Two out of three ain’t bad

Down to Sandi again for us “Boys from Old Fitzroy” and the morning off for derrinalphil; “bugger all” sleep on Friday night. Did any Fitzroy supporter have a good night’s sleep? It was a relief to get up at six, get the paper and have a cuppa. Young master derrinalphil also hit the kitchen early. He couldn’t sleep either. Reckoned staying in bed was “as useless as bosoms on a bull”.

On the way down to the ground along Warragul Road I was surrounded by “Tradies” in their utes and four wheel drives. They were going to work, but I was going to the footy.

The Thirds were first up and “The Boys from Old Fitzroy” ran out, putting goose bumps up the arms of derrinalphil. How often would we hear this after a game today?

It only took two minutes to feel at home with the call of “Jesus, umpire, you are a jerk” ringing out across the ground. This brings up a point that I, a coach of cricket umpires, would like to make. The umpiring in, all three games, was of a very high standard. The umpires that officiate in any grand-final have won their appointment by being the best umpires during the season.

It was quite slippery early and the bounce and skid of the ball seemed to favour St Kevins. We locked the ball in our forward line for most of the quarter but kicked inaccurately. St Kevins went in at quarter time in front; two goals two to one goal six. Tim Madden, the coach, told the players to keep up our forward pressure and the match would turn.

The second quarter was a much more even affair but we went into half time eleven points up. Our goals, in this quarter, came from some exceptional individual and team efforts. Austin Ley took a “hanger” and coolly slotted a long goal. Tim Wilson, six goals and BOG, scored on a long quick break out of defence that was simply great to watch.

In the third quarter, two early goals, followed by an extended period of “kick to kick” footy, was broken apart by a hand ball by “big Jamie Wilson” (number 94) to James Pitts (cannot remember his number) the outside runner, to Brownie(number 59) who placed the perfect ball to young Dillon Temple(number 54); combined number jumpers of well over two hundred. What a magical bit of footy, of coast to coast footy, from a kick out from a St Kevins’ behind.

We ran over the top of them in the last quarter. Game highlights: six goals to Tim Wilson and a commanding performance in defence by Gary McCarthy. One down, two to go, bring it on. “The boys from Old Fitzroy” rang out.

The seconds went into their Grand Final without losing a game all season. I spoke to Bruce Edwards, the coach, before the game who emphasised that if we played our game we would win. This was the strongest team we had put on the field in “The Twos” all season. I thought that this team would have a chance of beating our first’s team that was relegated from C Grade a few years ago.

We got on the board early with a magical snap from Dom ( who was unlucky to be dropped) but in the first quarter we missed several easy shots and went in just in front, two goals four to three goals two.

During the second quarter general play evened up and it took a goal after the siren by Beachie to put us nine points up at the main break. It was during this quarter the umpiring, took, for me at least, centre stage. A Fitzroy shot at goal apparently just touched the post as it sailed through. The goal umpire did not hear “the nick” (I was behind the goals and I did not hear it) but the Marcellin players were complaining loudly. It looked like we were going to get a cheap one, but the young boundary umpire, James, ran in and stated that he was certain that the ball hit the post and a point should be called. The goal umpire reversed his decision, called a point, the right decision was made and we got on with the game. If young James, who plays cricket, wants a gig umpiring cricket during the summer, I have a spot open for him.

We motored away in the second half highlighted by a snap by Stolzie. The “Twos” during the year have won several games by playing “pretty” using the ball creatively with lots of run, spread, play switching, and “carry”. They won this game by playing “ugly”, wanting the ball more and scrambling a win. The coup de gras was provided by Nathan J, when the ample behind of The Eastern Distributor held his man at bay, allowing Nathan J to run onto the ball and bang it through.

Two down and one to go and once again the strains of “The Boys From Old Fitzroy” rang out across the ground.

Looking back on it, the senior game was an epic encounter which only had one down side; we didn’t win. We started poorly, being murdered around the packs. Our onballers could not generate run, carry and spread all day. While most Fitzroy supporter bemoaned the size of the Parkdale players I thought their disciplined game plan was impressive. Luke Ablett was kept on a very tight lease all day. The score at quarter time, five goals four to one straight; we were looking at a replay of the second semi.

We came at them in the second quarter and when Speckie kicked a long goal we were only two goals down. Then we lost the game. Parkdale responded, as good sides do, and they dominated the rest of the quarter, kicking two answered goals, and missing several easy shots that could have put the game out of our reach. Twenty three points down at the long break.

Rory moved forward for the resumption and Roscoe “muscled” a free kick in the square. His Parkdale opponent finally had an opponent that was his size and strength and it showed. He did not have eyes for the ball so infringing and handing Roscoe a certain goal. It made me wonder what would have happened if Racovalis, our man mountain full forward in the Twos, had have played
At the fifteen minute mark we were five goals down. Toby missed a shot but Luke Ablett decided to put his stamp on the game, kicking a goal himself and setting up another one.

With the roar of a pack of Harley Davidson’s ringing out across the ground, we started the last quarter four goals down and with the breeze. At the start of the last quarter win was possible but as I looked up at our forward line, every Parkdale player was considerably bigger than his Fitzroy opponent. We must requite a few “Talls” for next year. It was possible when Luke Ablett lined up to put the margin back to two goals; hit the post, bugger it.

Once again Parkdale answered our challenge, scoring the next few goals. They were noble opponents who we could not crack.

Let’s get them next season in B Grade.

Go the Roy Boys.


  1. Steve Hodder says

    Phil – my 6 y.o, 9 y.o & I have had a ripper year following the Roys, nah a ripper few years! The lil’ fella wears his Fitzroy guernsey, parks himself behind the goals, battling the other “footy seagulls” to retrieve the ball, while his sister sits in a tree and eats lollies etc . It’s local footy where you learn the sounds and smells of the game. You hear boot on ball, body on body but the Fitzroy Coach was softly spoken and hard to hear in the huddle. Not so the club song when they had a win. We went to the “G” on Sat and so didn’t make the long trek south, but instead kept close tabs on the scores. The lil’ fella put a positive spin on the result “… I thought we’d get fumped … at least we’re in B grade”. The club should be congratulated on a stellar year.

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