VAFA Premier C – Fitzroy v Peninsula Old Boys: “Bush” Cassidy and the “Tiger Raglan” Kid




by Stephen Fenton (King George III)



Fitzroy FC has just enjoyed its annual Saturday ‘arvo’ Political Speakers luncheon organised by the Foundation Red Richard ‘abc’ Willingham.



Starting life in Chiltern surrounded by the box and ironbark bush of the Chiltern–Mt Pilot National Park, the journey of our journalist guest speaker Barrie Cassidy began as a cub reporter for the Federal Standard as a 13 year old writing Chiltern football match reports, which he continued to write for 5 years delivering copy to his editor under the door before he caught the Monday morning school bus; thank God Harmsy and Kate Nolan are not so demanding. The schools to which he travelled, St Mary’s and then Mount Carmel College in Rutherglen, were run by the Catholic Order of Presentation Nuns who provided him totally with his Primary and Secondary education.



Our second speaker Ged Kearney is the newly minted (St. Patrick’s Day 17 March this year) Labor MHR for the seat formerly known as Batman but now Cooper named in honour of Yorta Yorta man William Cooper who was a great-uncle to Doug Nicholls the founding pastor at the Fitzroy Church of Christ Aborigines’ Mission.



As noted in the National Museum Australia Collaborating for Indigenous Rights 1957–1973:



“Nicholls had grown up at Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve on the New South Wales bank of the Murray River. William Cooper founded the Australian Aborigines’ League in Melbourne in the mid-1930s. Nicholls later publicly acknowledged his debt to Cooper in commenting to his biographer, Mavis Thorpe Clark: ‘William was the contact that brought me back to our people. Everything comes back to William Cooper – the hostels, the League – he fired me to follow through’.



As noted again in the National Museum Australia Collaborating for Indigenous Rights 1957–1973:



“Nicholls became, as a result of these life experiences and his charismatic, confident personality, a key activist in the work to awaken a sense of responsibility among politicians and the public concerning Aboriginal disadvantage throughout Australia” He was of course also a mighty fine player for Fitzroy and later Northcote in his youth.



Ged Kearney, educated by Religious Sisters of Mercy at the academy of Mary Immaculate in Nicholson Street Fitzroy, but wearing her hand knitted Richmond Tigers guernsey told us of her childhood as the second youngest of nine siblings.



Her father was publican of the now demolished Lord Raglan hotel in Richmond and the children were quartered on the second level during their childhood. As a small child she and her siblings were once entreated by their father to come down the stairs one evening to be greeted by the entire Richmond Premiership team of that year. I’m hoping it was the 1967 or 1974 side as the 1969 and 1973 VFL Premiers ‘robbed’ what were once the mighty Navy Blues of premierships in those years.



On becoming a member of Federal Parliament to her surprise but subsequent effervescent joy she became entitled to the use of artworks in her politician’ s digs. On perusal of the offerings a portrait of Dusty Martin was snapped up by Cooper’s first representative. Peter Hille , in providing the vote of thanks following the final question of  ‘Red’ Richard (as to which recent player having played AFL would be a suitable political candidate) the famous Ms ‘ACTU’  Ged with serious due consideration volunteered the name Brendon Gale, current Richmond CEO, to which the irascible Hille mused she may one day get a Michelangelo Davidesque Statue of the said nominee suitably draped from shoulder  across  fig leaf zone with the Tigers 2017 Premiership flag to uproarious chortling from some of the assembled.



I got my mitt in the air too late to ask the question of the influence, if any, their childhood and adolescent educators had upon each of them; another time perhaps. However I was lucky enough to encounter the veteran journalist on his departure from the ground and ask and generously receive response as to whether instead of  being in the maelstrom, as is the case of all politicians upon whom he reports, being in a position where at least half of the voting public ‘hate your guts’ at any one time it may be better to take a ‘Backroads’ sabbatical to Chiltern and chill out. His wife Heather Ewart being the ABC presenter of the show of the same name and the possibilities the question evoked, immediately showed in the large smile that erupted across his nodding in agreement well leathered face.



Well played speakers.



The fabulous treasurer Michael Smale finally got a small dividend on the treasure and time he donates to the Club by winning the Reds annual raffle and yours truly got one of the ten lucky first goal tickets on Jack Dalton so the event as well as fun was prosperous to the point where ‘ Smaley’  was putting out late chairs to an already sold out event in the Fitzroy fashion of welcoming all comers and importantly brimming the tills.



Speaking of Jack his form and that of our other follicle challenged Rory (who now most deservedly has a captain’s cap to cover his pate) could boost each other’s chances in the competition best and fairest with superb performances for some weeks.



Although absent on Saturday Sam Baker since the last Old Camberwell game has had a consistent high level of performance that should also draw umpires attention for the right reasons. He singlehandedly dragged the team from the second quarter grave we were facing at Old Geelong after having kicked bags of goals against the opposition in the previous weeks. An unobtrusive Lachlan Henderson both against Old Geelong and on Saturday underlines the importance and timing of performance. Having been body slammed at the Old Geelong match late in the third quarter he looked proppy as he staggered to his feet, appearing a cross between Charlie Chaplin’s rickets legged little tramp and the stringed marionette Mr Squiggle (formerly on the ABC), whilst unbeknown to him team mates Baker and Turner remonstrated with the offender in the background. He recovered to kick the early and only goal Fitzroy scored in the last quarter of that game enabling a 4 point victory.



Similarly against Peninsula on Saturday after a dismal first quarter by the team it was Lachlan who booted the first two goals of the second and with the subsequent four behinds taking our tally to 3.8.26, one point to the better of the final score of our opponent, again job done. Many missed his vertical leap for attempted mark of the year at any level against PEGS in the reserves before his promotion but Wellsy and I were happy to be there to witness such an acrobatic spring.



Nathan Ligris for disposal efficiency by foot or hand is another having a sensational season. With VFL and higher prospects like Sunny Brazier, Nino Lazzaro and Alexa Madden in the women’s team Fitzroy will continue to live evermore.



Coach Luke Mahoney without a hint of triumphalism and in a tick a box fashion as he has all season told the players in the post-match address that finals were now more likely but the next item to secure was a top two spot which opportunity presents itself against third placed Old Camberwell next Saturday at their home ground.



Finally a big thank you to Ellen Makridis and husband who put the icing on the cake so to speak with an elegant and delicious afternoon tea including  Louise Maniatakis’ famed, inter alia, profiteroles.




FITZROY          1.5     4.10     13.12     23.19 (157)

PENINSULA    2.3     2.4      2.4         3.7 (25)




Goal Kickers: N. Jumeau 6, B. Clayton 3, L. Henderson 3, M. Gaite 2, R. Angiolella 2, T. Clayton, J. Hart, T. O’Donnell, J. Dalton, M. Kyroussis, D. Toohey, N. Ligris

Best Players: J. Long, T. O”Donnell, J. Butler, T. Cheshire, R. Angiolella, N. Ligris




Goal Kickers: T. Taylor, S. Glenn, N. Forrest
Best Players: G. Fletcher, J. Goudge, R. Bambery, L. Barbour, M. Beggs, A. Wood



Leave a Comment