- Coach: Steve Margetts
- Assistant Coaches: Sean Lynch
- Team Manager: Paul Ioannou
- Trainer/First Aid: Angus Lester
- Team Photographer: Gary Gross
Training is at Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy North every Thursday between 4.15 – 5.30 pm
Match Day Summary – Round 14
Fitzroy 2 vs Bundoora
Tackers / Under 9’s
Another 10:00 start beckoned. Gee – I could get used to this.
It hadn’t reduced the work load though with the week being busier than ever. Our last game for the year brought some extra responsibilities including preparing a run-through banner for the boys to acknowledge their year.
The banner complete the night before at 12:45am, meant the later start was gratefully accepted.
Paul had arrived at the ground early and realised that a point post was missing. After a few phone calls, panic and a search, it was located in the kids playground at the end of the ground. Popping it back in, it wasn’t too long before a goal post pad was wrapped around it and the ground was prepared.
The boys arrived and were ready for the team photo. Grabbing a few chairs, everyone turned and jogged over to the Brunswick Street Oval (BSO) to set up in front of the Grand ‘Ol Stand, which had played witness to many contests over the years. Sadly, no longer a top level venue.
Back to Alfred Cres and into preparation for the game. The boys were settled and focused. Today was important. Having squared the ledger last week at 6 wins and 6 losses for the year, it was important today that we finish with a win. More importantly, was how we were to go about it. Having played Bundoora earlier in the year, we were pretty sure that they were going to offer more of the same, congested brand of ugly football which the boys had a plan to negate. If they turned up with a surprise package of new players, or a different game plan it could be a test.
So, no matter what – we had to be on our game.
The boys gathered in front of the banner and then burst through it in a group – such cohesion and team work augered well for a good game. Much better than earlier in the year, when only one or two of the boys enjoyed the celebration of running through it.
The first quarter started and the congested brand of footy we had seen earlier in the year was predominant in the way Bundoora played, so we had faith that the boys would work it out. 6 straight points later and we were starting to worry. It wasn’t long after when Franco took charge – from the back line he made the call. Enough was enough.
“Get out of my way. I know how to kick a goal – let me do it!”
After a revision of strategy at quarter time, where the focus became more concentrated; the boys were asked to chop the arms of the tackler, push through the packs and to use a little body pressure on the ball carrier, that the game started to turn more our way.
In the second quarter at times, the flow of the ball through run and carry of Cezary, Jack and Seb T was first class. The linking up by hand and foot and the ball movement was something to be proud of. Fitzroy started to take charge. Harry positioned at full forward played the position perfectly. Leading from the goal line, the boys kicked to exactly the spot where Harry could use his strength to break free of his opponent and take 2 uncontested marks at the top of the square. 2 goals resulted as he kicked truly. Harry was on fire.
Cezary kicked another after a couple of bounces and Franco drifted forward for a second. By half time it was 5 goals to nil and if not for some errant kicking in the first quarter, it could have been double that margin.
The third quarter brought more of the same. Seb S started to become involved, Olivier playing the Key Position at Half Forward perfectly, saw a lot of it, Cezary with another big goal, Jack on the run after a lovely baulk finished with a beautiful goal and Thenuga leading out from the pocket took a great mark and then finished with his best goal of the year.
Some wonderful footy for the day had Fitzroy with an unassailable lead of 8 goals 8 points to nil. Bundoora couldn’t get near the ball and when the Roys had the ball moving, they weren’t giving it up. In one of the better performances for the year, the game plan was working and the lack of pressure from Bundoora meant the boys could dictate the way the game was played.
In the last quarter, the rotations meant that Cezary, Jack, Franco and Thenuga were rested, so the drive through the middle of the ground wasn’t as strong and Bundoora came back at the boys with some bustle. The ball ebbed and flowed up and down the ground, with no scoring opportunities presenting.
Some great games by Seb T, Cezary, Henry, Mitch L, Guy and Thomas all playing their parts and finishing the year strongly.
The medal was issued to Seb T who played his best game for the year and 2 additional medals handed out in the room to Guy and Dan B who had contributed so much over the year.
The song was sung by Coaches, the boys, parents and Leo the Lion.
Well done Roy Boys on such a fantastic year!
Hope to see you all back next year.
Match Day Summary – Round 13
North Brunswick vs Fitzroy 2
Tackers / Under 9’s
A 10:00 start beckoned. Our first for the year. What a pleasure.
We arrived at the ground from 9am to be greeted with ice slipping off the sides of the windscreens, ice in the grass and the news that it had been the coldest Melbourne morning in 16 years. Wow – that’s older than the kids playing today.
The sun was warm and all but for a small puddle in the goal square to the Eastern end of the ground, it was in pretty good nick. But still a huge ground for kids of this age. It was agreed between both teams that we would play with an extra 2 wings. Good decision.
Leo was back, with an enthusiastic dad looking for another way to stay warm, and prowled the boundary spurring the kids on to another great performance.
Today’s challenge was to play our best footy, start well and to have fun.
There were some whispers around the ground that Brunwsick North played a congested brand of footy and being a smaller group, were more likely to clog up the game to prevent heavy scoring by their opposition. We had our plan in place and were hoping to execute well.
After losing the toss, the team started the match kicking up hill. The game started and the ball immediately went forward for the Roys.
Strong work on the ball by Taz, Jack, Joel and Zac meant the contested ball was swinging our way, with great run and carry from Cezary on the wing, the ball moved forward.
Brunswick Nth were impressive with their attack on the ball and work in and under being very good. This was not going to be an easy contest.
Suddenly the ball popped out the back to an un-guarded Hamish who calmly took the mark, went back and slotted through the first goal for the game. The crowd was up and loud. Some excellent second efforts from Jack, Cezary and Henry showed real character and Guy put in a fabulous shepherd to allow a team mate to move forward.
The quarter time huddle was one with a positive vibe, with the boys up and about and following the team plan, there was plenty of congratulations. Early days though and the boys knew this Brunswick Nth team wasn’t going to lie down.
The second quarter started and was similar to the first. The Roys with plenty of pressure around the ball and finding space just outside the pack where the ball was coming out, were able to control the game, keeping it on their terms and not allowing the opposition to play their negative football. Michael moved into the ruck, Seb S busy around the packs and Franco was playing a stirling game.
Franco, reading the play well, popped a handball out the back of a pack to where a pouncing Jack scooped it up and after having a bounce, calmly booted the ball long to an unguarded Danny B in the pocket. Dan pivoted on one leg, ran around to improve his angle and kicked the ball long. It appeared to slide off the side of his boot, but managed to squeeze past Hamish and his opponent in the goal square for a goal. Well done to Franco, Jack and Dan B for a wonderful passage of play.
Then the game turned a little. Jack copped a big wack to the face and had to leave the field and the back line was under some pressure. Free kicks picked from no where were starting to take their toll and the ball moved strangely up to the Fitzroy back line where the pressure was on for the boys to stand tall. Will, Sonny and Olivier were stalwarts and repelled attack after attack. Unfortunately, a string of decisions left the ball in the hands of one of the stand outs from the opposition who putting his boot into the ball, cleared the pack – straight into the waiting arms of Franco who had read the play perfectly and stood tall on the goal line. For the second week in a row, he had stopped a certain goal. Well done Franco.
The third quarter brought some changes. Seb was asked to assist in the ruck against a much larger opponent and did a top job. He fought like the trooper he is, but copped a bang to the hip and had to move out of the middle for a short time. Mitch L was asked to step in and take over. This seemed to be the spark that he needed and immediately threw himself into the contest, becoming involved in many passages of play. Seb was asked to run the pain out of his legs and did his best, getting better and better.
Franco, on the half back flank, Michael across the last line of defence and Cezary were all having an impact. Mitch S started to impact around the packs again, Alex and Henry were seeing a bit of it and Thomas was in everything. The half forward line was starting to look a little vacant and the forays forward were not quite finding their mark. The boys had been utilising the LH side of the ground and then the switch came across the top of the centre square and suddenly the ball was through. Alex found Cezary and then through Seb T, the ball popped out the back to Harry who collected it, turned around and popped a short pass in to Dan B. Some would say that Harry’s was a miss kick but I am sure he was looking for a player in better position. Dan B, dodged his opponent, kept running and calmly booted home his second goal.
