Senior Men's Coach Luke Mahoney's 2020 Season Review
The momentum that the team finished with last season was clearly rolling as our men’s team gathered for 2020.
The coaches were rapt with the level of commitment and enthusiasm shown during pre-season with high attendance across all teams. With a number of players returning from overseas breaks and a string of new recruits, the senior squad was coming along nicely with plenty falling into the “best pre-season ever” category. A pre-season camp was well attended and the foundations for the team’s rules and some slight changes to our game plan were set.
The sneak peek came in the shape of our traditional intra club game at Vic Park. Plenty of hands were put up for early selection with depth not seeming to be a problem. The group were looking forward to our first practice game against St.Bernard’s at the new whiz bang facilities out at LaTrobe University and then suddenly it all stopped…
The pandemic season kicked in and the approach to the uncertainty around what the football future had in store for us was the new challenge. What I can say is that the men’s squad, and in fact the whole club, certainly gave it their best shot to be ready if we could get back on the park. The resilience and persistence of the group is something that made all of the coaches very proud.
The players bought in very early to our isolation focus of keeping connected, fit and keeping each other laughing. The player’s Facebook page was breaking all sorts of records with the videos posted on anything from poetry reading, playing La Marseillaise via the accordion or the various posts from the boys living at the infamous Ranch share house. The fitness apps were also on fire as players challenged each other to half marathons and chin up contests.
The beauty of a football club is that it provides an unofficial support network for players, coaches, directors, volunteers and supporters. The use of technology made sure that network continued for the players as the Club established a Health and Wellbeing group to provide an avenue for players to access information or additional support while we were apart. A super initiative and something that will be a great asset for our club for a long time.
Fast forward to May and a flicker of hope arrived, we could return to training, starting in groups of 10, extending to 20 and then 2 groups of 20. On the first night back at BSO, the ball zipped around the ground as the players were jumping out of their skin to just get out of the house and kick a footy. There was no drop off in commitment. The players were fit and ready, up to 100 players trained on either a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. The hardest parts were coming up with new drills for the smaller groups and scheduling players to each training session! By the end of it, the coaches had developed a complex spreadsheet to make it run like clockwork and then suddenly it all stopped.
While a ball was not kicked in anger or a coach’s clipboard broken, there have been plenty of wins so far in 2020. The resilience and leadership of the playing group went to a new level. Our team values are hard work, hunger, humility and pride. All of those were on display either in person or in the virtual world.
There was no whinging or complaining just a real gratitude for the club doing their best to give players an opportunity to catch up, train and have a release from their own daily grind. This will hold this group in great stead as they look towards 2021.
Thank you to the Board for their support during this period. Every single director shared the load with the role of being COVID-19 officers, doing everything from sanitising footballs to kicking off the joggers that wandered on to BSO. Never once did they say it was all too hard (not to me anyway!).
Thank you to the coaches, who were a great support network for me and helped with ideas to keep the group engaged and sharing the training shifts.
Thank you to the leadership group, you guys were put into a position that hopefully we don’t need to do remotely for much longer! The Olympics, the challenges, the Facebook posts, the energy at training was all a success due to the work you did behind the scenes. Well done to our captain, Jules.
Finally, to my family, Jodie, Lucy, Max and Audrey, thanks again for all your support during this season. A frustrated footy coach is never an easy person to live with, let alone when you don’t have games to coach!
I am sure if you have read this far in my summary, you must miss your football.
We all can’t wait to get out there again, and when we do, we will be a lot more grateful for seeing the young new Fitzroy players burst onto the scene, the hipsters on the hill, the flash of the new scoreboard, the volunteers under the goal umpire hat, the taste of Kerry’s burgers, the song after a well-earned win, the smiling and welcoming faces in the social club.
Stay safe, stay positive, stay connected and go Roys.
Virtual Senior Coach 2020
Wear a Mask - FFC masks still available!
We have been overwhelmed by the support shown for our FFC masks - thank you to everyone who has placed and order.
The first batch of pre-orders have been posted and we are working through our next batch at the moment to post next week.
The masks are being made locally by apparel company, Starsub and the rise in demand for masks is creating much needed jobs in Melbourne's west.
It's great to see and we ask for some patience as we work as hard as we can to fill all our orders as soon as possible.
Baby Roy, Kai will be celebrating his first birthday this Sunday August 9.
And we love a baby Fitzroy pic, look at Kai’s beautiful booties! So we wanted to give him and his family a special Fitzroy shout out as, with the current restrictions, Kai won’t be getting too many birthday cuddles this year which is hard for his family.
