My father was a huge Perth Demons fan, maybe their success in the late 70’s attracted him. It was a passion he rediscovered in the last years of his life, and he could often be found on a Saturday afternoon watching the Demons being beaten convincingly by some better resourced WAFL side. I followed his lead momentarily as a 8 year old, until the lure of the South Fremantle Bulldogs and the exploits of Stephen Michael grabbed my attention. I don’t think you choose a team, I think a team chooses you.
How would you feel if your team was taken from you? This is the emotions that the thousands of Fitzroy fans felt on September 1, 1996.
Full Points describes it thus, “On Sunday 1 September 1996 a group of players representing the Fitzroy Football Club took the field for the last time. The fact that the venue for the match was Subiaco Oval in Perth was both significant and, in a perverse way, appropriate ; the Australian Football League, which, within the space of a mere decade, had moved from being a suburban to a national competition, had no further use for financially non-viable propositions like Fitzroy. “
This game was against the new kid on the block, Fremantle, who within a few years would establish themself as a financial powerhouse, having the fastest growing membership of any side. They are now an incredibly well supported club having full corporate sponsorship, thanks in no small part to the man crdited with their financial revival, club CEO, Cameron Schwab.
The game itself was a pretty one sided affair, with Fitzroy losing, despite winning the last quarter by 2 points. The game was held on September 1, 1996, at Subiaco Oval. Fitzroy lost by 86 points and the final scores were Fitzroy 10.11 71 v Fremantle 24.13 157
What was significant, in my mind at least, was the respect shown by the Fremantle Football Club. They put on a presentation both before and after the game and due respect was shown to the once proud club. Many Fitroy supporters travelled across the Nullaboar for the game, and they were vocal in their appreciation of the acknowledgment given.
Dale Kickett played for Fremantle that day, which is significant as he had also played for Fitzroy.