VAFA – Fitzroy v Old Brighton: There’s always next week

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by Steve Earl


Donned the scarf, paid the membership, bought some raffle tickets and got scalped.


After whiling away the summer months with little to do but wet a line or bend the elbow and lament last year’s misery of too many injuries to key players and of what could’a been, I was rapt last week to attend a jumper presentation at BSO (Brunswick Street Oval not the Petersen Reserve, goodness only knows why councillors want to name a few things after themselves particularly sporting venues where hardly a councillor was found unless lapping it up in the trough of office) and listen the laconic memories of legend Paul Broderick inspiring the boys to greater things. A crowd of 100 or so players and hardened supporters were there for the first selection night.


I then venture down to the ground on Saturday after breaking a few land speed records 9 not on foot for anyone that knows me) to get to the ground and president’s lunch with the slightest of breezes favouring the eastern end, an upbeat vibe visible to even the bleariest-eyed resident in the upper stands.


As an aside I’m told there’s a mound in each goal square where many an urn has been scattered in memory of a long-suffering Roy’s fan, though I’ve known a few who were present as youngsters for their last flag in `44 and quite a few more who saw out the last VFL games there in 1966.


Our boys didn’t seem to take much away from Broder’s inspiring speech though there was an air of excitement and self belief in the rooms as the boys fired up just before kickoff. Punch bags were out, the bump and grind of solid young bodies hardening for the physicality of the clash ahead.  Pickers said it all in a few words, ‘You’ve been training for this day for several months, we’ve had numerous meetings and strategy briefings – so get out there and show them what you’re made of’. Inspiring and as upbeat as the Roy Boys were, the Old Brightonians were equally inspired and marched away to a handy four goal lead at quarter time.


Not so bad I thought as the Roys squandered a few chances to be closer and I thought that slight breeze was worth three or so goals. I’m still pretty upbeat and happy to be standing in the sun looking back towards the city backdrop across the now slightly colouring leafy pin oaks that dot the southern hill, probably best summed up as a mound. You wouldn’t want to be a digger taking cover behind the Fitzroy hill stand unless you could keep you head down real low.


As it turned out, I had to  keep my head real low as the Tonner’s started kicking away to a score which had me chewing up my members ticket – I thought about putting it in the microwave but its paper based and would probably burned down my house.  My young bloke, Lachie who plays in the unders with the FJFC asked me what was happening, I’d foolishly told him we were in for a good season and should expect to knock on the door of a finals berth.


I had to drink my words, and across the road at Percy’s it wasn’t such a bad thing. In fact it was probably half way through the last quarter when a few dribs and drabs started dropping in, their scarves loosely draped about their necks, disillusion in their faces as only those older blokes that sit at the bar of the Prince of Prussia with Jack Irish can see and understand.


The shake of the heads and the long drawn out stares at the floor of the pub have Percy concerned for the welfare of his drinkers before one wizened old character pipes up and suggests ‘ it’s only the first game fellas, need to blow out a few cobwebs, I’m sure they’ll be a whole lot better next week.”


So membership ticket resurrected, hopes renewed and a few more beers with a dash of panache and I’ll be back again next week.


Fitzroy FC

To visit the Roys site CLICK HERE


  1. Peter Temple says

    Early days, Steve. First four rounds count as pre-season.

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