Cross-Club Pollination

FitzroyPete

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Like 1980, though not quite as bad, 1985 was a bit of a letdown in Fitzroy's golden era between 1978 and 1986 (I include 1978 because we won the night premiership).
Aside from being thrashed by Essendon by 103 points in Round 2, the lowlight of the year would've been losing twice by narrow margins to wooden spooner St Kilda, who won only three games.
A perusal of our 1985 list revealed nine players who represented both clubs at some stage of their career: Andrew Cross (StK-Fitz-Rich), Brad Gotch (Fitz-StK), Bernie Harris (Fitz-Bris-StK), Grant Lawrie (Fitz-StK), Michael Nettlefold (StK-Fitz), Tim Pekin (Fitz-StK), Mark Scott (Haw-StK-Fitz), Grant Thomas (StK-NM-Fitz) and Paul Tilley (Fitz-StK).
And we can maybe include Ross Lyon given he later coached St Kilda.
The Saints' list included Michael Roberts (via Richmond) and Allan Sidebottom who both had brief stints at Fitzroy in 1987.
Throw in Garry Sidebottom (1982-84) and there was a lot of traffic between Fitzroy and St Kilda in the 1980s, rivalling that between Collingwood and Richmond.
 

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Derby103

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I really thought that St.Kilda was destined to go through 1985 without winning a game after their first four games that season. Fitzroy wasn’t travelling too badly apart from the Essendon loss. Couldn’t believe it when Fitzroy lost to the Saints at VFL Park.

Hadn’t realised there was so much coming-and-going between Fitzroy and St.Kilda in those days. I know that Carlton and St.Kilda also had quite a few (mostly from Carlton to St.Kilda in that case).

Who are the first players that come to mind when you are thinking about careers spent at Fitzroy and the other clubs? Some of them were quite obvious to me (Quinlan, Walls), but others took some rumination:

Fitz-Carl Robert Walls
Fitz-Coll Leigh Carlson
Fitz-Ess Jack Moriarty
Fitz-Foots Bernie Quinlan
Fitz-Geel Ken Hinkley
Fitz-Haw Gerald McCarthy
Fitz-Melb Norm Smith
Fitz-NM John Murphy
Fitz-Rich Jeff Hogg
Fitz-SM John Rantall
Fitz-St.K Garry Sidebottom

Murphy, Rantall and Sidebottom also played for other clubs. Took me a while to think of John Murphy, but I should have quickly come up with Armstrong and Pike from a later era.
 

FitzroyPete

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Great list, Derby103.
John Murphy actually finished at North Melbourne, having moved there 14 months after he left Fitzroy to join South Melbourne.
Des Tuddenham recruited Murphy to South in 1978, only for Tuddy to be replaced in 1979 by Ian Stewart, who then sacked Murph.
Murphy wanted to return to the Lions before the June 30 clearance deadline, but I believe the VFL regulations of the time didn't allow him to go back to his original club so soon, so he went to the Kangaroos.
Had Murphy not left Fitzroy in the first place, I wonder what guernsey number Bernie Quinlan would've been assigned when he became a Lion in 1978.
When I think of players recruited from North Melbourne, my thoughts immediately turn to the courageous Michael Reeves.
 

Derby103

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Oh yes, I'd forgotten that Michael Reeves started his league career at North.

John Murphy was a great player at Fitzroy and I'm not sure that he gets proper recognition of that these days. I wonder if that is partly because he ended at South and North. In a way it is unfortunate that he didn't finish as a one-club player. On the other hand, I suppose that he did get to play in a final at North.

It is interesting to hear about the circumstances surrounding his departure from Fitzroy. South did seem to be on the verge of some success after making the '77 finals, but it never ended up happening. Some of these late-career transfers did work successfully (Stan Alves, Greg Wells, John Rantall), while some others didn't finish so well (Len Thompson, Max Richardson).
 

FitzroyPete

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Fully agree, Derby103, it would've been great if John Murphy stayed at Fitzroy, as he would've been invaluable during our 1979 finals campaign.
It would also have been just reward for all his gallantry in 11 seasons and 214 games in the maroon and blue (and gold in his last four seasons).
Ironically, Murphy played for North Melbourne against Collinwood on the same day the Lions thrashed Essendon in the elimination final in our first finals appearance in 19 years (and first finals victory in 27).
I believe (and I stand to be corrected) that Murphy left Fitzroy because he thought the board/committee at the time were inactive in recruiting players to make the Lions a finals challenger, combined with him believing the club needed to "cull" other players.
Of course, the season he joined South Melbourne, Fitzroy bought Bernie Quinlan and Robbie Walls, among others.
 

