How did we get here?

An end to the Roy girls run for 2016

A wet and miserable late match boded ill for the Fitzroy youth girls in their first-ever preliminary final. Not only have we had a poor showing in the cold throughout the 2016 season, but we have also had a particularly bad run in late afternoon matches. This didn’t stop the team from running out hard, and although their warm-up was conducted in a chilly downpour, they seemed keen to take on last years’ premiers Bulleen. Our previous history with this team was one win (at home), and one loss (at Bulleen), so we knew we were in with a chance, but that they would take it right to the wire.

Early on, there was far more play in our fifty than the opposition’s, yet the lack of a score on the board can be attributed to the nerves that were running at a maximum for both teams. Abby (11), Maddy(10), Molly (7), Jayde (23) and Ruby (19) all worked hard getting to the ball, putting their bodies on the line, and creating plenty of stoppages. Georgie (3) was another player who seemed to be getting her hands to the ball, but the Bulleen defence was solid and play just didn’t seem to go near our big sticks.

Our defence were certainly not sleeping on the job, with Lara (2) marking and tackling like a fiend. Kat (22) kept her cool and played plenty of good footy, too.  Tilly (8) and Tess (15) contributed to a good passage of play down field, meaning that it took Bulleen the better part of 17 minutes to get a major score on the board.
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Some lovely tackling by Charlotte (25) was to set a tone of consistency for the entire match, as the Roy defenders made Bulleen work for every scrappy point.

The first siren left the shivering  spectators wondering why there weren’t more points on the board for Fitzroy, given the teams seemed very evenly matched out on the field.

Quarter time: Bulleen 1-3-9 Fitzroy 0-0-0

Early in the second quarter, Bulleen worked hard to scrounge two goals from our defenders, and it seemed that they were able to steady and lift despite the worsening weather. Molly led by example, putting in second and third efforts, and her customary turn of speed seemed even faster than usual. Maddy seemed to be everywhere at once, and our entire defence line played their hearts out, but Bulleen still got 4 goals for the quarter. At a point when it seemed we would get no joy from this day at all, Molly sent a screaming kick straight to Charlie (17) for a lovely mark, but again, little result for some lovely play. Amelie (6) was instrumental down the flank on more than one occasion, however, all of our endeavours netted us only a point for the quarter.

Half time Bulleen 5-7-37   Fitzroy 0-1-1

The third quarter started in serious rain, and a temperature of 13’. This only seemed to spur our girls on, as Maddy had a tilt at goal early, only to be thwarted by a terrible bounce. The next few minutes seemed to be all Fitzroy, keeping the ball well away from the Bulleen 50.
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While the Roys were relentless in their attack, the Bulleen defence was right on top of them at every turn. While photographers and spectators alike retreated to cover, the game went on, and no-one on-field had the chance to shiver, as it ranged all over the slightly sloping oval. Some satisfying marking by Charlotte, and the running, kicking intensity of Tess, meant that the score never quite felt beyond the Roys. However Bulleen put all of their finals experience to work, and stacked on 2 goals 3 for the quarter. A clever read of the play by Tilly got a good pass in to Maddy who was able to goal not long before the siren, however we came together at three quarter time with a big job ahead of us. By three quarter time, the temperature was 12’.

¾ time Bulleen 6-10-46 Fitzroy 1-2-8

The final quarter saw no dampening of spirits for the Roys, who seemed determined to take this opportunity while it stood before them. A quick goal from Molly looked to be turning the tide for Fitzroy, however it wasn’t long before Bulleen grappled for control of the ball, until a tidy mark from Jayde stopped their progress. She wasn’t the only one, as Abby also took a lovely mark to keep Fitzroy in possession of the red pill. Coby was rucking strongly, and there never seemed a moment where we weren’t fully participating in the game.
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Second endeavours from players like Bree, Jayde and Emily, and great tackles by Lara kept Bulleen from feeling too complacent about the end score.  Suddenly, when all seemed lost, a huge run from Maddy led to a decent kick straight into the hands of the goal umpire, and we had our third major on the board for the day.

While we had more pairs of legs on our interchange bench than Bulleen, it was not enough to get us over the line. Bulleen had peaked at the right end of the season, and while we had been able to best them earlier in the year, we had clearly spooked them into lifting their game. They had a second premiership in their sights and they were not about to let that go (despite Fitzroy’s best efforts). The final quarter scores were 2 goals 3 to 2 goals 1, which prompted one wit to suggest that a fifth quarter might have turned the tide.

Full time Bulleen 8-13-61 Fitzroy 3-3-21
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Our girls played so strongly until the finish – you made us all so proud! In particular, we leaned very heavily on Molly (7) and Maddy (10), while Charlotte’s (25) safe hands in the back-line proved their worth fifty times over. The development of skills over this year can never be underestimated, and our Roy girls are not the raw recruits who started training back in March. Our coaches, Michael and Gray, and runner Mark, have provided the knowledge and skills to get our girls to a point where senior teams are watching them play and doing some serious recruiting.