At three quarter time, the team was 3 goals up and looking like they would be able to play out the game with a comfortable win, but this Brunswick North team was not to be under estimated. The boys were asked to give everything they had for the last quarter, to keep them at bay.
Jack was switched out onto the wing, Seb S was right to run again and back on the ball. Thenuga was asked to come down to the wing from the back-line and Michael was back into the ruck. Franco and Cezary who had both played another great game were rested and the quarter was underway.
As it turned out, Brunswick North were not done. They threw everything at the contest. The big number 5 dominated the ruck and centre square clearances. He dominated the work around the packs, absorbing tackle after tackle and really was an inspiration to their team, but they can’t survive on one player.
Seb S was outstanding during the quarter. He had run through his pain barrier and gave everything he could to each contest he was involved in. He was an outstanding contributor to a fine last quarter. As some of the other boys faded, he stepped up and found the ball, kicking it forward tirelessly.
The boys proudly tackled and pushed back on their opponents when they could. Brave efforts by Mitch L, Ridley and Olivier across the half back line, kept the ball out. Taz, Sonny and Will were doing their best and it was when Joel’s hand went up on the goal line and touched the ball as it went through, that the game was saved. Not long after, Brunswick North did kick a goal but it was too late.
Some excellent efforts from Jack in and under every pack, Zac with his fantastic tackling pressure and Seb T at half forward showed the desperation of the boys in not wanting to concede.
The boys played a great game today, with Jack’s second fantastic effort in as many weeks being honoured with the medal for best on ground by the opposition.
When the song was sung, it was so loud with the parents joining in and the boys as happy as ever. It was a tough game, but they held strong and came through in the end.
Well done boys, an excellent effort today.
Match Day Summary – Round 12
Parkside W vs Fitzroy 2
Tackers / Under 9’s
The morning was warm and there was less crispness in the air. Although the coats were required, the scarves were not, except the team orientated colours, as the boys gathered for another battle on foreign soil.
Today was a journey to Parkside at the far end of Alphington where the very large ground had seen a wet winter and responded accordingly. Thankfully over the last week or so, it had hardened up and the mud had settled to a less slippery type. Lets hope it doesn’t rain – I thought to myself.
The boys were into their drills and the coaching group, ever conscious of the slow starts were revving the boys into a more programmed start which would hopefully equate to their work on the ground.
The game plan was reiterated. It was important that we didn’t crowd ourselves so much in and around the packs as last game became too congested on the smaller ground. If this occurred, it would mean we could not play the attractive run and carry game characteristic of our style.
Harry and Franco went out for the toss and elected to kick to the Southern end and the boys followed them out soon after.
The game was on and the boys were into it. Structure was good and set up was sound. The boys appeared switched on and were playing to our brand of footy. Jack was instrumental in and under the packs. Joel was decisive in the ruck and Thomas was finding it a bit at Half Forward. Seb Suarez was in everything, Hamish leading from Full Forward and Dan Noonan at his side was giving good support.
Guy was doing his bit and Thomas drove the ball into the forward line consistently providing good pressure on the opposition. Henry and Taz at ground level and Zac with his frenetic tackling meant the game was on.
The ball was in our forward line for the whole quarter and it was just a matter of how they set up on the goal line as to the score they could reach. After 5 straight points, some of those kickable, Franco was moved down from half back to lend a hand on the rebound and immediately drifted into space where he kicked a goal.
The heat was turned up and the boys came into the quarter time huddle very impressed with their start, as were the Coaches.
A few changes were made; a slightly under the weather Cezary took his place in the middle, Joel switched to Half Back and Michael into the ruck, Alex on the wing. Hamish who is a guaranteed future star at full forward was asked to give Harry some advice, who was switched to full forward from the pocket. The pressure was on as the Coach pleaded with Harry to reward himself with a goal.
The quarter started much like the first with the boys totally dedicated to the task. Cezary in the middle was starting to find his feet and Alex on the LH wing, running uncomfortably like he’d just done a groin muscle was finding a lot of it.
Michael being switched into the ruck was an attempt for him to find the form he displayed 3 weeks ago against Brunswick when he dominated, and he did not let us down. His attack on the ball and assistance at ground level was very work-man-like, with the boys able to feed off his taps and handballs and run the ball out of the congestion zone.
Taz was still doing the tough stuff and Guy was doing everything right at Left Half Forward. Seb T was able to find a leg and slipping his opponent, became the next go-to player for the boys as he made Centre Half Forward his own. Gee – how we’ve missed him over the last few games.
The goals started to come and thankfully the boys played smarter forward line footy with less congestion and more direct kicks to their forwards. Then, Harry – reading the play perfectly presented at the top of the square for a contested mark. He gathered the ball and not even waiting for the umpire to call him on, went back and slammed his first through. He had done it again!!!
Cezary with great run and carry was driving the ball in deep to the top of the square doing everything asked of him and set up another with Hamish kicking the next. Then, Cezary decided to kick one for himself. Since he had come on, he was playing a blinder.
The third quarter saw some solid football, with some interesting factors that presented themselves. It is often said that the small things count in football and more importantly, to play a sacrificial role for your team mate or to be game conscious – that is to understand what you need to do for the betterment of the team, and then do it.
The quarter started with Jack sprinting from the middle and with 2 bounces, delivered to Dan B at Full Forward for a shot at goal. He said later that he could have kept running, and had a shot himself, but Dan B was in a better position. Unselfish Act # 1.
Cezary then put on a tremendous shepherd in the forward 50, setting up another drive forward for Alex who was now clearly running on top of the ground. Unselfish Act # 2.
Ridley then saw an exposed area of the ground and took himself away from his normal position to squeeze up into an area which was clearly going to be the escape route for the Parkside group coming out of the backline. He placed himself in the perfect position to create doubt in the opposition’s mind, which then resulted in a turn over to us and another scoring opportunity. Unselfish Act # 3.
Cezary consistently covered the defensive zone when he realised the back line boys had drifted forward. Although playing on the wing, and coming into the game with a cloud over his head, he showed great game sense and maturity beyond his years to cover off a potential foray forward. Unselfish Act # 4.
Now, these were by no means isolated incidences. The way the boys played today you could see that this is a huge build up of things to come with this group if they can remain switched on.
So, although there were no majors kicked in the third, there was some fabulous football from Dan B, Seb T, Alex, Jack Seb Suarez and Cezary to name a few.
The last quarter was all about continuing to play the great brand of footy that the boys had brought with them today. The crowd was behind them and with an impromptu cheer squad set up by Olivier who although not playing had come down to support his team mates, there was a lot of noise for the boys.
They did not let them down. Mitch Stone started with a bang and tackled his way into a head clash which set him aside for a few moments. This allowed Harry to come back on and have an influence. Cezary put in another fantastic quarter and Alex playing on the wing continued to dominate. Seb Tully at Half Forward again stood up and commanded the space. Michael back in the ruck and Henry off the half back line consistently finding his targets with beautiful precise kicking down the wing. Ridley cleared the ball a few times to lend assistance and the forward line stepped up to add more score board pressure.
Dan B at full forward presented as Harry had done, kicked himself a nice goal and then had one touched on the line.
The boys sung the song with gusto and Alex presented with the medal was a worthy winner.
There were a lot of good things that came out of today’s game.
Most important was that this team had been challenged after their previous effort at home and had given back in spades. Some parents commenting after the game about how good they looked when they ran the ball down the wing, the run and carry off half back was extraordinary, the kicking and running into space was fantastic and the way they went about it today was to be admired.
The coaching group were immensely proud of their efforts and look forward to a repeat effort again next week when we play North Brunswick. Well done boys – on one of our best games for the year.
Round 11 – Bye
Match Day Summary – Round 10
Fitzroy 2 vs St Mary’s B
Tackers / Under 9’s
The air was cold, the ground was windswept and the surface muddy. Well, in parts anyway. It sort of mirrored the demeanour of the participants as they trudged onto the ground and gathered in a huddle in the change rooms.
The chatter started and the boys were in their element, soaking up the atmosphere of Junior footy. The balls came out and off they ran, onto the ground to have a few shots before the big game.
The coaching group gathered and started to channel them into some drills, which eventually found some form on the ground. The boys were cold and appeared drowsy as though awoken from a long slumber.
