U15-Murray Boys Division 3 2022
Coach: Cameron Cook
0493 066 470
Assistant Coach: Yuri Kossatz
Assistant Coach: Trevor McDonald
Team Manager: Gary Smith
Team Manager: Bridget Smith
Trainer: Lana Nelson
Trainer: Trevor McDonald
Team Page Editor: Clare Barry
Team Photographer: Gary Smith
1 Dylan Cook
2 Freddy Marmo
3 Alex Vocisano
4 Gus Kossatz
8 Jack Smith
9 Chiron Scacciante
10 Harry Skaltsis
11 Henry Nelson
13 Angus McDonald
14 Rocket Hope
15 Ollie Orr
16 Jack Amiet
17 Toby Littlejohn-Sims
18 Milo Maxwell
19 Zac Bennett
20 Oscar Slizys
21 Charlie Hooper
22 Will McManus
23 Frankie Donnini
24 Tom Worn
46 Oskar Brookshaw
Round 15: Sunday 7 August, Brunswick Dragons at Brunswick Street Oval
Brunswick Dragons: 13.12-90
Fitzroy Murray: 5.4-34
Thanks to Lou Scacciante for insights/translations from the grandstand, and Scott Amiet from the city side. And lolly references from Freddy.
Our penultimate match for the season found us once again at the hallowed BSO, getting about in our show-stopping Indigenous guernseys for the second time, surely enough good juju to fuel an episode of How to Tame Your Dragons. Our Brunswick opposition had bettered us 65-33 back in Round 4, and with our huge gains made since then in skill, teamwork and injury avoidance we figured they were beatable on paper.
Toby and Will were clocking up 50 games apiece – congrats Toby and Will!! – and led the boys out via a schmick-looking banner onto a sunny-slash-muddy oval.
We were a little slow off the mark as the Dragons fired off 2 quick goals, and a third. Then from a ball-up at our eastern end Alex got it to Gus who kicked it through the big sticks. In what would become a pattern our opponents snuck in a late-in-the-piece goal to make it 25-7 at the first break. It was a solid quarter for Alex offering good run and running the ball out of the backline, Chiron was strong in defence, and Frankie was presenting a target up forward.
After some impassioned quarter-time direction from Zac and Gus our Roys ran out, if not renewed then at least refreshed. Jack S was on fire in the second, marking everything that came his way and giving us repeat forward-50 entries. Freddy was solid in the midfield and our defence ramped up in the form of Milestone Men Will and Toby ably supported by Milo and Angus. We had slowed the Dragons’ advance, keeping them to 2 goals for the quarter.
The boys hit on a half-time plan to counter the shallow forward-50 entries by positioning our new tall timber Tom at half-forward. He was rewarded with an early goal through Rocket who streamed out of the blocks in the centre and hit Tom smack on the chest. Tom kicked truly from 30 out right in front to get the boys going for the second half. Two minutes later, Harry ran onto a loose ball on the 50, and ran on to kick from 20 metres out for our third.
Not long after Toby intercepted yet again, and created run and carry through Alex, Rocket and Oscar S who centred the ball from the boundary to Gus. Gus converted from 20 metres out for his second and our fourth of the afternoon.
After three quarters perched in the stand your scribe sunbathed away the final quarter on the city-side wing, where Jack Amiet’s Dad Scott was wrestling with his B&F duties.
“I’m battling to choose between them,” he lamented. “It’s been such an even effort by all of them the whole game.”
Right about then Gus sold a corner-shop full of lollies (we don’t do candy here), twisted, turned and snapped beautifully for one of the goals of the season.
Scott was about to sum up our boys’ 2022 efforts… “We’ve taken it up to them every time, challenged them, never dropped our heads or given up,” he said. “The whole season we’ve had a crack.”
And right before the shaking-of-the-hands the Dragons’ chief tamer seemed to concur. “Your position on the ladder,” he told our boys, “does not represent the effort you put in. We thought after half-time we might be able to sneak away but we didn’t get the chance.”
Next week, last game, big chance. See you there.
Round 14: Sunday 31 July, Hawthorn Citizens at Brunswick Street Oval
Hawthorn Citizens: 8.11-59
Fitzroy Murray: 4.5-29
It was a bottom-meets-top-of-the-table-clash when Round 14 found us home again against the Hawthorn Citizens. Last time we met was the morning after a lot of election-night parties, and our opponents must have had a collective early night because the margin that day wasn’t a pretty number for us.
As Freddy tells it, all this flashed before the lads’ eyes as 16 Citizens ran out behind their hulking captain. (We fielded 17 in reply, with a modest bench of one.)
“Last week had reminded us that footy is played for 4 quarters,” said Freddy, “no matter what the scoreboard may tell you.”
A howling northerly played havoc with all sorts of footy paraphernalia, including the letters on Angus’ 50th game banner (congrats Angus!!) and the team marquees that had to be dismantled before they ended up in Freeman Street. It was as freezing as a day at VFL Park in the ’90s!