Kai is also the great grandson of someone special in our Fitzroy family, former elite VFL Goal Umpire, Roy Ferguson.
Roy umpired in the 70s and 80s and also played in the Fitzroy Under 19s in the 1950s with Roys greats like Kevin Murray.
We know it’s tough for all our Fitzroy community who can’t get together to celebrate these special moments. Stay strong everyone, hopefully we’ll be back with the ones we love soon.
Happy birthday Kai, keep showing your Fitzroy love and we hope to see you running out on BSO in a few years!
Vale Jack Hancock
The Club would like to extend our condolences to the family of long serving Club trainer Jack Hancock who recently passed away aged 89.
Jack helped strap our players some six or seven years ago and they loved to hear of his stories about the Club from the VFL/AFL days when he strapped Kevin Murray and Bernie Quinlan and other Fitzroy legends.
He was a Life Member and Shareholder of the Club.
He gave us the last Club jumper worn by Kevin Murray in 1974 and it hangs proudly in the shop. Hopefully one day it can hang in the new Club Rooms at BSO, where Kevin started as a teenager in 1955
Rest in peace Jack.
ICYMI - Roys Media
There was a bit of Fitzroy in the media this week which we've gathered here in case you missed it.
Fitzroy and Brisbane Lions great Chris Johnson was on the Front Bar on Channel 7 this week bringing back some great Roys memories and laughs.
On the Coodabeens Footy Show on ABC last week, writer Russell Holmesby - formerly editor of Inside Football magazine - joined in to chat about his new book, The Death of Fitzroy. He's on from the 30min mark. Listen here.
An Onomastic Study of Player Nicknames
We'll continue to bring you our player ISO profiles so you can get to know our players a bit more during this time of no footy. But we're also going to mix it up a bit!
Max Davie and Luci Murphy are giving you the onomastics (it's ok, we've googled that word for you: relating to the study of the history and origin of proper names!) of some of our Royboy and Roygirl nicknames. Ever wondered how some of the names came about? Let Max and Luci give you the rich history behind some of the most creative nicknames going around!
Noah Wright - The Javelin (alternatives: Spearhead, Babylonian Bullet)
It might surprise you, but Noah isn't known as The Javelin because of his straight line running which splits 'legions' of opposition. Nor is it because of that one time he delivered a 60-metre long bomb which, instead of skidding through for a goal, saw the pill stuck on its end quivering in the mud. It was actually a nickname given to him in his first senior game (in which he was BOG) by friendly opposition who commented that his refined frame and large golden locks gave him an appearance reminiscent of the ancient's favoured projectile weapon.
Alexa Madden - Big chilli dog
Rumours have been flying around Ramsden Street Oval for years as to the origins of the nickname “Big Chilli Dog.” I have heard it is to do with her oversized Koolie who gets cold easily and also to do with the fact that without her blonde hair dye she is a closet red-head. I have even heard that it is because her pre-game snack is a small bunch of birds eyes (of the chilli variety). In truth, the birth of the nickname came from Alexa herself, who announced at a team dinner that her name was now “Big Chilli Dog” and she would no longer answer to anything else.
This bloke is an expert at managing his personal brand, so much so that he demanded everyone start calling him by his birth name (Emile) the day he turned 20 after going by Lewis. The beautiful thing about footy nicknames, though, is that the people who wear them don’t get a say. Emile is called Panther because of a tattoo of his namesake on his shoulder he had done while on schoolies in Bali. Its big green eyes follow you around the room like the Mona Lisa, but that’s about where the fine art comparisons end. If you look closely, you’ll notice the Panther wears long sleeves these days, suggesting the tat has fallen out of favour. But his cat-like reflexes and sixth sense for opposition fear have helped this nickname stick.
Tess Young - Tesky
At an infamous housewarming in a time before social distancing, hand sanny and mask wearing, young Tess (or Tess Young) found herself in a conversation with two AFLW superstars. In an effort to manoeuvre away from the conversation with all of her dignity in tact, Tess delicately stepped away from the conversation. Unfortunately for her, she got tackled by an esky and was dubbed “Tesky” by one of the above mentioned AFLW superstars. And to add insult to injury, she woke up the next day with a bruised MCL to match her ego.
The Club we hold so dear
Thanks to everyone who has already placed pre-orders for our Fitzroy Forever shirt! They are making their way our now and we love seeing everyone posting their photos - like this great snap from Director Rob Olney wearing his with pride!