It’s a pretty rare thing when a team starts the season with five straight losses, yet manages to make it to the preliminary final. Our team have done the maroon, blue and gold proud. Those that are getting The Golden Boot (our seniors – Charlotte Croome, Molly Eastman, Coby Lowrie, Ruby McDermott, Tess McDonald, Charlie McKinlay, Kat McKenzie, Heather Munro, Lara Peters, Abby Reeves, and Bryanna Maeden), we hope you leave with a sense of accomplishment. For the fifteen left behind, we hope you remember all the good from this year. We are all looking forward to cheering you on in the 2017 season.

More photos here

Go Roys!

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Saving their best for last

It was a beautiful day for football as Fitzroy Youth Girls and Whitehorse Colts W assembled at Victoria Park Lower in Kew for their semi-final match. The teams have similar styles of play, with fast mid-fields and strong key position players in half forward and back. Everyone knew the match could go either way.

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Fitzroy lost their first game against Whitehorse (round 5) partially through fitness, but even more so from a lack of structure. Individual efforts are never enough against a team who work together. In round 5 Whitehorse ran in numbers, protected each other and used their good passing and marking skills to advantage. In round 11 Fitzroy was more focussed, particularly in the third quarter after Whitehorse got a kick ahead at half-time. The Roys used their speed and willingness for second (and third) efforts in contests to take the win.

So with one game apiece during the home and away season and an opportunity to move into the preliminary finals up for grabs, the stage was set for a great game.

The first quarter was very even. Fitzroy had more inside 50s, but Whitehorse kicked straighter, leaving only three points the difference at quarter time.  After a Whitehorse goal, the nerves seemed to settle, and Nell (14) kicked our first goal. Shortly afterwards, Emily (12) kicked a ripper, weaving through traffic deep in the forward pocket. It was a sign of things to come for Emily who ended up with three goals for the day, and was instrumental in at least two more.

Fitzroy 2.4.16 to Whitehorse 2.1.13

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Coach Michael urged the players to be first to the ball. The Roys bench was larger than Whitehorse, so while the skills were even, Fitzroy had the opportunity to run their opposition into the ground if they went hard and used their rotations.  However, Whitehorse kept within striking distance of Fitzroy. The inside 50s were more even this quarter, but solid work by the defenders kept the Colts to two goals. Bree (41) raised a huge cheer from the crowd with first of three terrific marks for the day. Overhead in a pack, as strong a take as you will see at any level, I wish there was a highlights reel. Heather (21) and Charlotte (25) were also strong in the back line.  At the other end of the ground the Roys added another three goals thanks to Ruby (19) – twice! and Molly (7) to stretch the lead at half time to ten points.

Fitzroy 5.6.36 to Whitehorse 4.2.26

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Fitzroy kept Whitehorse’s hopes alive in the third quarter by kicking 1 goal 8.  They peppered the goals with six points before Claudia (9) finally hit the big sticks (her first for the year, by the way, congratulations!).

Fitzroy 6.14.50 to Whitehorse 5.3.33

Clearances were pretty even until the final quarter, but being able to rotate the rucks, Nell, Abby (11) and Coby (13), made a big difference as the Roys started winning clearances all around the ground. Molly (7) seemed to be receiving the ball from every one and finding space to have a run.  Nell (14) and Maddy (10) both put in excellent second and third efforts. Josie (1), Lola (5) and Bree all had turns too. A couple of sweet set shots from Nasteho (20) resulted in satisfying goals. It was a delight to see Emily (12) collect the ball, put her body on the line and turned to kick as lovely a goal as has ever been seen in Aussie rules. Our indomitable Tess (15) also had her tilt at the big sticks, which helped keep the team’s spirits running high. With quarters running a little longer in finals than during the season, Whitehorse went as hard as they could. While all the players’ legs must have been hurting by then, the Roys’ bench kept up their high speed rotations and kept at the contests to run out the game strongly.

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So Fitzroy move on to meet Bulleen, and Whitehorse have to ponder what might have been.

Fitzroy 10.14.74 def. Whitehorse 6.6.42

 

Finals Preparation Starts Now

It was a magnificent Sunday at the Brunswick St Oval as the Roy girls ran out for the last match of the home and away season 2016. Scarcely a breeze, blue skies, and a cohort of Fitzroy senior match-winners on the hill to encourage our girls. But our traditional rivals Ivanhoe were never going to let us waltz off the ground, and ran on with an attitude that was always going to be difficult to beat.

After a depleted couple of matches, we had a stronger cohort this week, while Ivanhoe seemed to have picked up their numbers and intensity as well.

“God they’re fast” was the opinion of the Roys on the hill as they watched Molly (7) break out of the pack and make a quick pass to Maddy (10), who handed the ball on to Nell (14). All of the speed took a long time to be converted, though, and the first score for either side only came at the nine minute mark, when Ivanhoe scraped a behind, and followed it in with a goal.

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With an opportunity to reset, we saw a lovely tackle from Emily (12), and plenty of work in worrying the ball towards the goal. Lola (5) had plenty of touches, but again the team found it difficult to get the ball inside fifty.