The match got under way with the Roys looking a tad different in the middle, with Alex added into the mix, joined by new boy Tom along with the old hands in Fred and Rocket.
The lads were showing their wares before the stalemate was broken by the visitors who got their first at the 5-minute mark. But our hard work paid off not long after Fred won the ball on the flank, got it to a running and bouncing Tom who passed to Zac who got it over the top to Oskar B on the line and we were off. But while they replied straight away, Hawthorn realised they weren’t going to have it all their way this time and we ended the quarter just 4 points in arrears at 2.0-12 to 1.2-8.
A lot of that success was down to the obvious effort being put in by our defence. Especially the efforts of the usual suspects in Ollie and Toby, but your correspondent was thrilled by the work of Milo, Angus and especially Dylan who put in his best quarter of the year.
And it was Dylan who provided an early highlight (?!) when he ran into a Citizen’s elbow. The claret flowed freely from his schnoz, and like any self-respecting player, he refused to wipe the blood away before crossing the boundary line escorted by Lana. It was the beginning of a busy quarter for Lana who gave a simultaneous concussion test to Fred and Tom after some ‘heavy work’ by a particular Hawthorn player.
But whether it was the loss of Dylan or not, the lads suddenly appeared to lose a bit of a focus and shape and it looked a tad ominous when the visitors began peppering the goals and we were a little lucky they kicked 2.8 and not 8.2 for the quarter.
So at half time we trailled 4.8-32 to 1.4-10.
The lead was extended to 36 points at 3-quarter time despite a beautiful team goal involving some great work by Jack A who got it to Dylan, then Jack S off to Tom who got the ball to Harry who kicked truly for our second. And though we went backwards on the scoreboard, just like in The Castle, it was The Vibe that mattered.
We were more than holding our own against the top team and it looked and felt good!
And it felt even better after Rocket let fly from 40 after some usual tenacious stuff from Zac, relishing his role as skipper for the day in Gus’ Covid-caused absence. And when Frankie got on the end of a chain involving Alex, Rocket, Milo, and Jack S we were just 24 points behind.
But it wasn’t to be. They kicked the last couple of snags to run out comfortable 5-goal winners, but there are different ways of winning in sport and the bottom-of-the-ladder side had victories galore in this match. Just look at the photo below – satisfied faces all round!
“We’ve seen how far we’ve come since our last match with Hawthorn, and across our whole season together as a team,” said Freddy.
“Although we may have lost Sunday’s game we definitely won the day by achieving improvement throughout the team and as individuals.
“The difference in results between our 2 Hawthorn match-ups reflected not only on the scoreboard, but also in the emotion shown by the Roy Boys.”
Round 13: Sunday 24 July, Fitzroy Wilson at Brunswick Street Oval
Fitzroy Wilson: 9.7-61
Fitzroy Murray: 8.8-56
Footy matches are often famously referred to as “a game of two halves”. And they are – every week, every round, in every season.
But some are more diverse in their respective halves than others and boy was that the case on Sunday when we took on clubmates Wilson.
It was a new-look Murray that took to the field – welcoming new recruit Tom Worn, along with Johnno and Rocky on loan from U14 Gold – the whole squad swathed in loose white clash jumpers that until you got your eye in felt like barracking for the wrong team.
Your correspondent swore that our number 13 was not Angus. “He’s taller, heavier and runs faster than Angus,” he was heard to opine. Turns out he’d had his hair cut.
But you get the picture. Different guernseys make players look different. Like Billy Picken in a Swans guernsey (RIP).
But a glorious winter’s morn got a deeper warmth about it when Fred snapped our first at the 7-minute mark, closely followed by Dylan’s conversion having received from that guy who used to look like Angus. It was Angus.
So we took a handy 15-point lead at the first break, with Alex running amok, ably assisted by Fred, some top defensive efforts from Oscar (obviously revved up by his dad’s regaling the lads on the career of recently passed Fitzroy legend Tony Ongarello – the last man to kick a goal by using the now defunct place kick), and the twin towers of Ollie and Toby providing their usual dose of defensive flair.
When the second started vice-skipper Zac burst out of the guts, gave it to Alex whose pass to Frankie was exquisite. Frankie then got it to Gus who changed his mind about 3 times before drilling our third. Nice start.
A spectacular tackling effort from Jack S was responsible for setting up our next for one of our fill-ins in Johnno and we had added two snags in the first 5 minutes to open up a 4-goal-plus lead. That was extended to over 30 when a rampaging Alex danced around a couple of opponents in the goal square and most unselfishly dished off to Jack who split the middle.
Johnno made himself quite at home with his second after some terrific on-ball work from Zac and suddenly it was half time and we led 6.5-41 to 1.2-8.
Everything appeared to have gone right in the half. New boys Tom and Johnno had displayed their wares magnificently. Zac was putting in a blinder in the middle along with Twinkle Toes Alex who was having probably the best match I’ve ever seen him play.
But as your scribe mingled among the lads at half time there was a noticeable air of cockiness emanating the mud and blood and sweat. Most un-Murray-like!