There were a few late comers and the numbers were uncertain. Was Joel playing? Had anyone seen Franco? …and where was Alex?
Fitzroy won the toss and the boys elected to kick down the hill as was hoped, this would assist us as they ran the blood through their legs. The slow starts had been difficult to counter throughout the earlier rounds.
The game started and it was unrecognisable from earlier weeks. The boys were very congested and not remembering to keep their positions on the ground. Some strong encouragement from Sean on the ground and Steve from the sidelines was ignored and the boys appeared to do what they wanted to. Many numbers around the ball meant there was a scrum and pack which was not supportive of the team structure which had been spoken about in the rooms before the game.
The intensity was down and the game plan was out the window. St Mary’s kicked the only goal for the quarter.
The quarter time speech from the Coach was forward and direct; “follow the team plan”, “hold your positions”, ‘don’t get sucked in to playing their brand of footy” and “ what happened to run and carry”?
It meant little as the second quarter brought more of the same. What was going on today? It was clear that the boys were still on holiday as their opposition dominated in attack for much of the quarter and Fitzroy was unable to press the ball forward. Some good performances by Mitchell Lester, Dan Boyle and Mitch Stone on the ball were the only high lights as St Mary’s kicked another.
The third quarter brought some positive signs from Henry and Zac who were clearly doing all they could to tackle Fitzroy back into the game. Fantastic hard pressure was the only thing going the way of the boys as St Mary’s again dictated the style of play.
Many players being caught out of position chasing the ball and not holding their position meant that when the possessions were obtained, the link up couldn’t happen as there was no one there. Many times, the ball rebounded through St Marys being left alone. The frustration wasn’t just felt by the Coaching group but by the supporters as well, who were braving another chilly morning hoping to see a stellar Fitzroy performance.
Unfortunately, they had to wait until the last quarter before it happened. A couple of player moves were in order, as Zac was rested in the back pocket, Franco was moved back onto the ball, Harry who was in the back pocket was moved to the forward line and asked to kick a goal.
Kick a goal he did. Move of the year!!! Harry had two attempts at kicking a goal, missing the first and kicking the second which some say had a lucky bounce, others said it just dribbled – but in it went. The following goal came from Franco and with just a goal down the boys were back in the contest.
The game plan was finally being adhered to and the results were showing. The ball went forward again and the levelling goal looked on, until a last minute save by the St Mary’s boys who then cleared from defence. Unfortunately that was it for the boys as they were unable to trouble the scorers again and St Marys stayed in front.
There were some stark lessons learned from this contest, with discipline, sticking to the game plan, body pressure and protecting the defensive zone glaring issues. The biggest issue which has dogged the boys all year was the sleepiness early on. If the boys can arrest this, they will be unstoppable.
A great recovery in the last quarter to get the game back on our terms, but disappointing that it couldn’t happen earlier.
Oh well – next week beckons.
Match Day Summary – Round 9
Brunswick 7’s vs Fitzroy 2
Tackers / Under 9’s
We turned up to be greeted by an empty stadium and no opposition. The ground was windswept and the air cold. This was reminiscent of our last game against Brunswick, but on that occasion, it was a larger more experienced group we were playing. This week we were up against the 7’s not the 8’s.
After a short discussion, the cones and posts came out and the ground was shortened. Being the start of the school holidays, both teams had reduced numbers, so this would be of benefit to ensure that the game would be of a better quality.
Fitzroy won the toss and with no hesitation, the boys elected to kick with the wind. This was a decision based on an attempt to eradicate the poor starts which have haunted the team for part of the season. In hind-site, it was a great decision as the boys went to work.
Mitch, Michael, Cezary and Franco in the middle were sensational. The ball moved forward immediately. The ball spent some time in the forward line and Michael popped up in the hot spot for a mark and calmly went back to put through a goal. One on the board.
Due to the conditions, the boys had been instructed to back themselves and when possible, to run and carry the ball with one bounce and then a long kick. Alex managed two great runs off the half back line, driving the ball forward to the advantage of the team. Dan B on his wing did the same and the pressure was really on. Zac put on some fantastic defensive pressure in the forward line with a magnificent tackle and the ball was turned over, Michael again swooped on it and slotted home another. Number two was on the board.
Jack in and under the packs, Cezary with fantastic dash, and some good ground work by Mitch and there was Alex, sneaking forward into the pocket, slipping the ball on his right boot for a wobbly punt kick which cleared the pack. There was number three.
The second quarter was into the wind and the boys had been asked to keep the ball low, wide and to run and carry again to drive the ball forward. The ball was driven forward and out the back of the pack was Hamish playing a full forward’s role perfectly, staying behind the pack ready to pounce. He made sure of number 4.
The boys were switched on today, with tough conditions, kicking into a stiff breeze, hard work around the packs, with some deft kicking and good presenting around the ground, the ball kept moving forward. Joel stood tall at Half Forward, as did Michael who was killing his opponent. Michael was in the right spot at the right time as the ball was kicked errantly deep in defence by Brunswick under so much pressure, that he was able to kick his third. What a start.
Dan B was amazing, commanding his wing and was very brave as he laid a heavy tackle, banged his head hard, got up chased the ball forward, presented for a handball to assist with a link up and shepherded an oncoming opponent to assist the team before he could do no more. He retreated from the ground with a sore head and would take no further part but could hold his head high with such an impressive performance.
The ball moved forward again and Franco grabbed the ball, spun around like a woof woof bird and snapped. Unfortunately, the ball hit the post but it was only a moment later when Hamish kicked his second. Brunswick was on the ropes.
At half time, the message was that the boys needed to remain focused, play to the conditions and not to let up with the style they were playing. With Dan B off the ground, Taz was brought down onto the wing from the back line to cover and did a sterling job. He found plenty of the ball and added some much needed weight around the packs.
The third quarter was much the same as the first, with the need to kick high with the wind and to use a little body pressure on their opponent when going for a mark. This would encourage mistakes which the boys could capitalise on.
The boys displayed maturity beyond their young years, with examples of wonderful team play, including a shepherd by Cezary to allow a rampant Franco through for a goal and Seb Suarez working solidly around every pack creating more scoring opportunities. It was when Michael slipped past for a 4th goal that we realised that a new player was born. Michael had been showing signs over the last couple of weeks that he was starting to find his feet and today he consolidated with a commanding performance.
Mitch Stone was playing superb footy in and under the packs and was also showing that he will be a likely player for the future. Guy took some telling marks and Olivier as always a trusty player with great hands and excellent foot skills was commanding across the half back line, but could not have done his role without support from Thenuga, Harry, Thomas and Alex who were standing up under heavy pressure from the 7’s forward line.
It was interesting to note that the Assistant Coach was seen on the ground during the third quarter walking around with a coffee. Some would call it complacency, others were heard saying he looked very comfortable in his role instructing the boys who were responding. He was actually trying hard to stay awake after getting up at 5:30 and driving for an hour and a half to get to the game. Such dedication – well done Sean.
At three quarter time the boys were asked to again work hard and hold the 7’s out while kicking into the stiff breeze which was not letting up. The burst out of the middle was quick and decisive. Guy, Seb, Jack and Joel all linking up to push the ball forward. The boys found Franco lurking on the half forward line who was off; two bounces, running his full measure and a long kick resulted in a goal.
The 7’s made a rare foray into their forward 50 and started to find their feet. The pressure was on and funnily enough after 3 consecutive out of bounds on the full, they found their full forward in the hot spot. The boys had been asked to kick wide, but unfortunately, they kicked it too wide and it resulted in a goal. Well done to the Brunswick 7’s for their perseverance.
A good team will respond when challenged and this Fitzroy unit is starting to show signs of being a good team. Straight away the ball was out of the middle and into the reliable safe hands of Mitch Stone 15m out directly in front. Bang! In went number 11 for the team and his first goal for the year. The boys nearly swamped him in their desire to pat him on the back.
Leo had been active around the boundary and on the field. The boys had been active on the field and the song was sung with gusto. Another proud player wearing the medal for the first time was Michael who was a deserved winner of Fitzroy’s most valuable player for the day. Well done, Michael.
The team had put together a comprehensive effort through discipline and sticking to the game plan. Their pressure around the packs, sticking to the structure and preparing better before the game all counted towards a fine team performance. With a week off, it is hoped that the team can continue on with such great football.
