Fitzroy Banyule

“Early to bed and early to rise” makes derrinalphil on time for his first patient on Saturday morning. It was a boring morning, with nothing interesting to do. “Check-ups” and scaling and cleaning; no implants, root fillings or extractions. Looked out the window at about nine o’clock and it was pouring down. I thought this may not be much of a day but surely we could not lose four in a row.

Jumped in the car and made my way to the BSO through Heidelberg and briefly, just briefly, the sun came out. We had a lunch at the ground hosted by Rotary club of Fitzroy. Most reading this would not know the support that Fitzroy get from Rotary. The Rotary Club of Fitzroy sponsors several of the players every year. Rory, the skipper, is a player that has been sponsored by Rotary. The food was appalling, as usual, the speeches boring and the company excellent. The beer was cold, the reds full bodied and the sparkling white wine on offer, while showing none of the yeast like characteristics, obtained by time on lees, that the fine sparklers of France…Wait a minute, this is about the footy.

We outnumbered Banyule today off the field. I ducked out of the lunch early, grabbed a hot dog from Karen and bumped into Tony Bell whose son plays in the twos for Banyule. Tony’s dad played seconds footy for Fitzroy and Tony grew up in the suburb. A train line used to terminate at the Park end of the ground. The line used to arc through North Fitzroy and the actual Fitzroy station was a timber and fuel depot behind the ground. The train would reverse out and head out towards Heidelberg. Tony used to wait outside the ground, across the railway line, waiting for a ball to come over. Jam it under the jumper and off he would go, as fast as his legs would carry him. Tony reckoned he scored a few balls in his career. He wouldn’t get away with them now as he looks like he has been in a good paddock for a while.

Lots of big ins today. Two Dads, Ablett, Max Ellis, Jimmy O and Max Allen, and there was an air of confidence in the supporters around the ground before the match. Everyone was looking forward to the bounce.

What an awful start. The first ten minutes were terrible. Josh dropped a simple mark in defense. Parko did not achieve “the porcupine”, going for a mark rather than punching. Someone kicking in was “on the Line.” It was up the other end so I could not see who was the culprit. Stolzie kicked in to the man on the mark when he foolishly played on. Their second goal came about when Jake Frazier became confused with what sport he was playing, and attempted a manoeuvre that would have been better suited to that ancient and, noble sport of synchronized swimming.

Mattie K, fast becoming the favourite of the Tram Conductors, put a timid hand out for the ball, rather than put his body over the ball. Anthony summed it up. We had lost three in a row and were playing with no confidence. Hesitant, furtive glances sideways, short proppy kicks, turn overs, you name it. We did it. We supporters suffered through the most turn overs, in a quarter, for the year.

But we were still up by two at quarter time. The game changed. Parko, once again, did not go the spoil, and, while failing to mark, wrenched the ball out, and cleared. Two Dads came on to rapturous applause( I made that bit up) but soon had the Tram Conductors nodding in appreciation as he dominated the ruck contests and tip toed through the Banyule players showing some style I did not know he had. That little burst of sunshine at Heidelberg had burst over the BSO.

Our game plan was simple: kick it to Ablett. Ablett is a beautifully balanced player. He “keeps his feet.” He doesn’t fall over much. His score for the day was balanced; six goals six behinds.

We won the game easing down. Ablett spent the last quarter on the bench and the Brian was concerned that we would, once again, allow cheap late goals. We didn’t but our kicking for goal was poor all day.

A few points from this match to finish this essay. Simcoe has not got much of the ball in the last few weeks and turned a few over today. He is not playing with that erect, self-assured, confident air he exudes when playing well. I reckon a week in the twos to get a million kicks might help. Get some confidence back. When finals come around we will need him in form.

When Ablett was in the goals square attempting to mark Mattie K was continually going to the back of the contest. Ablett has strong hands and will usually bring the ball down in front if he does not mark it. Hit the front of the contest Mattie and reap the reward.

The last point is a serious one that needs some sober examination.

While most people are scared of the dentist we all hate the opposition’s rover. It’s the natural order of things. Two reasons; the first is you “can’t touch him” as the bloody umpire will give him a cheap free kick. Think Geelong’s Selwood; “don’t touch him” written all over him. The second point is that they are always hungry for a goal and NEVER pass it off. Think, well think, Kevin “Hungry” Bartlett.

Our rover, Won’t He Fenton, is letting the side down. He goes in where angels fear to tread, which is a trait I can live with, but he doesn’t get enough cheap free kicks. He doesn’t get any free kicks. He has to rectify this quickly. Finals are approaching. The more grave issue is that he passes the ball off to much rather than snagging the goals himself. This is not natural order of things. It must be a mortal sin and I will not tolerate sins of this magnitude. I blame his education and wonder why his father didn’t send him to a good school. Too much touchy feely stuff goes on in schools nowadays. Competition is discouraged all the time but we, the Boys from Old Fitzroy, need some blatantly greedy rovers. I hope I hear “don’t touch him” and “hungry” from the opposition supporters for the rest of the year.

I’m in Sydney next week. Big game against old Camberwell.

Go the Redders.

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