Thank you to everyone who came down to Brunswick Street Oval Last night for a fantastic build up to tomorrow’s grand finals.
To kick off training, special (secret) guest, Brisbane Lions Coach, Chris Fagan, addressed the team and spoke of what worked in his experience, having played in several grand finals during his playing days in Tasmania and then as part of the coaching group with Hawthorn.
On a beautiful night, it created a great buzz with the Fitzroy football community on the boundary line at training and at selection dinner, showing how much this means to them. We are one very lucky club to have the fans (and the ground) we do.
See you all tomorrow at Sandy. Go Roys!
Fitzroy to tackle Old Geelong in both grand finals
Just in case you haven’t been paying attention…. following two more thrillers in the VAFA Preliminary Finals, Fitzroy will face Old Geelong in both the Reserves and Seniors Grand Finals tomorrow at Trevor Barker Oval.
Having led the comp all year, Williamstown went down to OGs by one point at the death in the Seniors and Old Geelong defeated Marcellin by 5 points in the Ressies.
Old Geelong’s senior side has hit form at just the right time, also disposing of Williamstown in the final round of the home and away season. They have won their last five games.
In Fitzroy’s last game at Como Park (in Round 11) we just held on against a fast finishing home side, who used the conditions well and took advantage of our much-depleted bench in the last quarter.
For the Reserves, recent form would suggest Fitzroy will start comfortable favourites, but if the last few weeks have shown us anything form means very little on grand final day.
Fitzroy Senior Coach Luke Mahoney says he’s excited and very much looking forward to coaching his first grand final.
When asked to think back to his playing days, Luke recalls the elation in the first few minutes after the siren, when he captained SKOBs to the 2004 Premiership, alongside his brother Josh.
“It was a season a bit similar to ours in that both seniors and reserves teams were in the grand final. We’d finished in the top two but we weren’t necessarily the favourite. We knew we had to go out and beat our opponents because they were a very good side.
“I played with my brother (Josh, former player with Collingwood, Western Bulldogs and Port and now Melbourne Operations Manager) that day, and he was the closest player to me when the siren went, so it was a special moment we shared.
“It was also a game where there was never more than a three or four goal margin, so you couldn’t relax. You can never relax in a grand final really, no matter the margin.
“This year is also similar with the top four sides all really competitive and coming in with some form. That’s why it’s no surprise we’re playing Old Geelong. They work really hard for each other and they move the ball quickly; they’re fast on the outside. These are all things we’ll have to focus on this week to give ourselves a shot.
“People tell you to play it like it’s another game and really that’s the most important thing I want to impress on the team. In a grand final you can get trapped into thinking you are the one who has to do it all. What you need to focus on is what you did to get there in the first place – remind each other how we got here and don’t worry if something goes wrong. You know how to fix it; you know we’ve done all the hard work from the beginning of the pre-season. Control what you can control is the big message.”
Chris Fagan’s visit to training last night was at the instigation of the coaching group and Luke says you’re involved in football a long time, so it’s important to really enjoy the week and soak up all the extra things that go with it. “It’s why we play, and they don’t come around that often.
“It’s always good to hear from people who have been involved and won them – you might just get one snippet of information; one bit of advice that gives you an extra edge on the day or during the week.”
Luke made special mention of the full squad of almost 70 players who have played some role in the Ressies and Seniors making the grand finals.
“They may not all play but they’re just as much a part of it - they helped us get there and their availability and keenness and commitment has made the club a great place to be this year.
“This week we get an opportunity to win the ultimate reward.”
Selection is indeed a difficult task in the week of the grand final. For the Seniors, Sunny Brazier comes into the side, alongside Aidan Lambert. The injured Bernie Wright and brother Noah are the ones to miss, alongside emergencies Ross Borland (pictured above), James Butler and Noah.
In the Reserves there are some pretty significant changes, with the silky-smooth goal kicker Michael Cussen to miss with an injury sustained during the week. He and Chris Brown (travelling) played fairly significant roles in the semi-final. Angus Ryan and Trent Carpenter also miss.
Coming in are some very handy players; Jimmy Butler, Noah Wright, Aaron Tatchell and Eddie Harley. Emergencies are Carpenter, Liam Sugrue and Harris Scholtz Mitchell.
Best of luck to Luke and Reserves Coach Bernie Carter, the coaching and support teams and all the players on Saturday. And there must be a special mention of the woman behind the scenes who makes it all run smoothly week in, week out… Footy Ops Director, Sharon Torney.
Grand final fees
As with all VAFA finals, there is a fee payable at the gate.
- Adults over 18 - $15
- Concession (pensioner concession card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, full-time student with a current student card - all cards will be checked by the gate attendants) - $10
- children under 12 are free
Parking (where available) is $5, the Amateur Footballer is $3 and there are NO PETS allowed at any VAFA-hosted finals games.