Match Day Summary – Round 8
Fitzroy 2 vs Macleod
Tackers / Under 9’s
The ground was wet, the air cold and the grass slippery. These were the conditions that greeted us for our first home game at Olney Oval.
The ball was going to get wet, meaning slippery when put to boot and by hand. Instructions were given to position ourselves at the back of each pack and to be ready for the spoils.
The Coach outlined the need to hit in hard and tackle the other team into submission. This would serve two purposes; hopefully swing the game in our favour and of course, to stay warm. The wings were to remain one kick out of the pack and be ready for the spoils as has been the game plan and then to run the ball down the outside to the hot spot in our forward line.
The game started and we were away. Unfortunately, it appeared we were away with the fairies as the ball spent most of the first quarter in Macleod’s forward half. A well drilled unit put a lot of pressure on our back half and they ran through 4 quick goals.
The slow starts are having an impact and becoming quite concerning.
At quarter time the coach read the riot act, with everyone asked to toughen up and put their bodies over the ball, to shepherd, block and harass to ensure the ball stayed in Fitzroy hands.
The boys responded and took it right up to Macleod in the second quarter. Excellent efforts by Hamish, Seb Suarez, Henry and Mitch Stone at the bottom of the packs, ensured there was an improvement in the team structure and on the big ground of Olney Oval, the scoreboard stopped.
The ball started to move Fitzroy’s way, with the boys starting to find their stride as the moisture lifted from the grass, but no score was obtained for the quarter. This wasn’t a bad result after the first quarter.
At half time, the emphasis was on focus and intensity, that is maintaining both, as Macleod were now kicking down the hill it meant the boys had to defend and play well to get the results. We needed a lift through the middle and all players were asked to do their best at ground level and on the run.
Henry was a stand out running the ball out of the packs, with Mitch Stone in and under providing some inspirational tackling the game was swinging. Franco came down onto the ball from the forward line to help out with the pressure and added some much needed grunt, while the hard running Zac and tough Ridley went up to the forward line after a big collision in the second quarter. Seb Suarez was busy along with Joel, Harry and Taz.
The backline was under some serious pressure at times, but Dan Noonan stuck to his man, Thenuga was working hard, along with Olivier who provided some much needed drive from the back pocket. Cezary created some run and Dan B stood up when it counted. Guy held his space and Franco on the other wing was busy.
The boys were still unable to score and Macleod were doing a stirling job of protecting their lead. At 3 quarter time, the belief was still there and Zac and Ridley were moved back into position after having their rest up the ground.
The move immediately paid off with Zac applying some tremendous tackling pressure through the middle of the ground. The game turned and in an instant, the ball was out the back to Michael who unselfishly slipped the ball onto his trusty left foot for a pass to Cezary only 15 metres out directly in front. Cezary calmly slotted the first goal through.
A couple of moments later, the second goal was scored through a now rampaging Cezary who had the ball on a string. The Roy boys were on their way back.
The Macleod boys looked tired and were starting to feel the presence of Fitzroy who were performing admirably given the slow start.
A couple of well executed passes from Macleod found the ball in their forward line and with a flick over the back and no back-men in site, the ball landed at the feet of 3 Macleod boys with 30 metres to goal and no defender between. The back men sprinted towards them and a lucky fumble bought some time. With a scramble and a lucky toe, the ball moved deep into the goal square. Suddenly, from nowhere, Seb Suarez pushed through a pack of bodies and crunched the Macleod player into the ground. What a tackle. It saved a goal and he was rewarded with a free kick through which he cleared the ball with.
At the end of the game, three cheers went up for Macleod who were an admirable opposition and three for the Umpire. It was then that Mitch Stone stepped forward to accept his medal for a fabulous effort which had seemingly come from nowhere. Maybe a dose of red-bull, or a rev up from Dad, but Mitch was clearly most improved on the day.
If not for a slow start, there would have been a better feel in the rooms at the end. Still, a good result with the boys showing once again what they are capable of. Well done.
Match Day Summary – Round 7
Preston Bullants vs Fitzroy 2
Tackers / Under 9’s
We arrived at the oval greeted by a muddy centre from the accumulation of a wet month and not a lot of dry or windy days. The remnants of the Senior game from the day before evident throughout the mud with boot marks everywhere.
The practice drill on the ground before the game provided evidence of the test ahead of the boys as the ball skidded through and slipped off the boot as contact was made with each kick.
Changes were swung as some last minute outs became known, including Seb Suarez, Mitch Stone and Dan Noonan who called through with ailments, to join Seb Tully, Harry Tam, Will Kile and Thomas Romano unable to attend.
The match tactics soon changed as the pre-match brief commenced. Heavy focus on intensity, tackling and knocking the ball forward at all costs were the instructions for the day. Hard running was going to be required as Preston refused to offer up substitutes as required under the even up rule.
The coin toss was won and Michael, Captain for the day along with Alex, decided to kick down the hill for the first quarter.
The ball was bounced and the game was on. It was an intense battle as the boys in the middle went to work. Some fabulous tap work by Joel, to Jack, Henry and Sonny in the middle meant the ball was in Fitzroy hands from the start.
The ball went forward for Preston and the back line was soon under pressure, with Dan, Taz and Ridley needing to help out Olivier, Mitch Lester and Alex in the last line of defence. They held together strongly and cleared the ball a number of times. Some tough work around the packs by Jack, Joel, Henry, Zac and Isaac managed to push the ball forward. The ball was soon up in the forward line, but scoring seemed to be difficult as quarter time resulted in no score for either team.
At quarter time, a lot of praise for the boys who were playing great football, with heavy tackling and tough work in the packs. The second quarter started with the boys immediately switched on and within a minute, Franco had the ball in the forward pocket with a shot at goal to come. Tucked on the boundary line and Preston congesting from the hot spot back to the goal line, Franco was instructed to back himself and take a shot. He did so and just missed, with the first score registered.
The ball was cleared, but then came straight back in with some accurate kicking, Hamish found Jack 15m out directly in front of goal. Jack duly converted and the first major was on the board.
The centre line was working very hard and their attack on the ball outstanding, with some great support from Guy on his wing and Hamish at Centre half forward, the ball headed back into the Roys forward arc with regularity. If not for Preston showing some good skill under pressure, there may have been more scoring as Fitzroy dominated. The attack on the man and the ball was impressive, with everyone standing up. Just before half time, Franco slipped another major through.
Ridley showing some fantastic dash from half back, repelled numerous attacks from Preston, with fantastic run and carry and finding a man by foot every time. Where has Ridley been this year? With hidden talent like that suddenly apparent, Ridley may have found his position.
What a quarter from the boys who had given every ounce of energy they could. A much needed rest was gained at half time, as the boys gathered around the coaching group. Having kept Preston scoreless til half time was an outstanding effort, given they were playing with a rotation of 7 more players. The boys were asked to dig deep as no doubt Preston was going to come back with more run in their legs in the second half.
The third quarter started with the boys in the middle seemingly under siege. The opposition coach had given their boys a rev up and they were playing better footy. The pressure was on to repel and to respond to the challenge which was set. The boys dug the opposition out and pushed the ball back down the field with renewed vigour. The outstanding work by Olivier in the back line, Dan B on the goal line stopping many an attack, Mitchell Lester and Alex linking up by hand was impressive.
A free kick for a push in the back, resulted in a shot from the boundary by Preston. One of their smaller players on the wrong side of the ground for a left footer, managed to kick a miracle goal and they were on the board. The pressure lifted as the Roy boys needed to find an extra leg.
Mitchell Lester linking up with Guy down the RH wing and the ball moved forward again. Dan B was using the ball beautifully, hitting targets and giving the team every opportunity to succeed. Taz around the packs was laying some big tackles and continually winning the ball and Jack in and under was leading the way. Joel was tireless in the ruck with support coming from Henry and Sonny.
Zac found a leg and laid some huge tackles, along with Isaac finding space and getting into the game. Michael made an impression with a huge burst and use of great skills to find a teammate. Hamish starting to find the ball a bit and Henry creating drive, meant the ball was finding it to the forward line where Cezary and Franco were creating some dangerous moves.
Three quarter time found the Roys holding a good lead, and playing some great footy. The Coach had asked for intensity and to shock Preston with big tackles and a huge physical effort and the boys had responded. The game was not over yet though, but the boys were feeling it. Some changes had to be made to keep the intensity at a level where it could be maintained and the game could be won.
