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Fitzroy Firsts

Fitzroy was to the fore of many innovations in Australian Rules football, dating back to the early days of the game...

Hear This 
John Trait became the first umpire to use a whistle in a Fitzroy-Carlton game in 1886.

Fitzroy became the first club to use an electronic time clock to time each quarter in 1888.

A Pennant
Fitzroy were the first club to receive a premiership pennant in 1895.

A Draw
Fitzroy and South Melbourne played the first VFL draw in 1897. Both sides scored 5.13 (43).

Grand Final
Fitzroy won the first VFL Grand Final in 1898, defeating Essendon 5.8 (38) to 3.5 (23), after a top-four play-off system without a grand final had decided the first VFL premiers in 1897.

Brothers in Arms
Fitzroy's Bill and Jack Dalton and Jim and Michael Grace were the first brothers to play in a VFL premiership team in 1898.

Two in a Row 
Fitzroy completed the VFL's first back-to-back premierships, beating South 3.9 (27) to 3.8 (26) in 1899.

Indigenous Initiative
Fitzroy's Joe Johnson became the VFL's first Aboriginal player. He had 55 games from 1904-05, including the 1904-05 flag sides and was the first Aboriginal premiership player.

Killed in Action
Fitzroy's Stan Reid, killed in the Boer War, was the first VFL player to lose his life in active service.

No Score
Fitzroy and Collingwood played the only scoreless quarter in VFL history - the fourth in Round 13, 1901.

A Fitzroy Ton
In Round 7, 1903, Bill McSpeerin became the first of 110 players to play 100 games for Fitzroy.

Numbers and Sydney
Fitzroy played Collingwood in the first VFL game in Sydney, winning 7.20 (62) to 6.9 (45) at Moore Park in 1903. It was also the first time jumper numbers were worn.

The Big V
Barclay Bailes and Herbert Milne were the first Fitzroy players to represent Victoria in the 1908 Jubilee Anniversary Carnival. Each State and New Zealand competed for a prize named in honour of long-serving Fitzroy secretary Con Hickey.

First and Last
Fitzroy became the only VFL team to win the wooden spoon and the premiership in the same year – 1916. The season, reduced to four teams by war, lasted only 12 weeks. Fitzroy, with two wins and a draw, finished last but beat Collingwood and then Carlton twice.

All Aboard for WA
Fitzroy were the first Victorian club to travel to Western Australia in 1922. They played twice each in Perth and Kalgoorlie.

A Flood
Fitzroy played Essendon in the only VFL grand final postponed by a week, due to a flood at the MCG in 1923.

Twin Centuries
Fitzroy played Carlton in Round 1, 1924, when, for the first time, both sides scored 100 points. Fitzroy won 19.9 (123) to 15.17 (107).

Goalless Coleman
Fitzroy, with Vic Chanter at full-back, were the only team to hold Essendon's John Coleman goalless. It was Round 10, 1952. Fitzroy won by 24 points at Brunswick Street.

Fitzroy defeated Melbourne 12.10 (82) to 10.10 (70) in the first VFL match in Hobart in 1952.

Brotherly Love
Fitzroy's Len Smith and Melbourne's Norm Smith were opposing coaches in the 1960 finals - the only such incident in the VFL finals.

Home Away From Home
Fitzroy were the first club to provide a home for interstate and country recruits in 1961.

A Coterie
Fitzroy formed a Business Committee which aimed to find employment for players and 'strengthen the traditional Fitzroy spirit'. This was later called the Lion Hunters and was the VFL's first coterie – a 1963 fore-runner to an integral part of modern football.

Royalty on Sunday
Fitzroy played in the VFL's first Sunday match before royalty on 5 April, 1970. The players appeared after halftime groomed and showered to be introduced by president Ern Joseph to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Fitzroy upset premiers Richmond 16.20 (116) to 14.12 (96).

Club Record
In 1970 Kevin Murray became the first Fitzroy player to play 250 games, beating Frank Curcio's long-standing record of 249.

Welcome Waverley
Fitzroy played Geelong in the first VFL game at Waverley in 1970. Shane Molloy, father of Jarrod, kicked the first goal on the ground in the Reserves.

Run Ends
Fitzroy full-back Harvey Merrigan held Collingwood ace Peter McKenna goalless after he'd kicked at least one goal in a VFL record 120 games in a row.

Night Football: Fitzroy played in the first official match under lights against North Melbourne in the 1977 pre-season series. They won 16.12 (108) to 11.8 (74).

Record Score 
Fitzroy kicked the VFL's highest score of 36.22 (238) against Melbourne's 6.12 (48) at Waverley in Round 17, 1979. Bob Beecroft booted 10 goals and Harvey Merrigan the one that gave them the record score on their way to a record 190-point margin.

Pay Up
Fitzroy were the first VFL club to fine their players for poor performance. Coach Bill Stephen imposed a $2000 fine after an Anzac Day loss to Richmond by 118 points in 1980.

Top & Bottom
In 1980, Fitzroy became the only wooden spoon team in history to score more points over the entire season than the top team, Geelong.

No Multiples
Fitzroy beat Collingwood 8.11 (59) to 4.9 (33) in 1981 in the VFL's first game without a multiple goalkicker.

Tall Timber Tumbles
Fitzroy beat North Melbourne by 150 points in Round 3, 1983 – the greatest defeat by a side on top of the ladder.

A Fitzroy Knight
Douglas Nicholls, a famous Aboriginal sportsman who played 53 games with Fitzroy from 1932-37, representing Victoria in 1934-35 after earlier excelling in boxing and sprinting, was knighted in the 1972 Queen's Birthday Honours. He was later appointed Governor of South Australia before ill-health forced his retirement.

Finals Hat-Trick
Fitzroy played in the Seniors, Reserves and Under 19s finals for the first time in the same year in 1983.

Carrara Capers
Fitzroy beat the Brisbane Bears 20.9 (129) to 16.18 (114) in the first AFL match at Carrara in 1987.

Another Waverley First
Fitzroy beat North 20.9 (129) to 7.13 (55) in the first VFL match for premiership points played under lights at Waverley in 1987.

National Capital
Fitzroy played West Coast in the first AFL premiership match played in Canberra in 1995.

A Merger 
Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears joined forces in the first merger in 1996