The boys obviously were unaware of footy being games of two halves. But they should have known. And hopefully a lesson has been learnt. But equally hopefully not a learning!
The third quarter was going along just fine for the first 7 minutes until Wilson finally got their second sausage to bring the gap back to 4 goals even. That then became 3 and then 2 …
A spot of relief was supplied by Gus who brought up his second after some great bullocking work in the mud heap from Will saw the ball forward and we took a fairly comfortable 7.6-48 to 4.6-30 lead at orange time.
But we all know what happened in the last. And we know that Oscar’s last-quarter goal stemmed the flow for a wee bit of time. But we all know we led from the start of the match until there were 40 seconds to go in the last. And then we all went home and saw the Pies had opened a 37-point lead against Essendon in the first quarter.
But while it’s true footy is a game of two halves, it’s also true it’s a game of four quarters.
And it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings!
Round 12: Sunday 17 July, Kew Rovers at Greythorn Park
Fitzroy Murray: 12.11-83
Kew Rovers: 5.14-44
(Big thanks to Lou Scacciante for his invaluable play-by-play and quarter-wrap contributions, without which this would be a weather report, and Freddy Marmo for supplementary on-field observations.)
Round 12 saw us trekking east on the Eastern to Alpha Street deep in the heart of McMansion Country, otherwise known as Balwyn North. Our venue, Kew Rovers’ home ground Greythorn Park, was aptly named for this mid-winter fixture, shivering under a heavy roll of menacing grey cloud. Those heavens turned on thunder and lightning before the first bounce, with hail, rain, wild wind and intermittent sunshine to follow.
But no canteen!
Our opponents, the Rovers, looked beatable on paper, and a sneak peek during warm-up showed a side of decent-sized lads with a skillset to match our own. We fielded a full 18 – Milo sidelined by COVID and Oskar still nursing injured digits – while the Rovers had a 4 or 5-strong bench.
We were on the board encouragingly early, after Freddy gathered, spun and snapped for goal at the northern end 3 minutes in (see pic above). The aforementioned hail hailed a sweet follow-up from Alex who ran onto a loose ball on the forward flank, snapped around and over and bounced it through to see us 3 points up on Kew’s 10.
Our boys’ hard-won team-building shone soon after when Alex, Angus and Zac traded handballs, followed by a long kick from Zac to find Gus at the top of the square ready to kick his first of the afternoon. We know from our round 11 encounter that our boys are slick in the wet, and Harry welcomed a sweep of rain with a classy goal to see us 7 points up at the quarter-time siren. It was a fast-flowing and evenly matched start, with accurate kicking making the difference for our boys.
The next quarter opened with a new fixture on our southern fenceline – a stalwart Bridget patrolling for stray balls that would otherwise bounce all the way down to Alpha Street – not a moment to be wasted in this tight encounter. The Rovers dominated early but failed to convert most of their opportunities, which would allow Fitzroy to score 2 goals against the run of play. Ollie was a trooper down back as usual with strong spoils and repeated rebounds, while Dylan was busy outrunning his man and hitting targets.
At the 12-minute mark Captain Gus notched up his second, after marking from 35 out and playing on, to put us back in front. In a lovely flowing sequence to follow, Alex won a 1-on-1 contested ball on the back flank, squeezed it to Chiron who got it to Oscar, Zac gathered the ball and kicked cleanly from 45 to bring us to a healthy 11-point lead at the half. Rocket was instrumental in the centre in this quarter, handballing and creating run. Angus went hard at the ball, denying the Rovers space, Alex’s creative play led to goals, Oscar played it fast and Will contested strongly in the air.
The second half welcomed Jack A into the ruck with Rocket, combining with Freddy’s roving to create repeated chances inside 50 from clearances. Once inside 50, we locked it in with our wall of midfielders and things were looking good as our intensity lifted for the “premiership quarter” with excellent tackling, pressure from Jack S and Charlie, clean handling from Henry, and Frankie showing his usual mongrel. Toby repelled 3 opposition attacks this quarter.
Our first goal for the third came when Rocket found the ball and dodged but his kick was smothered, so Chiron gathered the scraps, kicked to Gus who dribbled it through for an easy goal, stretching our lead to 20 points. Another 6 points hit the scoreboard as Gus kicked another quick one. Freddy and Chiron partnered up for an off-the-ground sequence that saw Chiron finish up soccer-style to round out the quarter, with the Roys ahead 63 to 36.
Quarter 4 saw our boys consolidate their efforts with 3 more on the board – one from Gus to make his fifth, and 2 more stylish goals from Harry, the first when he laid a big tackle, won the free and kicked it through from 45. His third and our last consisted of a courageous mark from the side just outside the 50, his eyes glued to the high ball. He kicked through for his third – followed by a scuffle to round out the match for a convincing 12.11-83 to 5.14-44.