Olivier replaced Joel in the ruck who went for a resting role in the back line and Isaac was switched onto the ball to replace Jack who had battled away tirelessly at the bottom of every pack.
The moves paid off, with the energy levels around the packs reinstated and the Preston boys knew they would have to work hard for a score. The team and individual efforts were outstanding. On a cold day and with a very large wet and muddy ground to contend with, there was not one individual who shirked the issue.
The use of handball under pressure was first class today, with the boys starting to move the ball with precision and using the outside runners through the wings, half forwards and backs to create a winning brand of football. More precise kicking to targets also meant the ball was kept in our hands for longer and there were less turnovers caused by errant use of the ball. This was an impressive result given the greasiness of the ball in today’s conditions.
The boys played outstanding football today, with no rest and were rewarded with singing the song at the end of the game. Arms around shoulders, bunched up and in unison, the song was sung with gusto. The coaching group stood back, proud as punch that these boys were starting to show the rewards of working hard together as a team. Today we saw some real improvement across the group with individuals starting to show what they were capable of.
As Preston don’t recognise individual awards, an award was issued internally to acknowledge the repeated great efforts of Olivier who has shown his ability week in and week out to find the football and to deliver it to the benefit of his teammates, by hand and foot.
Well done Olivier and a VERY WELL DONE to the team. A fantastic way to respond when challenged by the Coaching group who understand their ability and want the best of each individual on display each week. The boys have set a new standard in the way they go about their footy.
Match Day Summary – Round 6
Fitzroy 2 vs Parkside R
Tackers / Under 9’s
Rain! Rain! Rain!
It had rained since 11pm the night before and the ground was softening up. The freshly laid sand and soil being dumped in the low spots was starting to pack down as the drops tumbled down.
The boys were asleep still and the game was 20 minutes away.
“Lets get into some handball drills”. That will wake them up.
Nope. Still nothing.
“Lets add some bumps, boys!”
Suddenly, the boys were awake and starting to gel. A few minutes later and into the rooms for some last minute speeches. With a “roar” they were on the ground.
Today they were playing a team we had heard could play a good brand. So, the challenge was set. Come out hard and play strongly and we were a chance.
The first few minutes were critical and unfortunately the back line boys weren’t switched on – possibly, still asleep. Two of them lined up in the forward line. A little bit better organisation would have saved the first goal which went the way of Parkside who managed to slip the ball out of the middle and up to a half empty back line for Fitzroy for an easier goal than expected. Once sorted, the contest commenced again.
The game ebbed and flowed with some intense pressure at ground level and the scores showed that both teams were well matched. If not for the goal, the scores may have been level at 3 points apiece at quarter time, but Parkside had the extra kick and held sway by that margin.
Notable efforts for the first quarter, were; Thenuga at full forward who had a chance for a goal, snapped which slipped through for a point. Franco, lively at Half Forward, Olivier in the middle and Dan B on the full back line. Seb starting to become energized, Alex and Mitch Lester in the middle.
The second quarter had Fitzroy kicking up the hill, where the drive needed to come from the middle of the ground and the half back line. Parkside attacked and the pressure was on the backline to repel. An errant kick out from full back meant that there were two shots at goal in a minute, thankfully both only registered behinds. Unfortunately, the next one registered a major and we were down by 2.
Taz showed some real promise in and under the packs, Seb, Cezary and Olivier continuing their solid work in the packs. Jack across half back was showing some skill, Alex, Mitch Lester and Thenuga in the packs were doing some heavy work. Franco created some run on the half forward line, Michael and Isaac linking up well and Hamish started to find some touch on the other wing.
At half time the boys needed to settle and although their efforts were not being rewarded on the scoreboard, the game plan was working. Kicking to a target was letting them down, with Parkside gathering in numbers, too often the ball found the opposition, who cleared the ball and created good run through the middle of the ground.
Parkside were playing a game of congestion and the team needed to remember to hold their positions, not get drawn into the pack and stay disciplined when the turnovers happened. By manning up when they had it and spreading when we had it, the team needed to move the ball on quickly and the scoring opportunities would come.
The third quarter became a bit of a slog, with some tough work around the packs, clearing kicks being scrambled and not really finding their targets, and no scoring at all. At one stage, the ball spilled free, and a long kick to Franco at half forward opened up a chance. Franco, feeling repressed by the discipline required at half forward, broke free and took on his opponent with one bounce and a snap towards goal which sailed wide. This was the only score for the boys in the third quarter.
The game was a real arm wrestle, with each team showing genuine vigour and determination. Both opposing coaches shouting instructions to their team and asking/pleading for a little bit more.
Three quarter time gave an opportunity for an old fashion spray. Some of the boys seemed to be relaxing a little and when it came their turn to go, they needed to lift. Too many were relying on the efforts of too few.
The challenge was thrown down to Hamish in the middle, Zac and Jack at half back. Jack who had shown some real intensity and heavy tackling thoughout each of the quarters, needed to also be accountable to his man and he was challenged to take his opponent out of the contest. Mitch Stone had let slip his opponent who evaded him on the boundary line, was asked to step up.
The game was still there for the taking, some straight kicking, discipline and more intensity was required from a greater spread of players. Zac responded immediately, with two big tackles on the boundary, Jack did the same and Parkside knew they were in for a battle royal. Hamish won the footy through some big tackles and Olivier continuing to impress with a solid game in the ruck was playing fabulously, Cezary with some long kicks and Michael starting to find the footy. Thomas was showing a bit and Hamish stepped up to the plate.
The game was a good exhibition of both team’s abilities. It was evenly matched and except for some errant kicking, may have been a slightly tighter fought contest. Parkside by a couple of goals was the end result.
The match showed the level of intensity across the team has to lift with many players not quite making the grade and at this stage of the year, need to lift to help out the few who are playing exceptionally well. No one can question the endeavour of Jack, Zac, Olivier and Seb Suarez who took out the Indigenous Medal for the round.
With a weeks break until the next game, there is time to challenge those who need lift, and work with those still struggling to find their feet.
Well done boys on another great game of footy. Although you didn’t succeed today, you played a great brand of footy and the future looks bright.
Match Day Summary – Round 5
Fitzroy 1 vs Fitzroy 2
Tackers / Under 9’s
This week was the derby, between 2 Fitzroy teams both desperate to do well and impress for the club, themselves and those who attended.
To add a little bit of colour, Tackers 2 unveiled their new Mascot; Leo the Lion (with a big thank you to Andy who did a great job helping out) who was welcomed with some excitement and vigour from the kids who are always looking for additional inspiration. For the first time this year, the team ran through a banner, dutifully prepared by Charlotte M, Mia I and Caitlin L with wonderful artistic flare.
At the start of the game, there was a lot of excitement and energy from both teams. Both were looking to stamp themselves as the top Tackers team and to have bragging rights for the near future. Captains for the day were Taz and Thomas, both eager to impress in their elevated role.
Leo was busy handing out balloons and lollies to the youngsters in the crowd and a real community feel was brewing down at Alfred Crescent.
The toss of the coin and the boys decide to kick up the hill, into a stiff breeze. As it turned out, not necessarily the wisest of choices to start off with.
The game started at a frenetic pace, with the big bodies getting in and under and the fringe players waiting eagerly for the first spill of the crumbs. It was an arm wrestle with many stoppages and the ball being tied up. A few kicks went the way of Tackers 1 and the ball was on the move.
The defence kicked in and repelled attack after attack. Some heavy work around the packs by Henry, Guy and Hamish meant the ball wasn’t getting through. The half back line stood tough. Unfortunately, an errant possession and the ball was turned over. Just like that, a mark in the forward 40 for Tackers 1 and they were on the board.
The last line of defence was challenged for the last half of the quarter with Dan B, Dan N and Ridley doing a sterling job to defend, but unfortunately 2 more goals slipped through. They stuck to the team plan of kicking wide and showed real spirit in keeping the scoring opportunities down.
In the second quarter, the boys were kicking with the aid of the breeze and with instructions to kick high and long, they went about doing that. Jack and Mitch Stone in the back line worked hard to repell the first few forays forward sending the ball forward to Isaac who saw a bit of it. Seb Suarez was in everything and Franco was starting to get his feel. Mitch Lester went for a big fly in the forward line, which went unpaid and Alex tried his best at ground level. Sonny creating opportunities and Michael another option.
