Coach: Brett Croft
0417 053 687

Assistant Coach: David Fodor

Team Manager: Russell Sands
[email protected]

Trainer: Lana Nelson
Trainer: Ellise Pearson
Trainer: Melissa Robbins

Team Page Editor: Cameron James
[email protected]

Team Photographer: Tracy Haritopoulos
[email protected]

The Team

1 Zara Fodor
2 Georgia Sands
3 Holly Larkin
4 Alexandra Croft
6 Claudia Hetherington
7 Eva Mandy
8 Simone Mooney
9 Suwindi (Winnie) Buckley
14 Madeleine De Bondt
16 Alexandra Louis
17 Rachel Da Silva
18 Sophie Hargreaves
19 Eliza James
20 Ellie Sbeghen
34 Chloe Haritopoulos
37 Esther Ryan
38 Ella Robbins

Grand Final - Big League

Ford Park is the new home of the YJFL and the $68mill investment in the facilities has given us an excellent quality ground. The ground seems to have been in action for local sport since the 1930’s. Bizarrely enough in 1931 Ford Park was allocated to Ivanhoe I.O.R “Baseball” club for that season. Weather was cool, sunny with a few ominous looking clouds lingering about. A growing breeze developed throughout the game, assisting the northerly goal end.

For AFL Grand Finals are of course the ultimate measurement of success. Being on top after the home and away season means nothing. Being unbeaten over the season means nothing, having won over a team previously means nothing. Everything resets down to a single game, 18 determined skilled young women vs another bunch of other 18 determined skilled young women. It’s a simple question of who can play better on the day. It’s a little “hit or miss”.

In AFLW, there are elite players who may never get to experience playing in a winning Grand Final side. Will Tayla Harris or Daisy Pierce get to play in a winning Grand Final ? I hope they do. Whilst “big hitters” can have special moments and influence games, the truth of the matter is Grand Finals are won by great teams. The team talk, shepherding, linking-up, efforts, 2nd efforts, 3rd efforts, tackling pressure, gut running, every contest, every spoil, trust and confidence in each other’s skills and efforts; this is the stuff that wins a Grand Final, and our Fitzroy Girls showed bucket loads of this on Sunday at Ford Park vs Banyule.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Babe Ruth

We went into the match as hot favourites, we were “murderers row” (a team of champions), which naturally puts a lot of pressure on the team to perform. Banyule went in as underdogs, but a gritty win in a close match against Kew last week meant they had momentum and confidence. In that context Banyule were always going to have a good crack and they did exactly that. Our toughest games, our closest contests this year have been against Banyule, therefore it seemed fair and reasonable that we had to beat them in the Grand Final.

But it wasn’t easy …..

“Right of the bat”, the game was on. Banyule or the Yulers as they call themselves, came out to play and they brought their family and friends with them. Whilst it was 18 vs 18 on the field, on the spectator front, we were severely outnumbered and under enormous pressure from the opening bounce. On the grass, plenty of “hardball” on display and the Yulers got a 7 to 1 point advantage at quarter time and we realised we were in for a tough game.

Second quarter with the slight breeze emerging, our girls started to “step up to the plate” get more of the ball, but couldn’t quite manage to transfer it to the scoreboard. Half time and Yulers were up 8 to 3. It was only 5 points down, but we hadn’t scored a goal and the look of concern upon some parent’s faces was growing. On the spectator front, we were doing our best to yell support, sometimes with a Yuler rebuke, love your passion Bart.

In the third quarter it felt like a “brand new ballgame” we finally scored a few sausage rolls, great stuff Holly and Winnie. We took the narrowest of leads into the 3/4 time break, the game very much in balance. Nice to see Riley Wilcox (AFLW Bulldogs) at the game watching & supporting her old team mates. I did advise her there was probably a spare set of Fitzroy kit in the rooms, but she declined the offer and said “Nah they’ve got it under control” If she had played it certainly would have been “out of left field”.