Ivanhoe pressed their advantage, only to see a lovely mark into the very safe hands of Charlotte (25). There was plenty of determination by Bree (41) all day, and a great tackle by Jayde (23) was typical of her endeavour.

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Ivanhoe managed another point, and tried out the “lock-it-in” trick so favoured by coaches, but our defenders were solid in their endeavour, and sent the ball forward. As the ball was rucked out into the midfield, we saw Nell kick a stonker way up the field, shepherded beautifully by Kat (22), giving Ruby (19) the chance to have a tilt at goal. While we only managed a point, the “lock-it-in” proved its worth for us, as Nell took a fabulous mark and sent the ball straight between the big sticks.

At the end of the first quarter, scores were near tied, but the sense was that Ivanhoe had had more control of the quarter, especially in terms of structure and making position to receive the ball.

Quarter One: Fitzroy 1-2-8 Ivanhoe 1-3-9

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The second quarter saw renewed endeavour on the part of the Fitzroy cohort, although we still had difficulty converting a ball arriving in the fifty into actual scores. Some nice work by Amelie (6) in the tackle and smother department meant that Ivanhoe had to work for every crumb. Still, the ball made its way into the hands of their full forward more than once, and she was not slow to capitalise on the possessions. The usual suspects in the back line worked seriously hard, rushing behinds, and giving Charlotte (25) the chance to create some lovely clearing kicks, but it seemed that the marks just weren’t sticking further up forward.

Halfway through the second quarter, the score had blown out to 29-8, and there was a palpable energy drop on the field across both teams. Perhaps it was the brilliant sunshine, or perhaps they had all run too hard in the early part of the quarter, but there was to be only one more point for the quarter, and that to Ivanhoe. That’s not to say that there weren’t some nice notes in the play – Charli (17) took a lovely mark and passed it on to Ruby (19) who was playing her usual hard game, and we saw several players including Georgia (3) Heather (21) and Lola (5) in the middle of contests.

At half time the players stayed in the centre in the sunshine, with the scoreboard standing still for Fitzroy.

Half Time Fitzroy 1-2-8 Ivanhoe 4-6-30

There was no fairy tale ending for Fitzroy this game. Read the first half again if you want the story of the second half. The score was similar too: Fitzroy collected another 1.2.8 while Ivanhoe added 2.2.14. Maddy (10) kicked Fitzroy’s second goal after good teamwork to push the ball into our forward 50. All up, individual efforts weren’t rewarded as an energised Ivanhoe kept the pressure on Fitzroy all day, to gain a win and end their season on a high note.

Full time: Ivanhoe 6.8.44 def. Fitzroy 2.4.16

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Football is a game that is played in your head as much as on the field. We could all feel the game getting away from us, but with two quarters to go Gray observed: “Finals preparation starts Now”. Michael reminded the girls that it was the small things that would let them get back into the game. Run to help. Congratulate good work by team-mates. Enjoy your footy. You may not win, but you can still carry the Fitzroy Pride.

Finals start this weekend, and we are lucky enough to be a part of them. And we have the capacity to go all the way – but each and every player needs to find that finals intensity. It wasn’t on the field much on Sunday, but we know you are capable of it. Go Roys!

More photos here

Bullants ensure match is no picnic

Sunday 31 July was surprisingly sunny, after a stormy Saturday, and it was a somewhat depleted Roys Youth Girls who ran out on to Bulleen’s east oval. The order of the day was 14-a-side, with a body on the bench in reserve in both camps. The smaller team format meant there seemed to be more space out there on the oval, giving the players all the chance to run a little more than usual.

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The back line got a fair bit of work early on, and proved their capacity to send the ball forward was not diminished. An early goal to the Bullants showed just what the Roy girls were up against this day, and galvanised their will. Coby (13) took on a strong role in the ruck, handing possession to the onballers on a regular basis. It was a pleasure to see Ruby (19) tearing through the pack as per usual, while Jayde (23) landed some great tackles. As always, Molly (7) put in second and third efforts, and sent the ball forward time and again. While both sides had the same number of inside fifties, it was only Bulleen who managed to score during this period. Some lovely defence (like a goal-stopping mark by Heather (21)) meant that they had to work for every major score, of which there were four. Charlotte (25) played a blinder of a first quarter, setting the standard for the rest of the team throughout the day with her work ethic, cleaning up and returning the ball to the onballers time and again, while Kat’s (22) tackling and strength in the mid field proved essential in getting the ball into our fifty. At quarter time, it was 4-0-24 to a row of duck eggs, but the coaches were quick to point out that the scoreboard was not reflective of the work put in by both sides. They asked the team to look for strong match-ups at each and every stoppage. The acknowledged the capacity of the Bullants to move the ball quickly, and reminded the Roys that they were also perfectly capable of doing so.