Woooooo-hoo boys!! Fantastic stuff!!!! This was our best performance of 2022 – a strong and consistent effort right across the ground. Absolutely everyone put in, on and off the ball. We were rewarded with our second win for the season, a rusty rendition of The Boys from Ol’ Fitzroy around the Balwyn barbecues, and a tree-shaking Arctic blast that sent us all scarpering happily for warm cars … and a Murray-Wilson Derby just beyond the horizon. Bring it on!
Round 11: Sunday 25 June, Whitehorse Colts at Brunswick Street Oval
Whitehorse Colts 3.14-32
Fitzroy Murray 3.7-25
June 25 was always going to be a big Sunday. Our first outing in Fitzroy’s fantastic new Indigenous guernseys, our inaugural winner of the Joe Johnson medal, and 2 Murray stalwarts clocking up their 50th games.
Jack Smith and Alex Vocisano’s banner run-through kicked the morning off, a little malfunction with the merchandise notwithstanding (you should take that back for a refund guys…), then a Welcome to Country delivered by Bridget set the scene for our Indigenous round. The aforementioned jumpers designed by artist Emma Bamblett, with input from our U15s cohort, were a riot of colour and culture on our boys as they lined up with thoughts of Joe Johnson, Fitzroy premiership player in 1904 and 1905, and the AFL/VFL’s first known Indigenous player.
Melbourne, meanwhile, was turning on a winter day for the ages – rain, cold, mud, BSO’s iconic skyline view obliterated by low-hanging fog/mist/cloud.
Our boys hit the turf like ducks to mud, turning on a masterclass of high-pressure wet-weather footy. Gus put through 2 goals and Alex, his sights set on 50 touches for his 50th game, had a red-hot go at it in a ripper first quarter and beyond.
The rain soon drove we onlookers into our recently reopened heritage grandstand to form a critical mass of Roys supporters huddled together in the pigeon poop, banter bouncing, imagining the ghosts of great players past, the dashing Joe Johnson among them.
Why don’t we perch here every week? Never mind that Alex had to jump the fence to retrieve a wayward ball mid-game… not a parent within coo-ee.
Quarter 2 was more of the same excellent stuff that kept the ball out of our opponents’ forward 50 until 14 minutes in. We tackled, got to every contest, shut down Whitehorse’s space and easily dominated the first half, without a lot on the scoreboard to show for it. Freddy dropped jaws with an ‘insane’ speccy (thanks for the descriptor Ollie), Toby and Ollie were terrific in their key defensive positions, along with Frankie again throwing his weight around. Gus goaled once more, from a 25-metre penalty, to make it 3.5-23 to 2.5-18 at half time. Our sodden boys ran into the rooms as happy as pigs in…well…mud!
The city reappeared for the third quarter but Whitehorse took things up a notch as the slippery stuff went both for and against us. That ball was a piece of soap on an ice rink (and so waterlogged they replaced it at three-quarter time). Seven minutes in we hadn’t got into our 50, and a series of Whitehorse points totted up and up until we were even at three-quarter time. But every one of our Roy boys was having fun and putting in, avoiding congestions, running wide and giving options. Chiron the Enforcer was particularly hard in the contest. Rocket, as a team-mate noted, “played like it wasn’t wet”.
The sun almost came out in quarter 4, and a battle of the points ensued, 2 behinds putting Whitehorse ahead with 13 minutes to go, 2 from us in reply evening things out again to 25 apiece. Then the footy gods smiled on Whitehorse with a late goal and the win just slipped from our grasp. This was a gutsy effort from our Roys – everyone did their job and went in hard.
And there was more to come as Joe Johnson medals were awarded one apiece to each side. Our winner’s ability to play everywhere has much in common with a scribe favourite – Adam Goodes, who won a Rising Star at fullback, a Brownlow medal as a ruckman and a second Brownlow as ruck rover. Now Rocket Hope has a Joe Johnson medal for embodying the qualities of endurance, tenacity, courage, loyalty and pride. And, like Joe, just a bit of dash.
Round 10: Sunday 19 June, Warrandyte JFC at Warrandyte Recreation Reserve
Warrandyte Bloods 13.18-96
Fitzroy Murray 3.5-23
This week’s fixture brought us an a-w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y game in the wilds of Warrandyte to take on the fifth-placed – and wonderfully named – Bloods. Sunny was verging on warm when we left the inner north, but the trek east brought a temperature drop as our boys stepped out at a tree-lined ground circled by screeching cockies.
With 19 Roys on deck (all but Charlie, who was on a Fijian sunlounger readying himself for a late-season comeback), we had the luxury of a modest bench for the second time this season.
The league’s weirdest siren started proceedings, and things got off to an ominous start with their No. 9 receiving the first tap and kicking from 50 to … hit the post! Early inaccuracy that would mercifully mark the Bloods’ kicking all day.
Our first runs on the board came when good forward pressure forced a rushed Warrandyte kick out of defence to where Captain Zac spoiled, gathered the loose ball, ran to 40 and dobbed it.
But fleet-footed Warrandyte had shown their wares and a quarter-time lead of 21 points seemed apt.
