Fitzroy's last win in the VFL/AFL

Horace

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Yes I know this is the North Melbourne board, but oddly enough that last win in Round 8, 1996 had quite a connection to the NMFC. The game was on Foxtel today and Fitzroy beat Freo by 31 points, 16.11 to 10.16. I still remember it well and the excitement in the terribly small crowd of just over 5000 at Whitten Oval.

Playing for Fitzroy that day were Pikey, Anthony Mellington and Shane Clayton, who went on to play for us, together with former North player, John McCarthy. Playing for Freo were former North player Peter Mann, and Spider Burton, Winnie Abraham and the late Gary Dhurrkay, all of whom went on to play for us.

Watching again today, I was surprised at how good the standard was, given where Fitzroy was at the time. Freo were decked out in that fashion setting green number that hopefully now has been consigned to the tip. Maybe that was part of the reason for the loss.

Anthony Mellington played his career best game, booting 5 goals and I remember thinking we had found someone. Pikey was very good and John McCarthy played with an interesting piece of head gear, coming back from injury. Spider played just as we all fondly remember him, once roving a pack and sending a mongrel "impossible to mark" punt kick into Freo's goal square. (I miss Spider and still remember that last round game for us against Carlton, when he kicked 3 goals, one of which came on the run after he balked a Carlton player and then slotted it from about 50 metres out - give or take)

There were some other pretty handy Fitzroy players out there who went on to have solid AFL careers. 3 time Brisbane Premiership player, Chris Johnson, who was BOG, John Barker, Matthew Dent, Jarrod Molloy, Matthew Primus and Stephen Paxman. Others whose careers were in my opinion ruined by the Brisbane takeover included Brad Boyd, Nick Carter, Simon Hawking, Scott Bamford. In my opinion there was a nucleus there, that if the AFL had have wanted Fitzroy to survive, might have developed into a handy side.

The "nice thing" today of course is, if you are an old Royboy who follows Brisbane, you can look forward to 4 games in Melbourne and 1 in Geelong, in 2020. Quite the "comprehensive package" really isn't it.

But probably much more than a "relocated to Tasmania" NMFC might get. I'd say 3 in Melbourne and 1 at Geelong would be what the AFL would call a very good outcome.

Anyway sorry again but hopefully everyone will indulge an old Royboy like me, who doesn't support Brisbane, posting on the North board.
 

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Liam Boy

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Oct 12, 2008
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Don't ever let anyone tell you Fitzroy had to die. The VFL/AFL adopted the ideological position that there had to be fewer clubs in melbourne for the game to grow sustainably, and rather than let this play out and step in if a club was unable to go on, the league conspired to deny Fitzroy any opportunities to make money and forced them to alienate their supporters with awful home ground deals.

It's amazing how few people seem to understand this. You ask the average supporter and they just assume Fitzroy ran themselves into the ground and there was no other option. They don't feel the appropriate contempt and disgust at the Brisbane Bears parading Fitzroy's corpse around like it's a legitimate part of their identity and not a cynical branding exercise.
 

sbdan

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I hear you Horace. I was at that game and I'll never stop missing them.

Very much agree that Brad Boyd in particular, a super talented individual, was hung out to dry by the meger (I have spoken to him about it myself).

But thanks to the people's merger, and general cultural similarities, I'm all in now. Just got to surf this Tasi pressure, win a couple and lock in a new generation of members and we'll be right.
 

Horace

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Good post Horace. Just looked at AFL tables, didn't realise how one-sided it was for three quarters. From memory the fans stormed onto the turf post-game.

Remember being at the G beating Richmond the same day.

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That's right Hilly. Despite our low supporter base, I reckon Fitzroy supporters were just about front runners in swarming on to the ground after a win. I remember in 1997 I was at a Brisbane game at Prices Park and Brisbane won and I grudgingly felt a little bit of pride when the obviously old Royboys who went with Brisbane jumped the fence after the game.

Didn't change my mind though because it was around the time when North were having a great season (how good is this I thought) when Craig Sholl took a terrific mark on the Elliot Stand side of Princes Park and I was completely won over.
 

Snake_Baker

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That's right Hilly. Despite our low supporter base, I reckon Fitzroy supporters were just about front runners in swarming on to the ground after a win.
Let me tell you Horrie, if the AFL had gone full scale with the North/Gold Coast relocation, then there were definite politcal guerilla tactics on the drawing board. We were not going to go "gentle in to that good night".

I won't publicly reveal anything in the event that the matter could arise again.
 

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King Corey

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Great post Horace. It's fantastic to have you as a rusted on north man but I can only imagine how miserable it was and is losing your first club love.

I'll always respect Fremantle for providing Fitzroy with some dignity in their final game. Something the league itself couldn't muster.

I went to the final game in Melbourne where Richmond cantered over Fitzroy. However the highlight was a very fiesty Pikey going around collecting possessions and chocking blokes in the back of the head. Was very happy when he then ended up at Arden Street.

Mellington had a couple of flashes but unfortunately didn't go in with it at North. However he was a great guy, up for a drink and a laugh and it's good that he at least went out as a team player of a premiership club.