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If there was a “scoring end” hoodoo in force today, the Roys now had a crack at ‘the good end’. As the wind rose a little, the Bullants continued their push for goals, only to be met by Charlotte and a lovely mark. Within moments, the ball was in the hands of Molly and a goal the result. There was no room for passengers as the intensity lifted, and strong play from Emily (12), Tilly (8) and Gabi (16) warmed the hearts of onlookers. Bulleen were not giving up, though, and there were some tense moments in their goal square before our backs prevailed again. Contributions by on-ballers like Amelie (6) helped turn the tide for the Roys. The conditions after all the recent rain meant the ground and ball were slippery, and some very strange bounces were not always in the Roys’ favour. Even so, they managed to end the quarter with two goals two, (both majors by Molly) while Bulleen only managed a couple of minor scores for the quarter.

Half time: Bulleen 4-2-26 Fitzroy 2-2-14

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While the entire team worked hard in the second quarter, it was the third and fourth efforts of the defenders that marked the third quarter. Charlotte saw yet again a lot of possessions, while Tilly put in some terrific tackles. Emily, Jayde and Bree (41) seemed to be everywhere at once, which must have been seriously annoying for Bulleen. Meanwhile, Heather at full-back seemed to have her hands set to “safety mode”, collecting up the ball and sending it forward at every opportunity. With Molly up one flank and Ruby the other, it seemed a strategy that was destined to pay off eventually, and a lovely passage of play from Ruby to Nasteho (20) and back to Ruby seemed a certain goal, however it hit the post, causing one spectator to complain “that hurt my brain”. Meanwhile, Bulleen piled on the pressure on their home ground,  adding a major and three minors for the quarter. Lara and the rest of the backs seemed to also ramp up their efforts, but that post-hit was the only score for the quarter for the Roys, as the siren went just seconds before Ruby could send the pill through the big posts again.

¾ time: Bulleen 5-5-35 Fitzroy 2-3-15

The lengthening shadows pointed out the lateness of the hour as the Roys took the field with only four decent kicks in the match. While play ranged from one fifty to the other without much in the way of score change, there were some very tense moments in the Bullants’ 50, at one point only pulled by up by a deliciously goal-arresting mark in the hands of Charlotte. Coby (13) played an intense game in midfield, as the opposition worried the ball towards the non-goal scoring end (so far). A final goal took a lot of work by the Bullants, however, their celebrations were truncated somewhat with a satisfying goal (finally!) to Ruby. Scrappy play inside our fifty meant that another score took some getting.  Some good leading by Nasteho meant she could take a nice mark at the top of the square to provide the Roys with a tidy fourth goal for the match, however it was a case of too little, too late, as the final score was to show.

Bulleen: 6-7-43  Fitzroy 4-3-27

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So what does this tell us? We could very well meet Bulleen again in the finals, and there is no doubt they shouldn’t be underestimated. That there is a triple negative, folks, and the only negative we should be allowing into our psyches over the next few weeks. We know what it is we have to do, and our coaches know what to say and do to get the best out of our team. If we show up to training, put in the work, and value our team mates, there is no reason we can’t finish the season singing that magical song.

Runs like a Girl was pleased to be your match reporter this week. Seen something terrific? Email us at rainbowinspace@iinet.net.au and share what you’ve seen!

Photos here!

Down but not out

 

Fitzroy never recovered from a slow start in their top-of-the-ladder clash against Beverley Hills.  In some ways it was a mirror image of their round 7 game under lights at Victoria Park. However, this time, it was Fitzroy in the clash-jumper, and Beverley Hills at home who came out hard to keep the ball in their forward 50 for much of the first quarter. While they didn’t have it all their own way as the Roys defenders worked hard, Fitzroy found it difficult to clear the ball under consistent forward pressure from the Hills’ girls. It was just a matter of time before multiple points gave way to goals. The first quarter ended with Beverley Hills 3.3.21 to Fitzroy 0.0.0.

The second quarter was easily the best of the day for Fitzroy.  Early on it looked like Beverley Hills were going to just roll on, but a tough contested mark from Ruby (typical of her efforts all day) started a strong drive forward. Kat took the contest on and her second efforts created space for Maddy to take possession and deliver a kick from half forward for the Roy’s first goal. Maddy got Fitzroy’s second (and last) goal for the day a few minutes later. Half-time was Fitzroy 2.1.13 and Beverley Hills 4.4.28.  We went into the half-break with a feeling that we could work our way back into the game.

Alas this wasn’t to be, as Beverley Hills went on to kick another 7 goals 5 in the second half to Fitzroy’s lonely two points.

Beverley Hills 11.9.75 def. Fitzroy 2.3.15

Disappointing, but not a disaster. This is Fitzroy Youth Girls’ first loss since round 5, leaving us with 6 wins after 13 rounds. With two rounds to go we are guaranteed to play finals for the first time in since the Youth Girls were formed three years ago. Whatever happens from here is new territory.

There was much to like about the game too. Bree was hard at the ball, and there were moments of terrific play from Molly, Josie, Lara, Georgie, Tilly, both Charlottes, and Amelie. Tess was vocal and did some nice work in packs including making outlet handballs. Abby and Coby worked hard in the ruck against a big, skilled player. Jayde gave away a lot in size but still stuck to her player and tackled, bumped and got at the ball. There were no passengers despite the score, in the cold and sticky morass that is Zerbes Reserve. Our girls acquitted themselves well, playing the brand of passionate footy and upholding the club values that we admire.

