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The big challenge


Fitzroy’s senior side may be 2-0 for the first time in Premier B, but the big test comes this weekend when they travel to Brighton Beach Oval to play a team sitting atop the ladder with a percentage of over 400!

Old Brighton Grammarians will be a step up in class but so far not much has phased Nick Mitchell’s new team.

The senior coach seemed somewhat of a prophet when he told the pre-game lunch on Saturday to look out for a range of new players, including Nino Lazzaro coming up from the Under 19s for his first game.

Nino certainly made an impressive debut with 5 goals, spearheading Fitzroy’s win over Peninsula in a somewhat fiery encounter.

Nick said the challenge for the coaching group was to balance youth and experience as the talent from the Under 19s and the Colts continued to produce high quality players. The transition is being made easier thanks to the guidance of Michael Pickering, who is playing a development role with the club.

If the best player awards in Round 2 were anything to go by, the mix of youth and experience was executed well during the game, as backman Max Ellis was named best player, followed by Lazzaro and Aiden Burke (pictured above competing for the ball), with the one percenter award. What would have made the coach even happier was the challenge in deciding on the best players – it was certainly an even team performance with an even spread of goal kickers as Fitzroy ran away to a 44 point win.

Needless to say the coach would have been just as impressed with the form of new recruit Mitch Bottomley, who was also playing his first game for Fitzroy Reserves and kicked a cool six goals in his best-on-ground performance. Not bad, coming off an injury. Mitch hails from McLeod and you’d imagine it won’t be long before we see him and his long sleeves in the Seniors.

He was ably supported in the reserves by another new recruit, rated second best on the day, Sam Batterton, who apparently hasn’t played a lot of footy but is a great runner and an elite athlete.

It was also win number one for new Reserves Coach, Richard Willingham, who was blessed with a number of returning senior players in his line up on Saturday against Peninsula, notably Vice Captain Tom Cheshire, Ross Boland (coming back from injury and a cricket premiership for his first run), Max Davies, Jack Dalton, Luke Edwards, Nick Marshall and Matthew Gaite.

Congrats to the Thirds who also start the season 2-0 whilst both Under 19 teams went down on Saturday.

There was more Fitzroy coverage than you could poke a stick at in the Footy Almanac during the week and as always it is great to get the different perspectives. Here are the match reports of King George III, Phil Hill and Rod Oaton.

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Bernie Sheehy to speak before Ajax clash - book now


When Fitzroy plays Ajax at BSO on Saturday 13 May, there will be a man with a foot in each camp who will be speaking about his experiences with both clubs at the pre-game lunch.

Bernie Sheehy, who coached the Fitzroy Reserves in the mid 80s is a great speaker and motivator. His most recent coaching gig was with Ajax from 2009-2012. In between, his stellar coaching career in the VAFA included 3 premierships in 5 years with De La Salle Old Boys. He also worked as Essendon Reserves Coach under Kevin Sheedy and coached Springvale in the VFA.

These days Bernie is a Barrister and Solicitor, having been admitted to the Victorian Bar in 2004. He had an earlier career with the Tax Office.

Fitzroy and Ajax supporters are invited to the lunch at Brunswick Street Oval before the teams meet in Round 5 for the Jellis Craig Game.

Come along and hear from one of the great characters of VAFA coaching.

Book now for your ticket:


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Lest We Forget - Anzac Day 2017


A beautiful ceremony to commemorate those former Fitzroy players and officials who gave their lives fighting for their country was held at the Edinburgh Gardens War Memorial at half time during Saturday’s game.

The memorial was built when the local sports clubs raised funds over 100 years ago to commemorate the young men from the local area.

Fitzroy’s players and officials who died during service are:

  • Harold Collins 1917, six games 1912 and 1915.
  • Jack Cooper 1917, 136 games 1907 to 1915.
  • George Eliott 1917, one game 1905, University 79 games 1908 to 1913.
  • Arthur Harrison 1917, 19 games 1913 to 1914.
  • Arthur Jones 1915, killed in action at Gallipoli, seven games 1914.
  • Sydney O'Neill 1915, killed in action at Gallipoli, one game 1909.
  • Thornton Clarke 1916, killed in action at Fromelles, four games 1911.
  • Tom McCluseky 1917, five games 1911.
  • Alexander Salton 1916.
  • Tom Corrigan 1943, 107 games 1922 to 1928.
  • Fred Heintz 1942, 14 games 1931 to 1933.
  • Arty Gay 1943, committeeman, Changi.
  • Desmond Charles Keays 1943, reserves player, Changi.

Thank you very much to Club Secretary Bill Atherton who organised the beautiful wreath, which featured the names of the fallen. Thank you also to former Fitzroy Director and Life Member, Colin Hobbs (pictured), who laid the wreath and to Danny Wilson who read a letter from former player Jack Cooper. Cooper corresponded with Bob King (Fitzroy time keeper) from the trenches in France, saying “You really don't know how important Fitzroy is until you leave it, and come what may I don't think I will ever smile again until I see that maroon and blue flag flying in front of those two old grandstands.”

Sadly he never did see those grandstands again - he died at war in France in 1917.

Lest we forget.

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