Junior Footy: Fitzroy Youth Girls v Ivanhoe

It was a magnificent Sunday at the Brunswick St Oval as the Roy girls ran out for the last match of the home and away season 2016. Scarcely a breeze, blue skies, and a cohort of Fitzroy senior match-winners on the hill to encourage our girls. But our traditional rivals Ivanhoe were never going to let us waltz off the ground, and ran on with an attitude that was always going to be difficult to beat.

After a depleted couple of matches, we had a stronger cohort this week, while Ivanhoe seemed to have picked up their numbers and intensity as well.

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“God they’re fast” was the opinion of the Roys on the hill as they watched Molly (7) break out of the pack and make a quick pass to Maddy (10), who handed the ball on to Nell (14). All of the speed took a long time to be converted, though, and the first score for either side only came at the nine minute mark, when Ivanhoe scraped a behind, and followed it in with a goal.

With an opportunity to reset, we saw a lovely tackle from Emily (12), and plenty of work in worrying the ball towards the goal. Lola (5) had plenty of touches, but the team found it difficult to get the ball inside fifty.

Ivanhoe pressed their advantage, only to see a lovely mark into the very safe hands of Charlotte (25). There was plenty of determination by Bree (41) all day, and a great tackle by Abby (11) was typical of her endeavour.

Ivanhoe managed another point, and tried out the “lock-it-in” trick so favoured by coaches, but our defenders were solid in their endeavour, and sent the ball forward. As the ball was rucked out into the midfield, we saw Nell kick a stonker way up the field, shepherded beautifully by Kat (22), giving Ruby (19) the chance to have a tilt at goal. While we only managed a point, the “lock-it-in” proved its worth for us, as Nell took a fabulous mark and sent the ball straight between the big sticks.

At the end of the first quarter, scores were near tied, but the sense was that Ivanhoe had had more control of the quarter, especially in terms of structure and making position to receive the ball.

Quarter One: Fitzroy 1-2-8 Ivanhoe 1-3-9

The second quarter saw renewed endeavour on the part of the Fitzroy cohort, although we still had difficulty converting a ball arriving in the fifty into actual scores. Some nice work by Amelie (6) in the tackle and smother department meant that Ivanhoe had to work for every crumb. Still, the ball made its way into the hands of their full forward more than once, and she was not slow to capitalise on the possessions. The usual suspects in the back line worked seriously hard, rushing behinds, and giving Charlotte (25) the chance to create some lovely clearing kicks, but it seemed that the marks just weren’t sticking further up forward.

Halfway through the second quarter, the score had blown out to 29-8, and there was a palpable energy drop on the field across both teams. Perhaps it was the brilliant sunshine, or perhaps they had all run too hard in the early part of the quarter, but there was to be only one more point for the quarter, and that to Ivanhoe. That’s not to say that there weren’t some nice notes in the play – Charli (17) took a lovely mark and passed it on to Ruby (19) who was playing her usual hard game, and we saw several players including Georgia (3) Heather (21) and Lola (5) in the middle of contests.

At half time the players stayed in the centre in the sunshine, with the scoreboard standing still for Fitzroy.

Half Time Fitzroy 1-2-8 Ivanhoe 4-6-30

There was no fairy tale ending for Fitzroy this game. Read the first half again if you want the story of the second half. The score was similar too: Fitzroy collected another 1.2.8 while Ivanhoe added 2.2.14. Maddy (10) kicked Fitzroy’s second goal after good teamwork to push the ball into our forward 50. All up, individual efforts weren’t rewarded as an energised Ivanhoe kept the pressure on Fitzroy all day, to gain a win and end their season on a high note.

Full time: Ivanhoe 6.8.44 def. Fitzroy 2.4.16

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Football is a game that is played in your head as much as on the field. We could all feel the game getting away from us, but with two quarters to go Gray observed: “Finals preparation starts Now”. Michael reminded the girls that it was the small things that would let them get back into the game. Run to help. Congratulate good work by team-mates. Enjoy your footy. You may not win, but you can still carry the Fitzroy Pride.

Finals start this weekend, and we are lucky enough to be a part of them. And we have the capacity to go all the way – but each and every player needs to find that finals intensity. It wasn’t on the field much on Sunday, but we know you are capable of it. Go Roys!

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