After the game the coaching team told the girls they were proud of the playing group. And we are too.

Get to training. Go for a run. These are exciting times.

Go Roys!

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Cub reporter Dave this week as Runs like a girl takes a well deserved break. This means no photos either this week, unless you have some to share. Drop us a line. 

Roys take a hard look with finals in view

With all four top teams hungry for the head spot on the ladder, it was a ravenous Fitzroy Youth Girls who ran out on to Peterson Oval on Sunday 10 July 2016. Their opponents, Whitehorse Colts, fielded 14, leaving the Roys with a shivering bench of five. After a couple of weeks break, everyone was keen to get back out on to their home turf.
A rare sight in Youth Girls footy at the start of today’s game – a banner for 50 (+1) games for player number 55 for Whitehorse. Our congratulations to a player who acquitted herself well throughout the match. It won’t be too long until we start being able to celebrate some of these milestones ourselves.27981020300_79e2be4968_k
The match started rather scruffily, with lots of skirmish in the midfield. Our midfielders seemed to be everywhere at once, with Molly (7) seemingly doing her own shepherding at one point, and putting in second efforts at every opportunity.

A lovely goal by Maddy (10) lifted the spirits of the crowd in the 1888 Cricketers’ Stand, and set our expectations pretty high for the rest of the match.

Things became rather scruffy again for a time, until a lovely mark by Claudia (9) started to give the Roys some direction. Suddenly the ball was in the hands of Nell (14), who wound up and provided us with a very satisfying second goal.27981017930_9ed50448e2_k
Whitehorse were not prepared to stand for this, however, and brought the ball into their own fifty, only to be stopped by stalwart Charlotte (25) with a lovely mark in the Colts’ goal square. Whitehorse kept coming, however, giving our backs plenty to do. Lara (2) showed great form with some tidy kicking and marking before the siren.

Quarter Time Fitzroy 2-2-14 to Whitehorse 1-1-7

Chill and damp pervaded the second quarter and the deleterious effects of the school holiday break on our fitness was evident. Lots of to and fro in the midfield, seeing our on-ballers work hard but seemingly unable to convert to a major score. Whitehorse took advantage of their structure to move the ball toward their goal, giving our backs a chance to keep warm. Again Charlotte was instrumental in returning the ball to the centre, but we were only able to create minor scores from the work of the on-ballers. Spirits flagged in the stands when a goal on the siren pulled Whitehorse in front, and our players jogged in to meet a couple of incandescent coaches in the rooms at half time.

Half time Fitzroy 2-4-16 to Whitehorse 3-1-19

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It was a shocked Roy team who ran out after the ‘jelly-snake-and-orange-break’, lollies being the only sweeteners in a very tense 12 minutes in which no names were named but few players could feel proud of themselves. Heartened by the unstoppable Tess (15), the team returned to play with renewed vigour. This resulted in lots of play down the Brunswick Street goal end, and a couple of minor scores, with everyone having lifted their game. Maddy (10), Molly (7), Nell (14) and Ruby (19) all put in their customary good work, along with everyone else. Bree (41) showed excellent use of the body, while Jayde (23) got the ball out-from-under (as she so often does) to a handpass to Heather (21), who handpassed to (and then shepherded for) Nell, who kicked a stonker of a goal, bringing some satisfaction at last to the coaching team. Claudia again sent the ball forward with a lovely kick, while Kate (22) put in some excellent work in shepherding. Jayde (23) was well able to hold her position with great use of the body, while Bree was tenacious in her attack. Some smart kicking and use of the structure brought the ball forward more than once, resulting in another goal from our marvellous Maddy (10). This entire quarter was dominated by the Roy girls, although Whitehorse gave it a red hot go. The quarter also saw second and third endeavours by Heather (21), playing, most unusually, in a forward position, and looking rather comfortable there. It was also great to see Emily (12) back in play after injury, cleaning up the ball and sending it forward on more than one occasion.
The smell of the crusty pies drifting up into the stand could never be as delicious as the sweet scent of victory, and with Tilly’s (8) tidy handpassing to Tess and Ruby, it was only a matter of time before Nell was able to bag another goal. A word here about our on-ballers. When they are on song, the Roys play like a team possessed. In that third quarter, each and every one of them lifted and put in second and third endeavours. Bree and Lara showed plenty of pluck, while Abby (11) and Georgia (3) put in a combined play that was as satisfying as an Ali one-two combination. Maddy (10) sent the ball forward with a beautiful kick, which went from Claudia (9) to Nell, resulting in another excellent goal. Whitehorse must have had a difficult three-quarter time, having had no scoring opportunities in the entire quarter.

