VAFA Premier B – Fitzroy v Ajax: Roys discover their DonQuix and re-join the quest*

Roys rediscover their ‘DonQuix’ and re-join the Quest*


by (King) George! III


Guest speaker at last Saturday’s major sponsor luncheon, Bernie Sheehy, certainly found himself among friends. Firstly he had been invited by Danny Wilson on behalf of the former Fitzroy VFL/AFL players in attendance.  Secondly he was able to regale us with stories of when he was assistant coach to Robert Walls then senior coach at Fitzroy. The most intriguing of these anecdotes being following the coach’s instructions to pick him up at 4.18 pm at a designated school crossing so as they could both arrive at training on time. The reason for the precise timeframe reconnaissance being that ‘Wallsy’ was a full time teacher who took lollipop duty after school, on training nights, as the best way to avoid interminable delay that end of school day can bring,  to facilitate quick transition from Mr Chips to Supercoach.


Next we heard of his time prior to that engagement as the senior coach of fellow VAFA competitor De La Salle.


From 1975 to 1979 Bernie coached Old De La to three premierships and a third and fifth finish in the other seasons. It was during this time, it is rumoured, that the chief cheerleader of the Gold’n Bluebirds, was none other than host of the luncheon our very own El Presidente Joan Eddy. Her brother Vin was a star on the Dairy Bell oval and as with fishers of men remains the regret of Bernie as the best one that got away. He was told that Vin was invited to the luncheon but was not surprised by his absence; Bernie could not convince him once he had tasted premiership success, to continue playing instead Vin moved on with his law studies. Bernie told the assembled some further anecdotes after being questioned about the dynasty of the Fitzroy supporting Power family, Kevin multiple premiership player with De La , sons Luke with three Premierships at the Brisbane Lions and Sam a good player with Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne and a third brother Ben whom Bernie noted as possibly a better junior player than his siblings but with other interests a la Vin Eddy.


Bernie himself taking the long view to a career outside football also took on law studies. He told the humorous story of the “uncoachable” Kevin Power whom on one occasion when being informed by coach Bernie of the stats that his opposing centreman was racking up at three quarter time responded with the succinct pleading he used and still does no doubt in his own stellar legal career “Coach have you been taking any note of my stats?” Bernie further noted that it was a young Kevin who had replaced him as a player in the team they both played for. Whimsically recalling that though Kevin could mark overhead, was faster than he, could kick with both feet and turn the fortune of the team when needed Bernie thought he otherwise had him covered. All was forgiven on both sides when Bernie did his articles under Kevin and eventually went to the Bar.


Not even the opposition guest table populated by VAFA long time and fierce rivals AJAX could fault Bernie as he had coached them to a premiership in 2011. Despite Bernie relating the story that he had asked wife Pauline to walk the boundary and introduce herself as the new coach’s wife to the supporting families and her meeting amongst them some members of the Smorgon, Pratt, Gandel etc. dynasties Roys supporters got the “vibe” from the former President Ian Fayman, current President Ronnie Lewis and his father WW11 veteran, Gunner Lewis, that they recalled their time with Bernie with great fondness. He certainly maintains his fondness for them as in an 18C announcement that ‘offended’ the home side supporters he tipped AJAX  to win and told us he would be supporting them! Alas we could not have matched the brief fee.


Well done Bernie we pronounce you QC (quality coach) and AJAX no doubt as RG (righteous gentile).


Onto the field led by Rory Nathan Angiolella the maker of the team DNA my hopes were high for the Royboys chances. Having witnessed the adage in action the previous week when Rory, his Winchester without bullets and his tiredness suggesting he have an angiogram, lifted himself off the canvas and showed us that “champions get up when they can’t”. He created the first 5 inside 50’s against what must have been a confident and expectant tsunami scoring St Bernard’s. His efforts saw us win the last quarter score wise against the tide having previously had two fatal goalless quarters ; St Bernard’s themselves only won one quarter narrowly last Saturday in what may be termed the ‘residual Rory effect’. This week when the challenge came from AJAX in the second and third quarters the team synthesised the efforts of their leader from the previous week and responded with a group effort in the last quarter that honoured his work none more so than Nathan Ligris, Aiden Lambert, Julian Turner, Corbin Stevic and Luke Edwards. As expected Josh Ludski and David Fayman shone for Ajax as they have in the  their previous 4 victorious encounters.


On the Grassy hill in front of the social club I noted ‘the Bison’ Dan Bisetto, and the Wolf each 4 time goalkickers in our last 101 point victory over AJAX at the BSO  in 2014. With them were the ‘colours’ Green & Brown together with the fabulous Baker brothers.


Do they all realise the Quest has begun anew and the skipper needs more knights errant?  * with special appearance by the Tramconductors ‘Jealous Craic’ choir.


To Louise for the beautiful Mothers Day corsages that she made many thanks. To the ‘DonQuixs’ thought too old for the task but still much loved


To  Gunner Lewis, who graciously acknowledged our win at games end as did his AJAX cohort- if not this year in Sandringham then next year in Elsternwick where you can celebrate your hundredth even if we take Mambrino’s helmet in the decider.


By George!111

Leave a Comment