Joe Pignataro – @JoeyPigz
This weekend in Premier C we have a classic match on our hands with top of the table and undefeated Williamstown CYMS heading to Brunswick St Oval to take on the second-placed Fitzroy FC.
The Roys, who were relegated from Premier B in 2017 by less than 0.5%, have started the season successfully with straight wins and by an average winning margin of 59 points.
Williamstown CYMS fell to Marcellin in the first round of Premier C finals last year but have proven the team to beat so far with an average winning margin of 74 points from their opening six matches.
Leading into the game, Fitzroy senior coach, Luke Mahoney, joined the For the Love of the Game podcast and explained the transition from Premier B to playing competitive Premier C football six rounds into the season.
“I don’t subscribe to the theory that relegation is a good thing to reset,” Mahoney said.
“I think that’s more of a hindsight thing where you look back and say that’s maybe a good thing. I’m always of the mantra to get as high as you can and stay in the position you can.”
“From last year, there’s a lot of injuries that occurred and a few guys didn’t play for various reasons. So, the off-season was around trying to get those guys back as much as we could and trying to get as many to training over the pre-season to just create that sort of vibe that okay we’ve gone down but let’s throw our best efforts at it and see what happens.”
The even spread of contributors in front of goals has impressed Mahoney with 21 of the 31 players used so far this season all hitting the scoreboard at least once.
“We don’t have the big tall full forward that you try and direct as much ball through as possible. Our strength is that we just have so many contributors up forward and they each just take their turn in putting themselves in to that scoring position. I give those guys freedom to chop and change as they see fit and to be as unpredictable as possible to the opposition, I’m really happy with the way we’re spreading the goals.”
The CYs have called upon just 29 players this year with 20 having shared the load of kicking goals. They’ve been led up front by Ben Gray (17) and Nick Ebinger (16).
Julian Turner has taken over the Roys’ captaincy this year from GT Moore Medallist, Rory Angiolella, and currently leads the Fitzroy goal kicking stocks with 16 from his six games.
“Jules is a ripper,” Mahoney said. “He’s a pretty hard match up (6ft 1/2) very fit and agile, probably that AFL mobile forward that goes pretty well these days. He’s relishing being the captain this year and taking on that responsibility and that’s probably helping his footy a fair bit. It’s giving him confidence that it’s his team and he’s got to lead the way and he’s doing a great job with that at the moment.”
Zeroing in on this Saturday’s blockbuster, Mahoney played the straight bat. “I’ll give you the coaches response and we take it one week at a time. It’s hard to know, we’re both going pretty well at the moment. We both haven’t played PEGS and they’re on a bit of a run at the moment. Once everyone plays everyone once we’ll have a bit more clarity on everyone.”
Listen to the full For the Love of the Game podcast HERE
Saturday, May 19 – 2pm Brunswick St Oval is the first bounce between Fitzroy FC vs. Williamstown CYMS.
Keep up to date with everything happening in the VAFA on VAFA Tragics every Tuesday night with Andrew Leonard and Nick Armistead + the VAFA’s official podcast For the Love of the Game every Wednesday afternoon with Joe Pignataro, Nick Armistead and Brian Waldron.