With the game still in the balance, in the last quarter our girls played good tough football. We had to “cover all the bases” and ensure there was a contest in all parts of the ground. The game was tied at 16 all and 17 all for significant portions of time. Then Zoe scored a goal and Chloe another goal the “closer” and we managed to keep the Yulers goalless in the last quarter with some desperate defence. If anyone can tell me why the quarters are 23mins long, then I’m keen to hear it. AFLW have 15mins. It’s quite odd and it becomes a real test of endurance and fitness. Many of our girls were suffering “charley horse”(aka cramping) either sides of match defining contests. When the siren eventually sounded we ended up 31 to 17. Go Roys ! A Great win !

Super effort girls, you “knocked it out of the ball park”. Thanks to the coaches,  team manager, photographers, parents and all. Full credit to the Yulers for taking the game right up to us, but it was our year. Thanks to the umpires, who had clearly done their research on our players DOB’s and knew there were no birthdays, so there weren’t many gifts being dolled out. Perhaps the player of the match award to Zara being our solitary gift. A terrific team of young women, a genuine pleasure to watch. And for those players who have won your first Grand Final, treasure it, you earned it.

Over and Out

Tickets to the big dance booked & paid for

Our girls secured a spot in the Grand Final in a fortnight with a dominating display at Koonung Reserve in Bulleen.

Needless to say the oval, is in the watershed of Koonung Creek and a foul smelling mud patch greeted all players ,who found themselves near the centre of the ground. Sadly, I couldn’t find much history about Koonung Reserve, presumably established post 1982 as a local sweetener for routing a dirty big freeway through the area.

The girls were certainly anything but lackadaisical. With Kew only able to put 14 players of the track, it was always going to be an uphill battle for them. As is the rules in finals, you play a full team if you have it, and so we did. Kew judiciously matched numbers in center and also in defence, which kinda meant they would struggle to score, and struggle they did, with their solitary goal coming late in the final quarter.

Clearly having 2 extra players on the field, meant Kew were starting behind the eight ball but a few points are worth a mention;
1. Player registrations, careful planning and execution throughout the season is not an accident, and it’s thanks to coaches and team management for the continued focus in this area.
2. Our girls dominated all parts of the ground, including those areas where there were even numbers.

In the 1st quarter, our girls into the wind scored 2.3 and almost kept Kew scoreless. It was a tough encounter as you would expect in finals.

Second quarter saw a super strong display this time with the assistance of the wind, our girls scored 6.2 and kept Kew scoreless.

Third quarter was continued dominance but this time into the wind, 2.3 and Kew added a point.

Last quarter with the wind and the result all but in the bag our girls scored 6.4 and Kew added a hard fought goal to their tally after a good 5 mins of smothers and tackles. To give some idea of the team’s resolve and commitment, they were pretty disappointed to concede that goal. Full credit to Kew girls, they celebrated that goal like a match win, they fought hard all game.

For the first time this year, the girls notched up a hundred points. A week off now, the big dance awaits.

Any chance we could find another Kew team to play a practice match against? That would make it five weeks in a row vs Kew !!

Minor Premiers - Round 16

In the second quarter the Fitzroy Girls scored 3.1 and kept Kew White Girls  scoreless. That proved to be the critical period of a windy encounter at Stradbroke Park for round 16, the final round of the Home & Away season.

Originally there was a tributary of the Yarra called Glass Creek in this area. Glass Creek ran from North Balwyn directly through Stradbroke Park, past Balwyn High directly into the Yarra. Eventually the creek was put into a drain to aid development of the region, and by 1928 Stradbroke Park was hosting local sports, with complaints about the quality of the ground. Today those drains were showing signs of their considerable age with many patches of mud greeting the players.

But we avoided the rain, with a stiff southerly breeze pushing most of the play into the north side of the ground. The best forward moves of the day shifted the ball to the southern side and thus used the prevailing breeze to move the ball swiftly.  The obvious back strategy was to move the ball out the north side, both teams seemed to get that right for most of the day.