The ball was moving a little freer, but still the stoppages were taking over, with bustling hard work required by all players when near the ball. The usual runs of Franco and Cezary being stifled by a team who were quicker and bigger.
Olivier doing a fabulous job in the ruck was starting to tire and looking for some time out. Joel switched in and the game was on again.
The boys were finally on the board but unable to kick straight with a return of 3 points with the wind for the quarter, they really didn’t gain maximum return for their efforts. Harry had a snap at goal and Sonny going for everything which came his way.
It was becoming apparent that Tackers 1 was using a switch tactic off the Half Back line, sending the ball through the corridor when they could to take advantage of the wide play of Tackers 2. It was effective, with their ball movement largely un-challenged until it reached the half forward line. A plea was given out by the coach at half time to arrest this transition with the half back players challenged to watch for this movement in play and to congest where possible by staying with their player and giving them no room.
The response was significant with Jack taking charge of a couple of forays forward, and using sound foot skills to hit his targets on the wing and at one stage deeper into the half forward line. With solid support from Hamish and Seb on the other wing, the ball was moving well.
Tackers 1 was dropping back and congesting their back line so well, that Tackers 2 was virtually unable to score. There was just no space to move with the ball deep in a pack for much of the game.
The last quarter showed some opportunity for the forwards to get into it, as the pressure was released through fatigue. Harry got a touch, followed by Thomas and Taz, but it was hard to control. Finally, Henry slipped forward and popped the ball through. This was the longest it had taken the team to score a goal all year and the boys were relieved.
Unfortunately, it hadn’t been their day and the better team came out on top.
Fitzroy, the club, was the winner as at least 60 people and a lion, stood back and watched the presentation unfold, with Jack being awarded the Best Opposition Player for our team. Throughout the whole game, Jack’s intensity at the ball, run, carry and then accurate disposal to a player in a better position were a real example for the whole team to follow.
The coach was very happy with the effort shown by the boys and their attempts to stick to the team rules. There was great tackling pressure and intensity through the whole game and these were the real positives. Working on our ball movement, positional play and accuracy of kicking into the forward line will really help convert some of the opportunities we had. We played a side that were just a bit more polished than us with their kicking and game plan. Overall very solid efforts, which came with a few mistakes, but with more practice it is hoped that these will reduce in the coming weeks.
Steve Margetts & Sean Lynch
Match Day Summary – Round 4
Fitzroy 2 vs St Mary’s K
Tackers / Under 9’s
The ground was wet under foot from the heavy rain of the day before. The grass was moist but still had that gorgeous grassy smell to it. The squelch as the water dispersed from under your feet as you walked across the ground, meant that the ball would slide.
With virtually no wind and few clouds, the morning was crisp but perfect for football. What do they say about these days? “ If you can’t play today, then you can’t play”. Love it!
The boys did their warm ups to a short pre-match address, some 1 on 1’s with the guys still struggling with their rotations and a lot of positive encouragement.
The opposition today, we had heard were a football factory, that is, they knew how to play and would come at us hard. We set our bench marks high to see how the team would respond.
With a final gee up, and the roar of a lion…er, a pride of lions, they headed out onto the ground.
Mitch and Seb were unlucky not to win the toss and St Mary’s elected to kick down the ground with a light breeze to their backs. It proved to immediately be a good move. With a large ruck man dominating and centre bounce clearances, their number 10 drove the ball forward for them on a couple of occasions, resulting in 3 quick goals, inside 7 minutes.
The boys were immediately on the back foot, with the half back line and last line of defence under heavy pressure. St Mary’s attacked again and the back line this time pushed them wide, a stray kick resulting in a point.
Fitzroy were resilient. For the second week in a row the first few minutes were telling, with a solid lead built up by the opposition. But, this group has character and a never say die attitude. Strong work in the middle by Danny N, Joel working hard against a larger opposition and Dan B under the pack.
The attack came once again, but this time the back line held firm. Henry calmly delivering the ball to Isaac in the back pocket. The ball followed the boundary line with the use of Will, Michael, Seb Tully and then Sonny on the half forward line. The ball movement was swift and to the game plan. St Mary’s looking to switch across the half back line, were unable to do so as the ball swept into the forward line and an errant kick resulted in a point. Atleast we were on the board.
At quarter time, focus was placed on the bigger ruckman. Some of the centre players appeared to stand back a little from him as he was such a daunting figure. The boys were challenged to tackle hard and to fight for the ball. He was no better than any of them, just larger. He would still buckle under a tackle and cough it up due to poorer skills. The boys went out ready.
The second quarter offered a much better focus from the team, with renewed vigour they went about their business. Cezary, Will and Franco across the centre of the ground, ran and ran and ran. Chasing the ball, hunting the opposition and forcing the ball forward.
An outstanding tackle from Cezary on the biggest player on the ground, not once, but twice resulted in some frustration being shown. Someone, who was used to being feared and used to having opposition players stand back from him, didn’t like the hard stuff. This highlighted the point made at quarter time, that no player is unbeatable. Cezary was inspirational.
The ball moved forward again and again, unfortunately no majors were scored, but the boys were back in it. Taz, Sonny and Harry saw a bit of it across the half forward line and fed the ball in to Alex at full forward. A couple of long kicks resulted in spillages across the back of the packs with Mitch Lester and Olivier kicking points. Alex had another and it was touched on the line. Bummer!
At half time, the boys were encouraged to clear out the forward line a little and to look for the short passes rather than blazing at goal from too far out. The distance was hurting the team’s chances of scoring majors. The endeavour was good and the game had turned. The much fancied opposition had been kept scoreless for the quarter.
The third quarter started frenetically with the big guy back in the ruck, Joel worked tirelessly earning more effective hit outs and presenting in a fashion that made the team proud. Dan B was in everything under the packs and finding the ball often.
The ball moved forward and a strange face deep in the pocket put the ball to boot and scored the team’s first goal. Seb Suarez playing in the back line had slipped forward and scored a major. Good thinking by Seb had us on the board at last.
Franco was finding more of the ball. Will, Hamish and and Thomas doing their bit and the team was looking good. A rare foray forward from St Mary’s and the back line were asked to step up. Jack took on three players at the top of the goal square, showing the intensity required to keep the ball alive, by tackling one after another. It was fantastic stuff and rewarded with a holding the ball.
Guy and Zac were asked to present and did well to support Jack.
Some straight kicking and good body positioning in the packs meant that St Mary’s was starting to use the ball better. A good kick found a forward and unfortunately St Mary’s slipped another goal through, which may just have been touched. The game was still on though, with Fitzroy playing better footy and St Mary’s under a lot of pressure.
The last quarter started and the boys pushed forward again. Some strong work by Franco and Michael across the middle, Ridley, Joel and Mitch S meant the ball was going to spend some time in the forward line.
If not for some poor kicking to each other, the ball would have moved more efficiently down the ground with St Mary’s able to repel the attacks. Unfortunately, some of the boys didn’t listen to team instructions and started to chase goals. What they didn’t realise was that they were crowding the forward line and making it much harder for Oliver at full forward and the pocket players of Thenuga and Mitch Lester to find space.
A long sprint down the RH forward pocket from Seb T, resulting in a snap shot for goal unfortunately hitting the post. What he must not have seen was that there were 3 free team mates at the top of the goal square.
Upon the kick out, the play moved towards the half back for St Mary’s. Out of no where Franco pounced on the ball, taking a strong mark approx 20m out from goal. He calmly went back and kicked truly. Suddenly, it was only a goal the difference.
The boys endeavour was strong as they threw everything into the last few minutes of the game. The ball moved quickly between the players as they attempted to mount one last challenge. Henry taking charge, along with Taz and Harry working hard to push it forward. Dan B, Joel, Michael, Thomas and Will. Unfortunately, the siren went and the game was over.
A great effort by the boys today, showing that with a little discipline, they can play some good footy. 9 scoring shots to 5 and keeping a great team like St Mary’s to one goal after quarter time, meant that with a stronger start, Fitzroy can be even better.
The opposition recognised Dan Boyle as best player for our team and as the 3 cheers went up for the mum’s who attended, I could only reflect on what a great game had just been played.