The second quarter opened with much better pressure from our Roys, plenty of strong defending going on. The first had shown the level of 2-way running the Bloods were prepared to do and it appeared to take our lads by surprise. We were regularly chasing tail and their ability to both find and make space was truly spooky.
But when Dylan kicked to Gus for our second, the scoreboard looked a little healthier at 32 to 14, until 2 Warrandyte goals in quick succession sealed a 30-point deficit at the half-way mark and it was back to the drawing board.
Your correspondent was charged with giving B&F votes and needless to say the voting was being dominated by our tall defenders at the long break. The twin towers of Toby and Ollie were constantly under pressure from a bevy of high-flying Bloods. And although we were staring down the barrel, had those 2 not been there doing what they do week in and week out, it could have been ugly. But it was the aggressive physicality of Frankie that really stood out for me.
Warrandyte were not only taller, quicker, heavier – and blessed with with the nous that comes from having played together for years – but they operated with a level of controlled aggression that should serve as a lesson to our lads as to how footy is played as they rise in the age groups. They weren’t dirty at all, they just knew how to throw their weight around, but well within the rules.
One sensed that Frankie was aware of that and he took it upon himself to fly the flag in a manner that he should be proud of.
Quarter three saw our third goal, as Alex found Dylan 10 metres out after good pressure from Jack A, and Dylan kicked truly. With a 3pm start this close to the year’s shortest day, our light was fading fast, and at three-quarter time the floodlights flickered on…
It was a tough game for our lads, but they fought like they always do. Never giving up. And these were opponents we can learn a lot from.
So, onward and upward to next week, when we pull on our new Indigenous guernseys on home turf. Bring it on.
Round 9: Sunday 5 June – Preston Bullants at Brunswick St Oval
Preston Bullants 6.13-49
Fitzroy Murray 3.3-21
Okay, time for Round 9 – officially the second half of the season begins today. Jeez, last year they only played 10 games … must seem like a marathon this season
Okay, let’s check a few things before we get started, Who’s out? Charlie recovering from concussion, Will away this weekend and, Oscar has fallen sick overnight. Damn, that’s an unfortunate out…
So that makes 17 against the league-leading Preston. Are we ready for the challenge? Boys seem up and about and vocal in their pre-game huddle… that’s a good sign.
Okay, let’s see how we line up…
Frankie in the ruck – check! Ollie and Rocket in the key defensive positions – check! Freddy and Henry in the middle – check! Alex and Dylan on the wings – check! Jack A and Oskar occupying the key forwards spots – Check! Zak, Harry, Angus, Chiron on the flanks – Check! Gus up forward, along with Jack S – Check! Toby and Milo down back – Check!
Okay, I’m feeling good about that line-up – we’ve got the ingredients; do we have the recipe right? I reckon we do.
Onto the game – looks like an arm wrestle. Whoa – ferocious Fitzroy tackle, make that 2, wow! The boys are playing well. Preston surges, Fitzroy repels, holds steady and launches a couple of counter attacks. Jeez Freddy in the middle is doing well, Angus makes us tougher down back, well done Ollie under pressure. Jeez we’re holding our own here. Rocket is impacting, confidence is growing, and with that comes extra effort. The first quarter ends with a soccer scoreline of 0-0.
More of the same in the second quarter, the boys are keeping it up. The versatile Toby is in the middle helping his mate Freddy. Wow, Henry is having a great quarter, so many contests. Chiron tackles hard, doesn’t he? Zac does too! Smithy is working hard; Milo has come back with some serious intent. Preston looks ready to score but the defence holds. Will it be a goalless half? Nearly! Damn, the team concedes a late Preston goal and that’s the difference at the half.
At half-time the pride the coaches and players have in their first half is obvious. Could we take it up further to the league-leading Preston? We sure can – belief and confidence go a long way. Good vibes from the team at the half… come on Fitzroy!
Minimal line-up changes at the half, good. Let’s build from a solid foundation. Third quarter gets away from the boys a fraction, Preston hit the scoreboard a few times. Fitzroy efforts remain strong. Frankie is working hard in the ruck; Harry has a touch of class, doesn’t he? Gus tries to find the hard-running Dylan close to goal, nearly! Oh wow, nearly a goal for Fitzroy, hit the post, who was that? Another goal to Preston… Okay no dramas, we’re already proud of the effort. Let’s hope the boys run the game out in the last quarter….and get a goal or 2 to reward their efforts.
We’re getting our hands on it, cool, some overlap run. Preston’s got the wind but we’ve got the ball. Ball is in open space, Alex gets it, he’s 35 out, open goal and he finds Gus closer to home to make certain of it. Great stuff boys! Let’s get the ball to Oskar, he wants a goal!!! We get the ball to Oskar, come on Oskar, yes, he’s got it! Another goal. Come on boys, let’s get another one. Jack A marks, overlap run from Alex, onto Gus who makes it a double. Three goals, great quarter and game.
So we’ve proven a bit today. Be proud of the effort. That’s gotta be the standard. Let’s build on this, work hard, get better, have fun.