Pretty tight first quarter, with our girls getting their heads in front by 7 points. The second quarter proved pivotal and the girls extended their lead to 24 points. The 2nd half saw our girls extend their lead, to eventually run out 36 point winners.

Kew had some tall timber and many players with polished skill, but our girls had their measure on the day with excellent midfield teamwork and a determined tacking game throughout. Reduced players favoured those players that like to run. Several of our goals were from excellent, fast ball movement, often using the prevailing breeze. Our defence were miserly and our forwards shared & moved the ball well given the fresh breeze.

So despite the mud patches (perhaps in spite of), the Fitzroy girls put together a confident 4 quarters of football to take away a win in the final round of home & away’s. With the minor premiership secured, now the focus moves to achieving back to back flags. The first semi-final awaits next week against …. You guessed it Kew (Blue), that will be the 4th game in a row against Kew.


BEN CLOSED: Local café Ben was closed, creating quite some angst amongst a few parents.

KEW LEAGUE UPDATE: I was obviously joking about the YJFL declaring every team might need to have “Kew” in their name in 2023, but we’ve registered, just in case.

U13 GIRLS IN YOUTH GIRLS ? Apparently there were a few u13 girls keen to play at half time ! Despite reduced numbers, their kind offer was declined. Cute.

A BENCH TWO WEEKS IN A ROW: again the coaches had a few on the bench, hopefully that trend will continue into the finals campaign.

UMPIRE ESCORTS:  What happens if the Umpires need protecting from the Umpire escorts ?  Is there a more senior Umpire escort that takes control ? Will have to research the rules on that one ?

NO POST MATCH COACHES ADDRESS TO PLAYERS: Maybe too cold, with everyone keen to get into the change rooms.

RUNNER STICKS TO ONE SIDE: Part laziness, but mostly driven by player position and wind. Here is the GPS file from the runner.

Round 15

Kew Blue was on the menu for the round 15 clash tucked away at the small Greythorn Park ground. Who knew there was a footy oval here ?

Not many people know but the site of Greythorn Park was previously North Balwyn Wildlife Sanctuary, which hosted many native wild animals. The sanctuary also hosted American servicemen during the Second World War. And so it was with military precision, the Youth Girls 1 team dealt with a spirited performance from the Kew Blue girls.

The competition was on right from the get go. By this I mean the warm ups. Using the same area, both teams had their music and drills running. There was a slight risk it might degenerate into a sone sort of hip hop inspired dance off, but fortunately both coaches took control of the situation and decided to play a game of football.

The sun was shining bright, with a slight breeze, but not enough to create a scoring end or adversely effect the fine skills on display. The coaching staff had a heavy load, with the strange phenomenon of players on the interchange bench.

The first half was a low scoring, tight tussle. Both teams had periods of midfield dominance, both teams defences were tested and stood up well. 21 points each at half time.

Good focus on the ball, from both player Zara & boundry Brendan

In the second half Fitzroy’s dominance in the centre combined with some polished sharp shooting from our forwards. Scoring 6.7 vs 1.0 in the second half meant Fitzroy took a 37 point victory on the final siren.


Kew Division for 2023 ? : Are the rumours of Youth Girls Kew division for next year true ? Will all team’s have to have Kew somewhere in their name by special decree from YJFL ? Only time will tell

Team Manager gets a relaxing game: parents all performing duties as required, correct jerseys available, a distinct lack of injuries & a coffee in hand prior to match all meant Rusty had a smooth game.

Team Song words scandal: A reliable source has informed me that some players, despite weekly practice, have not fully learned the words to the team song. Apparently coaching staff will be requesting some solo renditions in A Cappella style in coming weeks.

Finals Getting Closer: With a full team on the park for perhaps the first time this season, may this continue as we roll towards the finals campaign.

More News