VAFA – Premier B: Radetzky and the Roys March over Ajax

How did that happen? How did our Royboys run over Ajax? No one knows for certain but remember, we have twenty two players and so do they. The players have eighteen positions to fill so the possible combinations are essentially limitless. I have a theory to explain our win, involving two factors, which I will return to later in this essay.

We had a lot out: Garry McCarthy, Cuzzie, Roscoe, Mick Lee, all big blokes so it was the midgets against the giants. This was David against Goliath which would eventually become our strength.

I was busy at the surgery on Saturday morning, running late, with plenty to do. After work I went to pick up young Markus McMahon who is a Brisbane supporter. He has wanted to come to a game for a while and have a guess what comment he made on the way home. “Flip”, he said to me, “I think that the Fitzroy players don’t take their shots on goal enough.”

We have a new Tramconductor, Emil, who was continually shrieking, “Just kick the ball.” Cathy remarked, “Emil is new here, isn’t he?”

However, early on, BOTP Won’t he Fenton pounced on a spillage, looked up and there was no players on the side of the ground he was running to at all. There was no one for him to hand it off to, bugger it up and further destroy my stomach lining. He slotted a simple goal across the left shoulder to open our account.

When we played this team in the first match of the season their pace blew us away. Their backline ran off us. Their onballers ran off us and their forwards were too quick. Speed kills. The first quarter yesterday was played at break neck speed. The ball movement was electrifying but we were keeping up with them and remember we have a young team, a fit young team. Ajax eventually fell over. Remember when Poyas, their AFL star, went to ground in the last quarter, feigning a head injury (Pete reckoned he should have gone off for a concussion test). Poyas was feeling our speed, our youth and our fitness. In the last quarter they were playing for frees as they could not keep up, too many old blokes.

In the first quarter Pickers took a towering contested mark and slotted a regulation goal. How we have missed this. More true to this year’s form was Dan B. pathetic shot at goal also in the first quarter. He missed by thirty yards. We went into quarter time eight points up but we were into the breeze in the second quarter..

During the second quarter and third quarter our forward line “flat lined.” We were undisciplined, giving away multiple twenty five penalties. They had ten minutes of mayhem, in the second quarter, when they opened up what looked a commanding lead. Our only goal in the second quarter came when Matty Allen pounced on a loose ball in the goal square, missed the goal by grubbing the ball into the pocket. He went after his own mistake earned a free and a twenty five yard penalty which put him dead in front on the goal line. He could not miss from there. What a relief.

The football in the third quarter was described by Cathy as sloppy. We opened up well but missed two easy shots at goal. Ajax was into the breeze in this quarter and constantly in attack. While we never looked like scoring, our back line held firm, but we went into the last quarter three goals down and kicking into a three goal breeze.

The second part of our revival happened at three quarter time. Pickers handed the three quarter address over to Mark who gave a stirring and incisive address. Run the pants off them was the message. It was generosity and genius in coaching.

It’s time to play Strauss’ Radetzky March (Link Below)because we marched all over them in the last quarter. While their number seventeen was probably BOG, our number seventeen, Ricco, was probably BOG for the last quarter. Will Fenton played a lone hand around the ground for much of the match but Bakes, Matty K and the other onballers started to run, spread and carry. Greg Hesse, quite all day, ran onto a Pickers caused spillage, got those little legs pumping and turned his opponent inside out: Browny in the goal square. Another to the Roys. The crowd went wild. Fitzroy, clap clap clap, Fitzroy. Clap…..

We have now won seven of our last eleven matches and are building much like we always do late in a season. Last match of the season next week, down at the Junction Oval. The Tramconductors are going out for tea after the match. All are welcome. What a day it will be if we can finish off the season winning down there.

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