possible, albeit online!”
“When the season resumes, the Roy Boys will be ready to go!”
The squad are certainly having some digital fun as they stay connected through social media while doing their individual programs!
We'll keep you posted with how our Fitzroy-ACU Women's teams are going in our next edition.
This week in Fitzroy history:
By David Leydon
It’s 50 years ago this weekend since a famous Fitzroy victory over Richmond in round one of the 1970 AFL season (VFL as it was in those days).
Playing against the reigning Premiers at the MCG was always going to be a difficult task to start the new season for the Royboys, but this game had a number of unique aspects to it.
It was the first VFL game ever played on a Sunday and it featured a visit from Lizzie Windsor (some may know her as Queen Elizabeth) who was the first and only sitting British Monarch to attend an AFL game.
The match was played on 5 April in front of a good crowd of 38,617 and it was officiated by Umpire Jeff Crouch (yes - the good old days when we only needed one umpire). Richmond was coached by the legendary Tom Hafey and Fitzroy’s coach was one of our favourite sons - the great Billy Stephen.
The Richmond side of the day was a formidable line up filled with stars like Bourke, Barrot, Clay, Hart, Sheedy and Bartlett.
A look at the selected teams shows the Roys didn’t have a list of superstars like their opposition but in typical fashion we had a team of “real goers” that were keen to take it right up to their accomplished opponents.
Fitzroy's team featured the ever present Kevin Murray, Norm Brown, Alex Ruscucklic, Barry Padley, John Murphy, David Wall and a young Harvey Merrigan.
The scorecard from the game shows that Richmond looked like they had the measure of Fitzroy until the third quarter when the Royboys piled on 6 goals to 3 to take a handy 16 point lead into the final term.
Fitzroy then kicked 5 goals in the last quarter and ran out 20 point winners against a shocked Richmond team.
Goalkickers: Moore 6, Northey 3, Brown 2, Bowden 2, Bartlett.
Best: Green, Barrot, Bartlett, Bourke, Moore.
Fitzroy team on the day:
Kevin Murray, Mike Andrew, John Murphy, Norm Brown, Russell Crow, Daryl Herrod, Bob Hodgkin, Gary Lazarus, Harvey Merrigan, John Newnham, Barry Padley, Daryl Peoples, Alex Ruscucklic, Paul Shanahan, Graeme Shearer, Bill Sykes, Alan Thompson, David Wall, Peter Wood.
Richmond team on the day:
Bill Barrot, Kevin Bartlett, Colin Beard, Graeme Bond, Francis Bourke, Michael Bowden, Billy Brown, Graham Burgin, Dick Clay, Roger Dean, Mike Green, Royce Hart, Tony Jewell, Eric Moore, John Northey, Barry Richardson, John Ronaldson, Kevin Sheedy, Geoff Strang, Ron Thomas.
From the Archives:
Thanks to Janet Graham for sending in this piece from the North and West News from 2004.
It's great to read back over some Fitzroy history, and considering our men's sides would have been taking on the Uni Blacks this weekend in what would have been Round 1, it's great to have a look back at this match. Enjoy the read:
Community football on a community oval By Janet Graham
The North Melbourne community oval had a taste of real footy action two months ago.
The Fitzroy Reds, who have been members of the Victorian Amateur Football Association
(VAFA) in one guise or another since 1954, played their first home game of the 2004 season
at Arden Street on 17 April.
Following a Fitzroy tradition, the Reds are the VAFA’s nomads this year while their home
ground, the historic Brunswick Street Oval, is being resurfaced. The new grass has taken
well and looks like being ready for the cricket season. That’s good news for the blokes in
white flannels but small comfort to the boys in red.
Playing their first match in division D1, having won the D2 premiership last year and earned
promotion, the Reds went down to old rivals University Blacks by 39 points. As it turns out,
that wasn’t a bad result against the team now sitting pretty at the top of the D1 ladder.
The amateurs play football for love, not money: no nifty gifts of sports cars and fancy villas
for these players. Sponsored by the never-say-die Fitzroy Football Club, the Reds proudly
wear the Fitzroy guernsey from the 1990s and sing — to stretch the definition of that word
somewhat — a version of the old club song to the tune of ‘La Marseillaise’.
If you’d like to see some good old-fashioned, red-blooded footy, catch the Reds in action at their ‘home’ game against Ormond on Sunday 20 June at the Punt Road oval, Richmond, or in the return match against University Blacks on 26 June at the main oval, Melbourne University, Parkville.