For footy to be fun for all, it takes a team effort.
Today (even in a loss) footy was fun for everyone!
Round 8: Sunday 29 May – Kew Comets at Victoria Park, Kew
Kew Comets 11.15-81
Fitzroy Murray 7.8-50
Our pre-noon fixture on the last Sunday of autumn took us to the ‘other’ Victoria Park and an encounter with the cosmically inspired Comets of Kew. It was our second meeting in Season ’22 after a 48-80 loss at BSO way back in Round 1, a score we were set to better in more ways than one.
The sun was shining brightly in this tidy little corner of Kooyong, set behind neat garden beds and a fringe of Euro SUVs tooting politely at any Comet goals.
The match got off to a rousing start with Oscar S crashing through his 50th game banner, the boys following close behind onto a ske-wiff field that fell sharply away at the northern end.
With Milo, Charlie and Toby on the casualty/COVID list we fielded a respectable 17. While 10 fresh legs jostled for space on the opposition bench.
The first quarter was uphill going – literally and figuratively – as the Comets put 4 goals between the sticks at the low-lying northern end, to our none. If not for the great defensive work of Chiron, Alex and Ollie, it could have been uglier.
“It’ll be all downhill this quarter,” promised Coach Cam at the first break.
At this point you scribe’s rudimentary notes consist only of Roys goal sequences, so here they are…
Goal 1: Freddy kicks inside 50 to Rocket who marks and handballs to Frankie who kicks truly for our first of the day.
Goal 2: Rocket, again, marks from their kick-out, looks inside and finds Gus on the lead running towards the goal. The centimetre-perfect pass sees Gus mark 5 metres out and he kicks around the corner for our second.
Goal 3: Jack S is the recipient of a rather agricultural push in the back – Jack looks inside and finds Gus all on his own 20 metres out, who kicks for our third.
Goal 4: Gus kicks long to the mouth of the goals, Chiron takes a strong overhead mark and kicks truly. (That celebratory kicking session with Dad Lou after the previous afternoon’s Geelong win was starting to pay off.)
Goal 5: Fred, Dylan and Chiron mark down the wing, ending with Oscar S who scrambles, kicks into the man on the mark, regathers it and snaps a goal from 25 metres out.
Goal 6: Oscar S to Dylan to Chiron …. goal!
Goal 7: Frankie handballs to Zac who passes to Dylan, back to Zac, kicks to goal square and Chiron picks up the loose ball and snaps from goal square … hat trick!
So, after the first quarter, our Roys matched the Comets with 7 goals apiece. According to Chad: “An awesome 3 quarters of footy – every one of you guys put extra effort on every ball, and I think you guys had some fun too.”
Overall, this was probably our best match of the year. Aside from the first quarter we held our own despite the vast disparity in numbers. Many players – Oscar and Oskar, both Jacks, Chiron (who did it at both ends), Dylan, Henry, Angus and Will – all played what may be their best games of the year.
They were backed up by strong games from Ollie who marked everything in defence, the usual courage of Alex/Vernon to play strong with his variety of niggles, a tireless Rocket whose ability to play anywhere is just wonderful in one so young, the ever-improving Frankie who’s becoming a scribe favourite, and the usual good ball use, manic tackling and nous from Fred.
Another highlight was the effort of Harry who brought back memories for those of us of a certain age who remember the famous “Manassa’s Run” in the 1977 Grand Final replay. Though Harry didn’t take a bounce or kick a goal like Phil Manassa did, his effort to push the ball forward from the back pocket/flank all the way to the forward flank/pocket epitomised this team’s love of the one percenters.
And I cannot not mention the repeat efforts made by Oskar B in the third quarter. He marked, tackled, smothered, tackled and tackled again in a 2-minute vignette of pure old-fashioned G&D. A thing of beauty indeed! He earned a 3-fingered heavy jarring/bruising he can be truly proud of.
Another thing that may not have stood out to too many, but coach Cam would have noticed, was the attitude of VC Zac who responded to Cam’s 3-quarter time call to the boys to be more physical in the last. Your scribe noticed at least 3 occasions where Zac refused to accept cheap off-the-ball shots from our opponents in the last quarter. Along with Gus and quite a few others, there is some good leadership among this crew.
It has been a tough season so far due to the numbers out, but the boys are definitely improving and the never-say-die spirit is on show every week. It takes a lot of courage to keep chasing and tackling when your legs are screaming for a rest into the last quarter. This team is chock-full of that type of courage.
Who needs a bench?
Round 7: Sunday 22 May – Hawthorn Citizens at Brunswick Street Oval
Hawthorn Citizens 24.17-161
Fitzroy Murray 2.7-19
It was the morning after a history-making federal election, and who could have known that the ratio of red to blue on our Roy boys’ socks and guernseys would match that of our shockingly redrawn electoral map?
No teal, but our Kooyong-based challengers Hawthorn Citizens had a little of their own in the form of a freshly minted independent MP. Were they playing their hearts out for Josh? They certainly brought their top game to BSO.