We got some great tips from the game about how we can get even better: not crowding our forward line, concentrating on our ball movement and kicking skills and making sure we are up for the contest as soon as that ball is bounced in the first quarter.
Well done to all the boys.
Steve Margetts & Sean Lynch
Match Day Summary – Round 3
Brunswick 8’s vs Fitzroy 2
Tackers / Under 9’s
All was calm as the first car pulled in to the car park.
I know, because it was me. Not long after, Paul (Team Manager) arrives and we stand in the rain together.
“Reckon we’re at the right ground?” I ask him.
“ Yep.” Says Paul, not at all concerned.
Meanwhile Zac is pulling at his hand looking for a kick on the ground.
It was cold, wet and the day was looking rather glum.
I went for a walk.
There were strappings, tape and used bandages on the turf, the floor of the rooms and a musty smell of eucalyptus ointment in the air. The scars of an opponent from another day. The battle wounds everywhere, with up turned chairs and clumps of grass strewn around as though someone had left in a hurry. A nice welcome to a worthy adversary.
What were we to face today? How good are Brunswick? Do they instill fear into their opposition. Are they going to give us a run for our money?
The cars started to pull into the car park. Finally the change room doors were thrown open and we were invited into our rooms for the day.
The boys gathered in the rooms, in an attempt to get out of the rain which was now quite heavy and started to prepare themselves for the contest which lay ahead. We went through some last minute discussions reminding them of their positions and then commenced the warm up stretching.
A final gee up and then out on the ground.
The Captain’s for today, Isaac and Seb S, stood toe to toe with the Captain of Brunswick. The call for tails was greeted by a little shriek of delight as we won the toss and without hesitation, Seb decided to kick to the Eastern end of the ground with a light breeze behind him.
The siren went and the game was on. The new rotations for the fortnight still not ingrained meant we were on the back foot literally from the first minute with the centre clearance going the way of Brunswick and only a few moments later the first goal sailed through. This was the first goal conceded by the boys in three games and unfortunately wasn’t the only one for the quarter.
The new full back line of Joel, Zac and Jack were unable to compete with the fierce pressure coming out of the centre of the ground and seeking support from up the ground which was not to the required level, they conceded a second goal a few moments later.
The bounce of the ball favoured our boys who drove it forward and it wasn’t long before Mitch Lester marked only a few metres out and managed to reply with a solid goal.
The second quarter started and the boys started to warm to the contest. Brunswick were larger and more able bodied through the centre of the ground, out muscling Will, Dan B, Dan N and Henry regularly. The efforts of Franco, Michael and Ridley were valiant but unable to stop the forays forward. Cezary holding his own on the wing was doing his best to drive the ball forward.
The forward pressure from Brunswick caused a lapse in concentration with the team rule of not kicking across goal proving to be correct. Two wayward kicks resulting in another two goals for Brunswick as they capitalised on our mistakes.
Isaac, Hamish and Seb across the half back line did their best to repell the forward thrusts and with some smart team play up the wings, spotted the now rampaging Cezary who was finding touch with every new attack on the ball.
Sonny started to find his feet with space working well for him, as the ball floated forward he took a number of telling marks to allow another attack forward.
The damage appeared to be done by one of the opposition talls, Jonah, who just seemed to find so much of the ball with everything turning to gold when he touched the ball. As a sign of respect, it became clear that he required a more dedicated tagger. During the half time break a new challenge was set to Olivier, who was asked to mark the player and wear him like a glove.
What a task. But straight away the move paid off, with Fizroy dominating for much of the quarter. Olivier keeping Jonah without a possession for the quarter and the wind picking up, meant that Fitzroy was about to get serious.
The ball never left the forward line, with attack after attack sending the ball down through the half forward line of Taz, Sonny and Harry. Sonny marking everything and providing another option forward, Ridley and then Franco slipped forward for a goal with some wonderful running play off the half forward line. The defensive pressure from Thenuga and Alex who were both involved in everything meant that Fitzroy was looking the goods.
There was a strong wind blowing down to the end where Fitzroy was kicking and then the rain came. With driving rain smashing down, the boys just put their heads down and went to work. The instruction became, kick high and let the wind take the ball.
A monumental crack started to appear in Brunswick’s game as the scores tightened right up, when an errant kick from their back line found Harry in the attacking goal square who calmly went back and slotted the goal. Suddenly, the scores were as good as tied up.
The final quarter became a question of keeping the opposition gun quiet and then combating the elements, with the wind still strong and the rain still coming through in waves, the boys had to hold firm and defend.
Dan Boyle, back in the Centre and having a crack, Taz, Sonny and Thomas asked to go to the back line to assist with numbers and getting involved meant that the chance Brunswick wouldn’t score was increasing. The boys were brave as Brunswick moved the ball so well through the middle, but were chopped off across the half back line.
Stoppages became more frequent as the chill started to take effect. With such a large ground and all the running, the fatigue started to kick in. Olivier still glued to Jonah as closely as he could meant that there was no scoring from either team and Fitzroy was still in with a chance.
About half way through the quarter, the ball bounced away from Seb Tully and straight into a pouncing Brunswick tall, who dodged Guy, then Isaac and calmly slotted the goal. We were not to know that Jonah would repeat the performance a moment later, but when he did, the game was shot and it was all about running it out.
In tough conditions, the boys were happy for the game to end and a little disappointed in the result, but happy with the fact that they had come very close to knocking off a very good football team. If not for a couple of small mistakes, the result may have been different.
If the boys stick to the team rules, they will be able to sing the song, more often than not.
Cezary’s efforts did not go un-noticed with the opposition awarding him best player for Fitzroy.
Well done to all.
Match Day Summary – Round 2
Fitzroy 2 vs Heidelberg Tigers – 27 April 2014
Tackers / Under 9’s
An early start was greeted by the sun breaking over the back of the terrace houses and the tree line to the East of Alfred Crescent. With not a cloud in the sky, there seemed to be a good feeling in the air, as the pads were strapped to the goal posts at each end of the ground.
The boys arrived in a random fashion until the Fitzroy balls were whizzing through the air at the Southern end of the ground as the boys practiced their goal-kicking.
Heidelberg were welcomed to the ground and directed to their rooms.
A few other last minute items and the boys were called into the rooms to commence their pre-match address and a warm up.
A few words of wisdom around playing inspiring footy, emphasis on TEAM, discipline and good skills and the boys were out on the ground.
Both teams were asked to line up facing each other, along with the coaches and the umpire at one end. The Last Post was presented from an iPhone, followed by a minute’s silence, which the boys all respected even though the chill hung in the air from the early start.
It wasn’t long before we were underway.
The toss of the coin was won by Fitzroy and Dan (#3) and Jack (#4) immediately chose to kick up the hill, with a light tail wind behind them. A wise choice as it turned out.
The bounce happened, and the boys threw themselves into the contest. Henry (#24) commenced in the ruck with Jack (#4), Zac (#1) and Thomas (#10) in the centre offering immediate assistance.
The ball moved forward, towards the Fitzroy goals with the boys hustling and bustling through a very stiff centreline of Heidelberg. A number of marks were taken with small kicks out of the packs the go. Efforts from Zac (#1) and Henry (#24) to move the ball to half forward was sufficient with the safe hands of Olivier (#15), and Mitch Lester (#20) across Half Forward creating many opportunities.
Heidelberg resorted to defence by congestion which seemed to work well. Unfortunately, the Fitzroy boys seemed to fall into a bad habit of not sitting one kick of the pace for much of the first quarter, so there was not a lot of scoring.
Each time the ball came out, Harry (#22) and Taz (#9) on both wings sent it forward once again. The now familiar run from Franco (#23) off the half back line ensured that Heidelberg couldn’t breach their forward 50.
It was later in the quarter when the scoring started, with a couple of points kicked due to the immense pressure our boys applied to the contest.
Two boys were offered to Heidelberg and it is impressive that Sonny (#17) and Mitch Stone (#7) went across to lend some assistance with numbers for the second quarter.
The second quarter offered a slightly better brand of footy, with the boys rotated to give some support to those in the middle, the game commenced with renewed vigour. Again, we attacked moving the ball better by hand and foot, with Henry (#24), Will (#21) and Dan Boyle (#19) being creative.