There will be a post grand final event at The Royal Derby Hotel after the game on Saturday starting at 6pm. Everyone welcome.
To win is a beautiful thing
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a Fitzroy win on Saturday would be a beautiful thing no matter which side of the Fitzroy/Reds merger you sit!
For our current day Fitzroy Football Club (incorporating the Fitzroy Reds) a premiership on Saturday will be the first senior flag for the merged entity, which is just about to celebrate 10 years.
Winning a C grade premiership would be the most senior premiership obtained in our amateur history. Of course, the Ressies have done it before in 2012.
For the Fitzroy Reds, the last senior flag was in 2005, when the club was promoted from D1 to Premier C for the first time in its VAFA history. Co-captains that year were Vinnie Cahill and Paul Diacogiorgis.
For the original Fitzroy fans, it has been a long drought for premiership success. 1944 was the last time Fitzroy won a senior flag in the VFL, defeating Richmond by 15 points. It was also a year when both the Seniors and Reserves (or seconds) played in a grand final, with the Fitzroy Seconds defeating Collingwood, also by 15 points.
The Red Roy Mail asked former Redders and long-time Fitzroy fans alike, what it might win to mean on Saturday and it’s not surprising many of the answers were similar.
No pressure boys just go out and have fun and whatever will be will be.
Premier B is a beautiful thing too.
From the fans….
“‘We played in a flag together at Fitzroy back in....’ It sounds bloody beautiful right? For me it was 2005 when we won the seniors and reserves double. The celebrations were epic. The memories and friendships I’ll take to my grave. Good luck mighty Roy Boys - give 'em heaps!” Jimmy O’Reilly, Captain of the Fitzroy Reds (2008) and Fitzroy Football Club (2009-2011), member of the 2005 Fitzroy Reds premiership team
“At my age, it might very well be the last one and I very much want it. Win, lose or draw, you’re still my best!” Val Allpress (pictured with her sponsored player, Will Zahgis), Life Member, first female on the board of the Melbourne University Football Club (including the Melbourne University (later Fitzroy) Reds)
“So much joy for the Fitzroy Footy Community and bursting with pride in our beautiful boys.” Joan Eddy, Fitzroy Football Club President
“This proves to everyone who doesn’t already know: Fitzroy Lives!” Jeff Richardson, Coodabeen Champions, ABC Radio
“Vossy, Browny and Leigh Matthews brought the Cup home for the Lions in 2001/02/03. Fitzroy got close in my years in 1983 and 1986 against Essendon and Hawthorn…but no luck…
I’d love another Flag and I started my footy in the amos. Go hard, win that first 10 minutes, ….the first 20 minutes…the first quarter. Set the tone for the day!” Laurie Serafini, Fitzroy player from 1977 to 1985 (149 senior games), three-time Victorian representative player, former Director of the Brisbane Lions.
“The talented young men at Fitzroy winning the Grand Finals this weekend will create feelings of absolute delight and a desire to soak up the euphoric atmosphere that will follow.” Wendy Symonds, Life Member, lifetime Fitzroy fan and volunteer
“I have waited all 54 years of my life for a Fitzroy Football Club premiership so a win this week would mean the world to me.” David Leydon (pictured), lifetime Fitzroy/Brisbane Lions fan
“After the takeover by the AFL, I named the second border collie dog I had ’Roy Boy’ so I could throw him a ball and say ‘go my Roy boy’! At that stage he seemed to be all we had!” Colin Hobbs, former Fitzroy Board Member and Under 19s player (64 games from 1966-71)
“Only need one word – ‘lionhearted’.” Kerry Winchester, Life Member, mother of Rory Angiolella and Queen of the BSO BBQ
“What is fantastic for the club is how we’ve rebounded in one year and we’re meeting the challenge head on. Knowing the Fitzroy Reds’ mentality, we always strived to be as good as we could be and get to B and then A. How fantastic is this? The result this year sets us up well to live the dream.” Grant Hammond, Inaugural Fitzroy Reds Senior Coach (1998-2000), Life Member and former Fitzroy Coaching Director
“It means his first senior premiership, at a club where we’ve made so many new friends, and at a club which has significant family tradition; nothing beats a premiership win, nothing.” Marshall Toohey, father of Donovan and grandson of Jim Toohey, 1913 Fitzroy Premiership player.
“There’s nothing like winning a premiership. Nothing.” Bruno Zorzi, Fitzroy VFL player in the late 50s, 1955 Fitzroy Thirds Premiership player.