Three Quarter Time Fitzroy 6-7-43 Whitehorse 3-1-19

The drizzle came down in the break, and refused to let up for the rest of the match, but this didn’t phase the Roy girls, who were more than ready to slam the match home. Some lovely moments included a sweet Molly kick to a lovely mark for Ruby, and some good use of body by Lara. Tilly and Kate were terrific in their respective positions, and Charlie (17) took a tidy mark, all of which added to continued effort on the field. The wet and chill, and the effort of sustaining four quarters took their toll, as both teams were only able to manage a few minor scores before the end.27646461113_86031c14ad_k
This match highlighted a few things for your humble reporter. Fitness, such an elusive element, really does play a vital part in being able to put in for a whole game. The players who seemed able to play an entire match are in all truthfulness, the ones who have a high level of fitness, and who come to training on a regular basis, but also put in extra work into their fitness.

That said, fitness is only part of the equation. Our team has a particular style, as any team does. Without training together and learning to work with the team, even the most decent mark can’t be converted to a goal.

Our coaches. How extraordinary are they? Michael, Gray, and our runner Mark put in so much thought and planning into each and every match, and the times when you make them smile, you make all of us smile. When you listen to them, and build your fitness, you, my dear Roy Girls, have the capacity to be singing That Theme Song at the end of the Grand Final this year.

Final Score Fitzroy 6-9-45 Whitehorse 3-2-20

Photos here and here

Seen something fabulous?
Email your humble reporter “Runs like a Girl” at: rainbowinspace@iinet.net.au

Team by Team

Five matches to go and the top 4 teams are all sitting on five wins each after 10 rounds. Fitzroy is in fourth spot on percentage. Above us on the ladder are Whitehorse Colts, who gave us our last defeat way back in round 5, and Beverly Hills and Bulleen, both of whom we have beaten in tough matches.

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Here is my team by team take for the Youth Girls (2).

Beverly Hills are on top of the ladder after round 10, equal first on points and leading by percentage. Any team dreaming of a grand final will have to defeat Beverley Hills. They play good footy, with players capable of winning contested possessions and creating those outlet hand passes to move the ball quickly into their forward 50. To defeat them you will need to be accountable, look after you team mates, and run hard all day.

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After a good start to the season Whitehorse Colts seem to have faded a little in more recent matches, loosing in rounds 8 and 9 (and encountering a walk-over in round 10). However, they have good key position players and a couple of excellent smaller (and fast) forwards so don’t write them off yet. Whitehorse are good club and there is plenty of time for them to turn things around.

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Since moving to division 2 in round 5, Bulleen Templestowe have won all of their games except one, round 9 against Fitzroy. They’ve beaten Beverly Hills twice and Whitehorse once. They are hard at the ball, have some good kicks as well as players who are capable of holding onto a pack mark. Bulleen just may be the benchmark of the second half the year.

Claudia (9) takes a run

Fitzroy have a story that is similar to Bulleen. A move to division two after four losses in the first four games, but winning 5 of 6 since then, including tough contests against Beverly Hills and Bulleen. However, their game is different to the contested footy of Bulleen. Fitzroy win when they can exploit their superior speed. They have worked hard at training at putting their head over the ball, protecting each other and looking for the outlet handball. When the Fitzroy mid-field get into top gear, they are a hard team to stop. In addition, they are capable of applying pressure right across the field. Forwards lay tackles, keeping the ball in their forward fifty, and their backs are capable of clearing the ball with both kicks and running handballs.
It is in Fitzroy’s hands just how far they go this year.

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I feel for Ivanhoe. Only two wins for the year, but since round 5 they have not lost a match by more than 13 points and defeated second placed Whitehorse by 8 goals.  I’ve seen them play twice, both times going down to Fitzroy, and both times they were up half-way through the final quarter but just couldn’t hang on. If they find a way get the ball to their center half forward more frequently (and a bit deeper in their forward 50), Ivanhoe will start to have some wins and not just honourable losses. A mathematical chance for some finals footy, they are mostly playing for pride now. And they are a team with some pride.

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Parade St Damians are having a rough year. Without a win to round ten and starting to forfeit games this is not a good sign for one of the clubs who pioneered women’s and girls’ footy in the northern suburbs. I hope they find a way through as a team and as a club.

Given the points lead over Ivanhoe and Parade St Damains in fifth and sixth places, it seems unlikely the composition of the top four will change by the end of the season. However, with only two points between first and fourth, the final order is not yet certain. With six teams in the Girls Youth division 2, every team has a chance to play every other team over the remainder of the season, which will give us a good idea of form going into the finals.

D.

Roys Bring Home a Nailbiter

Fitzroy v. Ivanhoe

The first Saturday of the winter holidays brought its own very chilly challenges for the Roys this weekend. Ford Park laid on a special nine degree icy wind, to keep the spectators from getting too comfortable in the sunshine. With no Roys on the bench, and only two on the bench for Ivanhoe, the sides that ran out seemed evenly matched, and it took us a few moments to get our bearings. After an initial tilt found only the small sticks, the cheer squad were pleased to see Ruby (19) smack it through for six.