The 1995-6 list itself had plenty of emerging talent you've pointed out. I think with proper club structure and a committed coach a 1997-8 bulldogs style revival at the least was not beyond it.

Sadly we'll never know.
 

hilly

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Let me tell you Horrie, if the AFL had gone full scale with the North/Gold Coast relocation, then there were definite politcal guerilla tactics on the drawing board. We were not going to go "gentle in to that good night".

I won't publicly reveal anything in the event that the matter could arise again.
You hinted more about that previously. A game in which a current coach with a somewhat rotund build had a good 3rd quarter.

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Horace

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Let me tell you Horrie, if the AFL had gone full scale with the North/Gold Coast relocation, then there were definite politcal guerilla tactics on the drawing board. We were not going to go "gentle in to that good night".

I won't publicly reveal anything in the event that the matter could arise again.
Its interesting to reflect that the AFL got rid of Fitzroy in 1996, tried hard and went close in 2007 to getting rid of us, and now pretend that they don't ever want to do the same again to another club as they did to Fitzroy.

I just always operate on a DNTTB basis when it comes to anything to do with the AFL.

DO NOT TRUST THE BASTARDS.
 

Snake_Baker

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Its interesting to reflect that the AFL got rid of Fitzroy in 1996, tried hard and went close in 2007 to getting rid of us, and now pretend that they don't ever want to do the same again to another club as they did to Fitzroy.

I just always operate on a DNTTB basis when it comes to anything to do with the AFL.

DO NOT TRUST THE BASTARDS.
I actually don't think they will push another club over a cliff like they did to Fitzroy. Everybody was a loser in that scenario.
 

Horace

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I actually don't think they will push another club over a cliff like they did to Fitzroy. Everybody was a loser in that scenario.
I hope you are right. But there are a few things we need to remember. The AFL manoeuvred us out of Ballarat and gave that to the Bulldogs.

They have also said that they would prefer to have a relocated, rather than a start up, club in Tasmania. That will never be Hawthorn and if the hawks pull out, we become the prime candidate with our toe more than in the water in Hobart.

Also I doubt if the AFL will want to have a 19 team competition.

And a part of me as a dyed in the wool conspiracy theorist wonders why our AFLW team is playing a game in Launceston? Not to mention the fact that the AFLW team is known in part as the "Tasmanian Kangaroos".

As I said DNTTB.
 

wolvesRoos

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Even though I am glad we survived as North Melbourne Kangaroos, I dont understand why North and Fitzroy were not able to merge. As a Fitzroy supporter surely it would have been nicer to have merged with a Melbourne club. They should have been given that choice, if I remember right the AFL moved to take control to stop them doing it.

Even if it was as the North Melbourne - Fitzroy Kangaroos instead of North Fitzroy Kanagaroos or Fitzroy-North Melbourne Kangaroos which they may have seen to be a more equal partnership.

Those were crazy days, a velcro Hawk on a Melbourne guernsey. I still don't understand how the hawks manage to rebuild from that so well
 

D23D

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Even though I am glad we survived as North Melbourne Kangaroos, I dont understand why North and Fitzroy were not able to merge. As a Fitzroy supporter surely it would have been nicer to have merged with a Melbourne club. They should have been given that choice, if I remember right the AFL moved to take control to stop them doing it.

Even if it was as the North Melbourne - Fitzroy Kangaroos instead of North Fitzroy Kanagaroos or Fitzroy-North Melbourne Kangaroos which they may have seen to be a more equal partnership.

Those were crazy days, a velcro Hawk on a Melbourne guernsey. I still don't understand how the hawks manage to rebuild from that so well
I absolutely recommend Dyson Hore-Lacy’s book on Fitzroy and the final few years. It’s a must own for any lover of footy.
it’s been a while since I’ve read it but I’m pretty sure that even one day before the merger, the Fitzroy folk thought the north merge was happening.
the afl gazumped the deal in the final hours!
DNTTC’s
 

D23D

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Even worse (if that’s possible), they tried to wipe the club off the map.
they could have orchestrated an entry into the VFA, but no, the evil campaigners just wanted to obliterate them.
 

Horace

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I absolutely recommend Dyson Hore-Lacy’s book on Fitzroy and the final few years. It’s a must own for any lover of footy.
it’s been a while since I’ve read it but I’m pretty sure that even one day before the merger, the Fitzroy folk thought the north merge was happening.
the afl gazumped the deal in the final hours!
DNTTC’s
That is correct. The club was totally blindsided, as also was Ron Casey as the Chairman of North at the time.

Dyson's book is definitely worth reading. And if he had put in it all that he wanted to put in it, it would have been even more fascinating to read.

DNTTB
 
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Horace

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Gee time flies. Great but sad memories.

Looking forward to you tale about your visits to some of the 1930’s games and that
Just for you, Gaso, in round 1 of the 1932 season, at the Brunswick Street Oval, Fitzroy beat Carlton by 16 points, 12.19 91 to 12.15 71 in front of a crowd of around 25000, on the 30th April. (What a late start to the year - dunno how we put up with that!) Meanwhile at Corio Oval North went down by 37 points to Geelong, 14.21 to 11.12.

Even before the arrival of young Ongarello at Brunswick Street in 1952, we used to have trouble in front of goal!
 

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