With our casualty list numbering 6 – Toby, Milo, Zac, Chiron, Charlie and Gus – we took to the field with just 14, a number our opponents matched. Officiating was the yodelling umpire who entertained us at Doncaster 2 weeks earlier.
We were fast out of the blocks in an initially tight game. Alex, carrying a knee injury from last week’s Templestowe encounter, and deep bone bruising (ouch) to his right foot (bandaged and double-socked by “extraordinary Dad” Angelo), nevertheless put his body on the line from the first minute. And seven minutes in, kicking from his unfavoured left foot, he received from Freddy at the eastern end to clock up the first digits on the scoreboard. But our opponents quickly broke away and got on a roll, peppering 5 goals in 20 minutes, and it wasn’t easy going from there.
Our boys brought good pressure to bear early in the second quarter, and finished strongly right before the half-time siren after a crunching tackle on Jack Smith bought us a free kick – Jack passed to Dylan who got it to Rocket, who kicked truly from 20.
With things not looking pretty on the scoreboard, Cam, Yuri and Trevor turned on half-time pep talks and tactics – chins up, don’t worry about the score, lay 4 tackles each, target a 6-goal third quarter… Harry took the message to heart for what was perhaps the highlight of the day. Chasing a fleet-footed Citizen all the way from the back pocket to the grandstand wing, Harry kept at it and at it, continuing the chase and finally after the Citizen’s third bounce, he managed to the lay the tackle and draw a spectacular holding-the-ball decision – a sign that we indeed hadn’t given up.
Still, on this day Josh’s Cits were too big, too quick, and too strong. And drew ever-fresh legs from an overflowing bench. When a limping Alex withdrew we were down to 13 players for the second time in 2 weeks.
At three-quarter-time the coaches’ call was to “have some fun” with a slew of innovative positional changes. Among them Olly went into the ruck, Fred to centre half forward, Rocket played on the ball, and Oscar B on the wing. One of those who kept his traditional position in the backline was Will who twice thwarted Hawthorn’s attacks with 2 strong overhead marks.
But while we have to concede the opposition was superior, it’s important to say that at no point did this game look or feel like the numbers on the board. As they do every week, our boys worked hard, kept their heads up, never gave up.
Coach Cam put it well on Sunday night: “There is so much to be proud of. We have kids making huge improvements. We pushed players into things they normally would avoid and learned lots for it. Our kids consistently demonstrated the club values (our good behaviour and respect was noted by the umpires) and on plenty of occasions we skilfully moved the ball from end to end.”
Rumour has it we have now played the top section of the ladder in this grade. Hopefully with injured troops returning to the fray, and matches against the lower reaches of the ladder coming up, we’ll be rocking it like Saturday-night Albo in no time.
Round 6: Sunday 15 May – Templestowe at Templestowe Reserve
Fitzroy Murray 3.11-29
First some pre-match notes:
- Congratulations to Gus Kossatz and Zac Bennett – chosen by the coaches and players as our captain and vice-captain for the season.
- The team was elevated in grade during the week, and now sits in 3 – Green, the same as their Team Wilson cousins.
- The list of injury casualties expanded on Saturday with Charlie and Oscar out of action, joining Chiron and Milo on the injury list. Dylan was also unavailable.
- We fronted with just 15 players.
- Chiron took on the running role, eager to contribute while being incapacitated with his broken wrist. Great stuff.
- The local road closures and detour ‘management’ to just get to the ground presented a challenge to some parents, including this scribe!
To the match itself and hopes for building early momentum were challenged by Templestowe kicking with the aid of a strong wind and establishing a 5-goal lead at the break.
Notable performers in the opening term included:
- Oliver: won many one-on-one contests at full back. I’m so impressed with Oliver’s play all season down back, his improvement is rapid and his endeavour never in question.
- Zac: playing across half back, a real captain’s quarter, with a couple of tackles noteworthy for their intent.
- Henry: set the tone early for what proved to be a great 4-quarter effort in the midfield.
- Alex: as a half forward drifting into the midfield and despite carrying a foot injury, he created lots of link-up play between the mids and forwards
Onto the second term and the team won far more of the ball and contest, however were rewarded with just the one goal from Oscar after some great lead-up play from Gus and Alex. In defence Toby’s play really stood out, here’s another player who has impressed with his growing attack on the ball and improved reading of the play. Freddy exerted more influence on the contest while Frankie and Rocket were having an impact in the ruck and in key positions.
On another day we might have converted a little more, perhaps the wind was a bit tricky and caused some issues with kicking accuracy. There was some strong physical play from the opposition and unfortunately Alex was a late casualty with a knee injury sustained after landing awkwardly from a Templestowe bump.
The third term was always going to present a challenge as our boys tired and were further reduced to just 13 players when Toby sustained a horrible wrist injury from an aggressive sequence of play. What a pity, Toby may miss some games, meaning a key pillar of the team is taken away. The team was outscored 5 goals to 1 in the term, Jack A setting up Gus for a direct kick on goal. Both Angus and Zac caught the eye in this quarter, relentlessly driving the team into attack time and again. Great effort boys, what honest performers they are.