Derby103

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I think the Roys needed the money they got for Murphy to pay for Quinlan. I doubt we'd have ended up having both.
Yes, that is probably true. Although interestingly, an article on the back page of The Age of 28 May 1979 (link: https://news.google.com.au/newspapers?nid=MDQ-9Oe3GGUC&dat=19790528&printsec=frontpage&hl=en) indicated that Fitzroy had lost $120,000 in 1978 and was prepared to go further into debt in 1979 to recruit extra players that would be likely to turn it into a finals side. Players like Kevin Higgins and Max Richardson were recruited for that season.

The reason I was looking at that edition of The Age was because this thread had caused me to remember a North Melbourne v Fitzroy game that I saw at Arden Street in May 1979. My father was a Fitzroy supporter and he always took me to the Fitzroy-North games and North always seemed to win. So, I was a pretty cocky 13-year-old that day as North jumped to a handy lead at half time. I wasn't so pleased in the second half as the Lions thrashed North's all-star line up unmercifully. My father didn't say a word, but I still remember him turning to me with a peculiar half-smile on his face as Beecroft or Quinlan or McMahon or Irwin kicked yet another goal to increase Fitzroy's lead to embarrassing proportions.

That 1979 season saw an exciting rise from Fitzroy. The thumping of Collingwood in round one prompted my father to take me to the Junction Oval in rounds 2 and 4 to see a couple of dismal losses to South and Carlton. He gave it up as a bad job for a while after that ('same old story', he said), but he soon got interested again after Fitzroy embarked on its 9-match winning streak. Do you remember the return game against Collingwood at VFL Park that year? It was the match of the day, and attracted nearly 57,000, which was a big crowd for those days. Fitzroy won by a mile again. An even bigger crowd went to the Carlton-Fitzroy game at the same venue a couple of weeks later, but Carlton was too good for everyone that season.

And after all that, Fitzroy ran last in 1980. I wonder how that happened.
 

Fat Pizza

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Yes, that is probably true. Although interestingly, an article on the back page of The Age of 28 May 1979 (link: https://news.google.com.au/newspapers?nid=MDQ-9Oe3GGUC&dat=19790528&printsec=frontpage&hl=en) indicated that Fitzroy had lost $120,000 in 1978 and was prepared to go further into debt in 1979 to recruit extra players that would be likely to turn it into a finals side. Players like Kevin Higgins and Max Richardson were recruited for that season.

The reason I was looking at that edition of The Age was because this thread had caused me to remember a North Melbourne v Fitzroy game that I saw at Arden Street in May 1979. My father was a Fitzroy supporter and he always took me to the Fitzroy-North games and North always seemed to win. So, I was a pretty cocky 13-year-old that day as North jumped to a handy lead at half time. I wasn't so pleased in the second half as the Lions thrashed North's all-star line up unmercifully. My father didn't say a word, but I still remember him turning to me with a peculiar half-smile on his face as Beecroft or Quinlan or McMahon or Irwin kicked yet another goal to increase Fitzroy's lead to embarrassing proportions.

That 1979 season saw an exciting rise from Fitzroy. The thumping of Collingwood in round one prompted my father to take me to the Junction Oval in rounds 2 and 4 to see a couple of dismal losses to South and Carlton. He gave it up as a bad job for a while after that ('same old story', he said), but he soon got interested again after Fitzroy embarked on its 9-match winning streak. Do you remember the return game against Collingwood at VFL Park that year? It was the match of the day, and attracted nearly 57,000, which was a big crowd for those days. Fitzroy won by a mile again. An even bigger crowd went to the Carlton-Fitzroy game at the same venue a couple of weeks later, but Carlton was too good for everyone that season.

And after all that, Fitzroy ran last in 1980. I wonder how that happened.
I can't remember those exact games. I was a schoolkid in Ballarat at the time, so didn't get to as many games as I'd have liked.
 

FitzroyPete

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Derby103, although I'm over here in Perth, I distinctly remember the Round 8 game at Arden Street that you referred to.
It was Fitzroy's fourth win in a sequence of nine, prompting the media to say that this was a different Lions outfit to the one that had experienced so many "false starts" since their last finals appearance in 1960.
I saw the highlights of that game on "The Winners" and more recently YouTube.
I haven't seen footage of the incident, but North Melbourne's high-priced recruit Graham Cornes clobbered Peter Keays in the first half, an incident that may have been the catalyst for the Lions' second half in which they kicked 16.12 to 4.9, turning a 21-point deficit into a 54-point victory.
1979 was also the year that Johnny Murphy made two trips to the Junction Oval in opposition colours.
In Round 2, he was a member of the South Melbourne side that overran Fitzroy after half-time to win by 53 points and in Round 19 he was in the Kangaroos' team that thrashed the Roys by 67 points.
 
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