“A win would mean different things to individual Conductors. Nonetheless, as a collective witnessing a Senior premiership would be a very special moment that we'd all treasure. As Anthony recently mentioned we don't turn up on Saturday afternoons to watch us win. We turn up for we love this grand old club and cherish the jumper being played with pride. Having said that let's smash Old Geelong and win the premiership!” The Fitzroy Football Club Tram Conductors (cheers squad behind the goals)
"I look forward to Joan Eddy taking over the tag of last senior Premiership President!" Peter Hille, President of the Reds Foundation and former Fitzroy Reds President
“I love our grand old club and our Roy Boys. Win or lose, they do or die, we have no doubt of that. A bit of history (if I remember correctly) - deja-vu for Rory, who captained our last Grand Final team in 2012, also at Trevor Barker Oval and saw us enter Premier B. There was a jumper clash and FFC played in their yellow jerseys. History in the making once again and Fitzroy marches on. Go Roy Boys!” Suzanne Madeley, Life Member and time keeper extraordinaire
Stage set for Tom Biscaro’s 100th to be his biggest game yet
On the eve of an important grand final encounter, the RedRoy Mail talks to a favourite son who’s celebrating the occasion with his 100th game for the mighty Roys.
Apart from a few years playing school football and time off last season, Tom Biscaro has played all his footy at Fitzroy. A precocious talent in those early under 12’s years as a tall forward, Tom (whom his lovely mother and stalwart fan Julia always calls Thomas and Kerry W calls Biscuit) has, in latter years, successfully made the switch to the back line.
“The inclusive and welcoming nature is something that’s kept me coming back to play at this club both after my stint with school footy and time away last year,” Tom says.
“And knowing I’d be welcomed back with open arms, regardless of how I performed, and appreciated and supported all the same.
“An amazing playing group, coaching team and other support people around the club over the years always made this place somewhere I’ve felt safe and comfortable. I couldn’t imagine playing my footy anywhere else.”
Tom cites gun footballer and former captain Rory Angiolella as an exemplar of Fitzroy’s underlying spirit.
“This guy deserves every shout out he gets,” Tom says.
“What he’s done for the club and the way he has always supported me is something I’ll always be thankful for. Whenever our chips are down, and things aren’t going our way we know we can count on Rory to be throwing his body in and doing everything he can to get us going.
“He’s a truly inspirational leader with a footy, Kerry burger, or pint in hand.”
If asked two weeks ago to nominate his favourite memory, Tom would’ve nominated playing every game in the 2012 Reserves season and being fortunate enough to win a premiership.
“But that win over Williamstown to lock in a spot back in Premier B and give us a chance at winning a flag this weekend was the best win I’ve ever been a part of.
“The gutsiness of everyone that day and willingness to keep cracking in right until the end was something that as a leader gave me so much satisfaction and assured me the club is in great hands going forward.
“Let’s hope my fondest memory changes again at 5pm this Saturday, and we tick off our final box for the year.”
Silly Sunday a hit for the Roy Girls
While the lads were checking out the form in the VAFA Preliminary finals, our Roy Girls were performing on a different stage, with some sensational pop outfits headlining their Silly Sunday.
Enjoy a look at some very convincing Veronicas and an ABBA line up it’s hard to distinguish from the real thing …. Avril Lavigne would like her sk8board back, Erin Gogerly.
Billy Ray Cyrus decided to crash the Spice Girls’ party and Olivia Newton John was getting twice as physical!
Enjoy some laughs as you check out the looks.
Voting closes Monday in Pick my Project
We’re encouraging people to vote on a football oval lighting project as part of the State Govt's Pick my Project community funding round, which is open for voting until Monday 17 September. There is $30 million available across the State to fund local projects, with the most votes receiving funding. Everyone who votes can pick their three favourite projects for the area.
Better lighting and an electronic scoreboard at Brunswick Street Oval will ensure our women have access to the same quality of training and playing arenas as our men's squads. And give greater access to playing, spectating, and volunteering for everyone in the local community.
You don't have to live in the area, just have a connection with (or wish the best for) the Fitzroy Football Club and want to support our women to train and play in decent conditions!
Register now and vote here or head to our website for more detailed instructions: https://www.fitzroyfc.com.au/latest-news/vote-to-support-women-playing-footy-in-yarra
Voting closes 5pm on Monday 17 September 2018.
Join us for grand final night at the Derby
Win, lose or draw, we will finish up the season properly with a post-match celebration at the home of our major sponsor, The Royal Derby Hotel, tomorrow night from 6 til late.
A room is booked, and all supporters are invited back to get around the boys and let them know what a joy it is to watch them play. It is a great opportunity for us to say thank you to the wider Fitzroy community too. Please coming along and join us.
Redlow booking bookings close this week
Last year it was Max Ellis and Tash Ross-Harris who took senior honours on Redlow night.
To be at Fitzroy’s night of nights for the announcement of the best and fairest winners in all six teams, book your ticket for Redlow 2018 on Friday 5 October.
The club will again celebrate its season at the Regal Ballroom in Northcote and with four teams making finals, the competition for bragging rights will be hot.
The after-party will be at the Royal Derby.
Bookings are open now and will close on Thursday 20 September. You can book individually or any number up to 10 tickets. There are 10 seats to a table.