Fitzroy Under 9-S v St Mary’s: It’s so good to be home

The only thing I love more than an 8.45am game at Alfred Crescent is a 10am game at Alfred Crescent. An extra hour of sleep, a second cup of coffee and someone else has cleared the oval of dog poo and cleaned out the clubrooms.

The coaches and players were itching to get on the park and cleanse the memory of our last game.

Messages were simply “Keep your Feet” and “Ground Ball is Roys’ Ball”.

It started as we left off with the defence under pressure and a player hurt. But the similarities ended there. The coaches’ message to the defenders was to look for a player who was leading to space. If they couldn’t find one, then kick it to the grass. Jack, Seb and Leeroy were amongst it early and Jack soon found that kicking to a contest was no match for kicking into space. Once we found the “fat side” we were off to the races.

The second quarter saw Josh come off the bench and have an immediate impact in the midfield. He reads the play very well and ran onto the the long kick for the rest of the game. I was very happy with how he looked for a target before sending the ball into the forward line.

The combination of Frankie, Gus and Henry play well wherever we put them and this week was no exception. They cleared the ball out of the mids and into the forward line time and time again. The three are tenacious and tough and they never give up. And they have lovely manners.

The second quarter  also saw Roman, Johnny and Oliver dominate the forward zone. The scoring was pretty evenly shared, with Paddy and Matt getting a bit of the action too. Oliver tried to share a bit of glory with Captain Jasper but when it didn’t work out he picked it up and snapped it just like big Tommy did the night before. Characteristic over-celebration followed, but that’s alright, I love enthusiasm.

The third quarter saw Joey come back to us from a stint for the opposition, where luckily they didn’t really figure out how good he is. He moved the ball beautifully from the back line out to teammates leading into space, captured perfectly on camera by Richard. How good is that?

Olive took her form from Friday night’s session at the Brunswick St Oval to Alfred Crescent and had a breakout game. I lost count of how many tackles she laid. Three kicks and 6 handballs saw Olive smash her previous best stats. She won a fierce one on one contest with an opponent that should have been a goal, and that play ended up in a goal for us at the other end. The opposition coach rightly recognised her terrific contribution to the team. Great job Olive.

Theo also amassed career-high stats and Meg’s run through the middle with her crazy hair flying behind her is firmly etched in my memory. She just need some encouragement to “kick the #$%ing thing” from a vocal Roy parent who shall remain nameless or risk violation of the Parent Code of Conduct.  That’s alright, it’s enthusiasm!

The fourth quarter was a tougher affair and all credit to St Mary’s, the good folk of Greensborough put together good footy teams. Again we were lucky in that they didn’t get it to Roman, who I am pretty sure was not going to play with the brakes on just because his guernsey was inside out.  He was certainly getting some attention from our defence! Joey went forward and made the most of his opportunities and kicked his first goal. He had a smile as big as the hotdog he scored from the tuckshop after the game. Henry was still running. Some of our players were looking a bit tired, a spell on the bench rather than a quarter for the opposition might have helped. Endurance will come.  Sometimes we forget that they are 8.

The end of the game saw our players shake hands with their opponents and run off the ground together looking more like a team every week.

It’s so pleasing to see so many players improving each week. The game sense is coming together too. But above all that, they really are a terrific bunch of kids. In the words of my Meg “how lucky us?”




About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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