The advantage of the wind behind us, which had swung around, allowed the boys to create good attacking football. The skills used by the boys, in particular Jack (#4), Taz (#9) and Olivier (#15) to hit targets meant that the ball stayed in our possession for much of the quarter and it was then that the goals came.
Thenuga (#2) went down with a bang to the leg and was soon attended to by the Trainer. A quick change with fresh legs on and the boy’s pressure lifted. A quick two in succession, was the reward for effort allowing us to take a solid lead. Heidelberg was under extreme attack for much of the quarter and the game plan started to take effect.
The back-line of Seb T(#8), Seb S(#6) and Isaac (#5) repelled a few late forays, but at half time the game was heavily in the Roys favour. Some impressive marks from Michael (#14), Zac (#1) and Olivier (#15) ensured that from our back line through to the forward line stayed true.
In the third quarter, Zac (#1) and Ridley (#16) went across to offer numbers to the Tigers and in the spirit of sport were commended for doing so.
The third quarter was more challenging. With the wind having swung around to the South, favouring Heidelberg, the Tigers found another leg with long kicks and their skill set started to show. They penetrated their 50 a number of times during the quarter placing the back line under pressure which they weren’t used to and they stood up manfully. A couple of points were conceded but with the back line using their structure to kick wide and protect their centre corridor, the Tigers weren’t able to score a major.
Defence quickly turned into attack, with Harry (#22) providing strong drive off the wing and Taz (#9) sitting one kick off the pack, creating another forward thrust option. Thenuga (#2), back on the ground after his second quarter injury took some strong marks in the forward line and had many opportunities to score a major. Guy (#11) shifted into the ruck, stood up well against a much taller opponent, ensuring that even if he didn’t win the tap, the ball was kept to the advantage of his team mates. Dan Noonan (#3) offering some strong leads and working hard to lock the ball in, Mitch Stone (#7) supporting Dan Boyle (#19) at full forward and the strong push from the Half Forward line ensured that the scoreboard ticked over.
The last quarter, with the elements in our favour meant as long as the boys stuck to the game plan and demonstrated strong team values, the game was in their keeping.
Some more instruction regarding the wings sitting one kick off the pace and the half forwards locking the ball in, meant that it was only a matter of time before the score board registered some more majors.
A long goal from Ridley (#16) and then Jack (#4) meant that the game was essentially over for the Tigers. It was just a matter of how well the boys stuck to their tasks.
Some fabulous individual efforts again from Zac (#1), Henry (#24), Michael (#14) and Sonny (#17) off the half back line meant that the ball was always going to move forward. Mitch Lester (#20) and Ridley (#16) found a little bit more of it and Dan Boyle (#19) again created pressure around the goal line.
After the game both teams gathered for a medal presentation with Zac (#1) a worthy winner of the Heidelberg medal. Offering a wonderful exhibition of over head marking and desire for the footy at ground level, the smallest player on the ground stood the tallest.
The boys faced a strong side today and showed good maturity by playing disciplined footy. Sticking to the game plan for much of the game, meant there were many very proud parents and one very proud coach.
Retreating to the rooms, the boys gathered in a circle to celebrate with singing of the song.
Well done boys.
Match Day Summary – Round 1
Bundoora B vs Fitzroy 2 – 6 April 2014
Tackers / Under 9’s
We all arrived early, at what seemed like before day break. The moisture could be seen in the air against our dark blue jackets which is more than could be seen at the far end of the long ground, as the goals were invisible in the distance.
The players arrived in dribs and drabs, all early enough to get some fresh air in their lungs and to feel the moisture in the grass.
The Fitzroy boys scattered in the forward 50, kicking a few balls around in an attempt to get a feel for the bounce and the sense of what the day presented. The Bundoora team on the right half forward flank, commenced their drills.
The parents gathering in many groups, but what was apparent was the ‘man clan’ of dads in the middle of the ground and the mums and relatives scattered around the boundary.
The boys filtered into 3 groups according to their scheduled playing positions, forwards, backs and centres, to run through some basic handball drills and to refine their activities back to a team skill session.
Shortly after, we made our way to the rooms and set up.
A brief pre-match address and the boys were out on the ground, ‘geed’ up and ready to play their best. Over to the coin toss where Zac (#1) and Thenuga (#2), Captain’s for the day, unfortunately picked heads instead of tales. Bundoora elected to kick up the hill to the top end and it was about now when the goals at the other end mystically appeared, as the dew started to lift.
The bounce and the ball immediately moved our way, with strong work in the middle by Joel (#25), Zac (#1), Jack (#4) and Thomas (#10), moving the ball forward to a very likely Olivier (#15) at Half Forward and Ridley (#16) at Full Forward. The pressure from Bundoora was good, but no match for the bullocking and resilience of the Roy boys. Support around the packs from Thenuga (#2), Mitch L (#20) and Harry (#22) meant the ball was going to stay in the forward zone for much of the quarter.
The return of 2 goals 1 point, was far below what was promised, but with Bundoora scoreless, it gave real impetus for a successful day.
The second quarter was up-hill, but knowing the fitness work that the team had put in over their training sessions, the Coaching group knew they would be up to the task and they were. The movement of the ball up the ground was crisp at times, and the pressure around the contest was intense. The team stood up to some big tackles from Bundoora and then dished out their own. They owned the quarter with special mention to Thenuga (#2) who took some big marks in the forward zone and Mitch S (#7) who appeared to be in everything. Daniel (#3) was involved and set up many a scoring chance. When that goal sailed through it showed that the team was on song.
It was about half way through the quarter when one of our tireless runners, Harry (#22) hobbled over and said that he could not go on, with a troublesome ankle sustained in the Practice Match against Ivanhoe last week, flaring again. He did a quick exchange with Jack (#4) who was on the bench for the quarter, who went on to relieve some of the centre-line pressure. Harry made a big statement by putting his hand up to take some much needed rest time, on an ankle that was obviously a problem and must be commended for that.
Most impressive efforts for the quarter came from Franco (#23) who made a real statement from half back, backing up his first quarter efforts, with some wonderful run and carry off the half back line, setting up some tremendous forward thrusts which placed the team in a strong position. Repelling attack after attack and copping a serious bump himself, which gave him a tender hip. Even that was not enough to slow him down, continuing to throw himself into the action again and again. What a trooper.
The efforts in sticking to the game plan was paying big dividends as the scoreboard continued to tick over, while Bundoora could not get it past their forward 50. The back-line of Hamish (#12), Seb S (#6), Sonny (#17), Isaac (#5) and Michael (#14) standing firm, repelling all attacks and creating much drive away from the opposition goals.
The third quarter was a real arm wrestle. The centre line players driving the ball forward and the ball being locked in. Going down hill was handy, but there was no goal kicked as the Bundoora defence held firm. A conglomerate of players milling around the hot spot of Fitzroy, meant that there was no easy kick. Repeated attempts to alleviate the congestion by sticking to the game plan and sit players one kick out of the pack, was ignored by many and unfortunately cost a good number of scoring opportunities.
The boys endeavour could not be faulted and who can argue when some 25 points ahead meant that the result was virtually beyond doubt.
After some instruction at 3 quarter time about remembering the game plan, sticking to what we had practiced at training and focusing on team, the boys stepped out for the last quarter with some renewed vigour.
The ball again carried forward, up the hill. The coaching group were really proud of the efforts of the boys to hold a position one kick off the pack and it paid off. Taz (#9) holding his wing, Thomas (#10) on the other wing, Thenuga (#2) a very strong target in the pocket and with a couple of set shots at goal, a little straighter in his kicking and goals would have been plentiful. Guy (#11) went onto the ball and stood firm while Olivier (#15), changed to give Joel (#25) a much needed rest from the rucking duties, took on the task with vigour. Tap out and then ground work meant he was staking a claim for best on ground. With minimal congestion around the ball, opportunities came from Bundoora’s mistakes with the ball and the Fitzroy boys pounced. Big marks from Ridley (#16) and Olivier (#15) created some icing for a wonderful team effort.
Except for the third quarter the boys showed maturity beyond their years in sticking to the game plan and the results showed.
The song was sung with gusto.
Franco was presented with a best on ground medal by Bundoora and was a deserved winner at that.
Well done to all, a fabulous team effort.
Sunday 10 August 2014 – 10.00 am
Fitzroy 2 v Bundoora
Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy North
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