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As always, the brilliance of players like Maddy (10) shone through, with her good use of the body again and again showing how it should be done. Bree (41) was persistent throughout the game, tidying up and sending the ball forward. Lara (2) at half back showed continual pressure, and worked with her fellow backs to keep the Ivanhoe forwards from getting near the goal. The first quarter was a particularly nice display of ‘how it should be done, Fitzroy-style’ vis à vis tackling, shepherding, and playing as a solid team.

That said, the cold was clearly getting to players, as it took us a few more points before we managed another goal. This time it was Molly (7), collecting a ball out of an untidy pack (as she often does), accelerating out and around and sending it through the big sticks.

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Some lovely tackles by Georgia (3) and Nasteho (20) helped to slow any work from Ivanhoe to a crawl, but the ball did creep into the opposition 50. Charlotte (25) was instrumental against a key Ivanhoe player, and consistently hampered her efforts to get near the goal. Time and time again our defenders sent the ball back in our direction, and it was only in the dying minutes of the quarter that Ivanhoe managed to collect their first goal.

Quarter time: Ivanhoe 1-1-7, Fitzroy 2-3-15

The second quarter saw the Roys kicking against the breeze, but they showed their resilience, as the temperature stayed icy. So many players held strong, using the body well, such as Ruby’s shrugging off of a tackle, to the never-say-die attitudes of Bree, Georgie, and Amelie (6). Tilly (8) played a gutsy game, and there was great strength shown across the side as they realised there would be no respite today. While Ivanhoe achieved only a couple of minor scores, thanks to our brilliant defence, we were able to sneak another goal in with a beautiful kick from Nell (14).

Half time: Ivanhoe 1-4-10 Fitzroy 3-6-24

The third quarter chilled considerably as the sun went in, but this did nothing to dampen the players spirits. Ruby kicked us another goal just to remind us what we were here for, and the Roys maintained their pressure, and used the from-Mt-Hotham-with-love-breeze to their advantage. Ivanhoe were not at all prepared to give in, though and found 2 goals 2 during the quarter. A lovely tap on from Nell at the fifty was collected by Maddy (10) who, with great presence of mind, steadied, found her centre, and kicked a delightfully satisfying goal.

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Coby (13), Tilly and Lola (5) worked hard and strong in the midfield, scattering the pink-and-grey galahs in their wake, and helping the Roys maintain their lead.

Three quarter time: Ivanhoe 3-6-23 Fitzroy 5-7-37

In the bitter ¾ time wind, the Roys gathered and heard from the coaches, who encouraged them to contest the ball, make an impact and support each other. Tess spoke up, saying “back yourselves” – a piece of advice that was going to be needed, as the final quarter was a tense piece of football theatre. With our team kicking against the breeze, and one of our players helped from the ground early on, we played short, which gave Ivanhoe the opportunity to make some noise in their forward fifty.   Determination and courage in our back line helped again in keeping their scores to a minimum, but Ivanhoe did manage a goal after much harrying, to put themselves in front. Our girls did not back down, however, and drew several frees in the ensuing play. Tess (15), playing her usual dedicated brand of footy, drew a free at the top of the square, and it was to huge cheers that she sent us back in front with a goal. With only a decent kick in the game, tensions were high, and this spectator noticed a certain coach looking as though he may chew through the brim of his hat!
Your humble reporter can’t begin to mention the players who drew on third and fourth endeavours in those final moments. One particular mention has to go to Maddy (10), collecting the ball neatly from the pack, then doing her own shepherding to move the play towards goal.

As the siren went, there was a moment of quiet, as if no-one could quite believe we had survived.

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Congratulations to the small and frostbitten band who played today. The win was well-earned against worthy opponents. May your two weeks of R&R be restorative and enjoyable. A huge thank you to the parents and family members who came along and helped out, as well as those who came specially to barrack for our team. Your support makes the day so much more enjoyable, and I know our girls did you proud today.

Fitzroy 6-7-43 def Ivanhoe 5-10-40

More photos over at Flickr

Girls Play Footy

At the end of a day of red hot footy by all the Fitzroy girls, the chill was beginning to descend as Fitzroy Youth Girls lined up against an unknown quantity, Bulleen. A cold mist coming down meant spectators and players alike started to feel the cold, with the temperature dropping to 11 degrees by the time the final siren went. Our Roy girls were not daunted, however, and put on a stunner of a show for all who braved the cold.

An early point on the board to Fitzroy belied how much time the ball was spending in the Roys forward half. Claudia (9), Bree (41) and Charlotte (25) diligently sent the ball back to our forward line every time it looked likely to get near the Bullant goal. Lovely play by so many players showed exactly how the training sessions are paying off, with a sweet mark by Kate (22) drawing applause from the historic stand at Brunswick Oval.
Josie (1) showed impressive athleticism and chased hard, her speed causing problems for Bulleen on more than one occasion.