One would have forgiven the boys for trailling away in the last quarter, overmatched and undermanned as they were. However, as is typical of the team, they dug deep, peppered the goals for 1.7 (Gus kicking his second major) and outscored their opponents for the term.
That’s something to hang the hat on for next week – hopefully the cavalry is coming and those reinforcements will strengthen the team. The continued spirited displays from our players is testament to the supportive environment that our coaches Cam, Yuri and Trevor have created.
And a special thank you to our volunteers including:
- Gary and Bridget, our team management team extraordinaire
- Damian, for sacrificing his cherished running role for Chiron, acting as goal umpire and copping a football kicked fair square in the head for good measure
- Jason, who tirelessly runs the boundary each and every week and may have been annoyed at not getting his usual 7 to 10km workout (thanks to an AFL-appointed junior boundary umpire ‘helping’ out), and
- Lana, who always provides great care for our players as trainer.
Onwards and upwards, we look forward to Round 7!
Round 5: Sunday 8 May – Doncaster at Schramms Reserve
Fitzroy Murray 14.10-94
’Twas a glorious day for footy in the shadows of Doncaster Shopping Town when our lads faced off against Doncaster on Mother’s Day.
A gentle zephyr ensured Freddy’s 50th game banner stood strong until the hulking No. 2 managed to crash through it, making the banner appear to be made simply of crepe paper.
Adding to the occasion was the fact we finally had enough available players to have a bench for the first time in season 2022. Plus a hitherto unknown secret weapon.
The milestone man, and skipper for the day, managed to also call correctly at the toss and the Roy Boys were kicking both downhill and with the zephyr in the opening stanza.
The first 10 minutes presaged a close, nail-biting encounter with both sides seeking their own advantage while probing their opponents’ weaknesses with little to show on the scoreboard for either.
Gus followed Dylan’s opening point with the first of what was to be his numerous behinds before he picked up the pieces and snapped from 20 for his, and our, first goal at the 10-minute mark. And we were off.
But the next two went to Doncaster despite the domination of Frankie in the ruck and the efforts of Toby and Ollie down back.
But then Gus passed to Fred who converted from 20 metres for his first of the year and then the secret weapon (Jade, on loan from the U15-1 Girls) drew a high free and hit Gus 20 metres out on the flank who brought up the second – seeing us take a one-goal lead at quarter time.
The second began as the first finished with Jade again finding Gus after some fantastic teamwork from a rampaging Frankie and some hard yakka by Jack Smith who just kept getting the ball forward.
Then another free to Gus saw him bring up his fourth and we’d skipped out to a terrific lead while going against the wind and kicking up hill.
There was some beautiful footy including a deadly inside pass from Dylan to Zac. Even the umps got on board and gave another to Gus to make things comfortable-ish before they gave a couple of frees to the opposition which saw them quickly back to level. But then Oscar S was held and converted to give us a seven-point lead at the half.
They opened up with the first before a most deserving Jade got her first and almost brought up a second in the first few minutes.
But then a couple to Doncaster saw us dangerously relinquish the lead before something happened to change the entire match as well as teach us all about how to play the game.
After one of the Doncaster players took a mark at half back another of their players had a foul-mouthed discussion with one of the field umpires, which saw the ball given to Gus in the goal square to retake the lead.
All looked well when Gus (again) put another through with about two seconds left on the clock and we went in with a 14-point lead.
Coach Cam looked happy at ¾ time but threw himself into his own “gotcha moment” when he couldn’t remember his three “Cs” while trying to inspire the lads. But like Albo, his message got through to those that mattered, and the lads emerged from the huddle with a glint in their eye and a lilt in their step.
Gus to Dylan right on the line gave us a 15-point lead. Then Jade was dumped after her disposal and Oscar B converted the down-the-field free and the stress was all gone.
When Henry then got it to Oscar B for his second it became a search for percentage. A special mention to Henry for his unrelenting efforts in this great quarter
The boys had led, got behind, led again and then through the efforts of ALL managed to snap the arm-wrestle and come out with a seemingly comfortable victory.
There were some fantastic individual games, led by Gus whose 7 goals 6 was simply outstanding. The boy indeed has some talent. It was the best game I’ve seen from Frankie in the ruck who took his chance in Rocket’s absence and shone. Freddy had a ripper in his milestone match and the gutsy defenders in Ollie and Toby once again showed the G&D they always do. Vernon’s (Alex’s) improvement continued apace. And whenever Jade wants to play with us again, I’m sure every boy would be proud to have her run out with them.
So the game was close but we always seemed to have the upper hand. That was due to EVERY player on the ground contributing… well… something! It’s sometimes what you do without the ball that makes you a good team. And to know that your teammate, even if he’s not the best kick or the fastest or the strongest, just to know he’s trying as hard as he can is what makes a good footy team.
And that’s exactly what happened on a glorious footy-filled Mother’s Day.