Bulleen was the first to put a major score on the board, which was quickly answered with one of our own by Maddy (10).  Persistence and some very satisfying handpassing resulted in a second goal, this time to Nell (14), while several other shots yielded only minor scores. With the temperature at 12C, the quarter time score was Fitzroy 2/4/16 to Bulleen 1/0/6.
Amelie (6)

The Roys came out just a strongly in the second quarter, with plenty of work for Coby (13) in the ruck. Some nice judgement from Lola (5) showed the Roys to their best advantage with the ball again moving in the correct direction (ie, towards the Roys goal). Amelie (6) showed some style with a lovely run-and-bounce, but it took a while for further major scores to eventuate.

Georgia (3) showed she has an eye for a tidy handpass, while some splendid persistence from Claudia (9) drew a free. Jayde (23) seemed to surprise herself with her own tenacity at one point, laying a brilliant tackle, while Emily (12) also put in some good solid tackles.

Tess (15), as is so often the case, was responsible for marvellous second and third endeavours, while Molly (7) accelerated out of the pack, ball in hand, on a regular basis.

A massive kick by Bulleen resulted in a dramatic hit-the-post, the first of two in this quarter, while the Roys only snuck in a couple of points, leaving the half time score at Roys 2/6/18 to Bullants in the lead with 3/4/22.

Josie (1)

After half time, the Roys seemed oblivious to the fact that it was now 11 degrees C, with a renewed attack on goal by Bulleen neatly tidied up by a mark by Heather (21) at full back. Nasteho (20) really came into her own this half, with some lovely tackling, a beautiful mark and a goal to delight the spectators, and reclaim the lead. Maddy (10) played a strong game throughout, amid a crew of impressive players who clearly understood each others’ strengths and made the most of them.

The defenders stood strong throughout, and continued to send the ball back to the midfield, providing Molly (7) with yet another opportunity to weave her way through the pack and deliver  Nell (14) a lovely mark so she could bag us another goal. The smile muscles on the coaching side were working overtime by this stage, as we went into three quarter time with the score at F 4/9/33 to B 3/4/22.

Dark began to fall on one of the shortest days of the year and the lights went on for the final quarter, but the Roys had a win in their sights. The Molly-Nell combo proved it wasn’t a once-off, with another goal to begin the final quarter, followed up rather  neatly by an over-the-shoulder stunner from Nasteho to round her bag out to two for the day. Bulleen replied with a goal of their own but it wasn’t enough, as Claudia sent a kick into the square, where it was stolen by Nell, for, you guessed it, another goal!

Molly (10)

Bulleen kept the pressure on right up to the siren, but the depth of our team shone through. Our advantage in having a bench of five paid off in those last moments, as a few sore and chilly players were able to rest out the game, while our side looked just as strong as ever on the field. It was a satisfied team who sang the song in the rooms, with the scoreboard at 7/10/52 to Bulleen’s 5/7/37.

Claudia (9) takes a run

The spectators who were charged with awarding votes found the task extremely difficult this week, and it’s your humble reporter’s opinion that there were over twenty players that deserved a mention in that list. The work rate was phenomenal, we saw splendid courage, and lovely passages of play with brilliant teamwork. Keep this up, Roys, and we look forward to seeing where you end up at the end of the season.

“Runs like a Girl” is your reporter. Seen stuff not reported on here? Send us an email! We’re always happy to share the match reporting.

Pictures here at Flickr

And some bonus U15s can be found here

 

A break and looking forward

Queen’s Birthday weekend marks the half-way point of the home and away season and with no games scheduled it is a nice chance to reflect on the year so far. The headline numbers do not really tell the story of the Fitzroy Youth Girls up to round 8. Three wins after 8 rounds and a percentage that not even Essendon wants is a gloomy summary if you look no further. But there is so much more going on with this team. The heart of the Fitzroy story is the development of the 28 players on the list, building individual skills and as a team.

Fitzroy started the year well, with a practice match win over Ivanhoe. Round one against Whitehorse was a closely fought loss, leaving hope that we would be competitive in division one. This wasn’t to be as the next three games were all lost with large margins. It is not all bleak, as Fitzroy won quarters, and worked hard around the ground even as they received little in reward. If you want, you can relive those bleak weeks against St Mary’s, Kew and Whitehorse (again!).

With no wins during the grading matches the move to division two was not unexpected. The coaches and players’ hopes that they would be more competitive in this division have been borne out, with two wins from the three matches played (plus a walkover). It didn’t start that way, with our first game in division two a loss to Whitehorse, their seconds this time, before we recorded our first win, against Ivanhoe.  This was a good win, with terrific team goals against the breeze and holding off a surging opposition in the second half. The lead changed a couple of times before the Roys got a couple of goals ahead late in the final quarter, earning a chance to sing the theme song. The following week was Indigenous round and the Youth Girls played Beverley Hills on a Friday night. The Youth Girls’ played hard all night, keeping the opposition scoreless in the first half and kept the pressure on for a win under lights at historic Victoria Park.

There is some tough opposition to come in the second half of the season. With no team on more than four wins (YJFL Ladder), Fitzroy’s three doesn’t seem that far off the pace. Next week is Bulleen and a real test. Both teams coming off a break, both teams will be looking for a good start to the run home and the chance to play some finals footy.

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See you there.