'The Coldstream Kid'
‘With pick 31, Melbourne has selected... Bayley Fritsch from the Casey Demons and Coldstream Football Club(s).’
What a journey for a kid from Coldstream, a journey that begun along side brother Darcy as they marvelled and fell in love with the game of AFL sitting and watching from the sidelines as Dad embarked to a record equaling 360 games of Coldy football.
Inevitably though it would soon be Bayley’s turn to pull on the boots, something he did as soon as possible, beginning with Auskick at an extremely young age. Game by game, year by year, the talent within Bayley grew and became evident for all to see with glimpses of brilliance often being displayed with his uncanny ability to read the play and drift into the correct position.
However it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Bayley and his football ambitions. A set back from Eastern Ranges due to a lack of size could quite easily have derailed his dreams, but the resistance only grew as he returned to Coldstream with a more determined demeanour ahead of the 2013 season. A year where he would make his senior debut, kicking 4 goals in a best on ground performance against Canterbury Football Club.
Upon conclusion of the 2013 season Coldstream and Bayley both had the world at their feet. The cougars had bled some young talent into the senior side including the likes of Bayley Fritsch and Josh ‘Turbo’ Matthews. Both of which seemed destined to take the club to new heights behind the guidance of some of the more experienced players.
However the biggest hurdle was about to occur as Bayley and the rest of the mighty cougar army suffered one of the darkest days in club history. Just two weeks into pre-season ahead of the 2014 campaign, Turbo passed away, thus leaving a hole not just on the field but in the hearts of all that he’d met.
The loss was met with heartache and pain for all. However for Bayley the pain was even more obvious, the loss of one of his best mates drove him to work harder than anyone else at the club and quite possibly anyone else in the competition and as a result he reaped the rewards.
Just under 10 months later ‘Frittdog’ ran onto Walker Reserve in Mitcham with 23 of his mates beside him and his closest friend in his heart to compete against previously unbeaten Ferntree Gully for a premiership medallion. With so much to play for the result was a given. Fritsch was fast becoming a household name within the EFL once again and by the time the clock struck 12PM, Coldstream was holding onto their first piece of silverware since 2001.
From here Bayley’s name grew only stronger as he took out both the EFL division four young gun and team of the year member in 2014 at just 17 years of age. By the conclusion of 2014 he had been invited to Casey (Melbourne’s Reserves) for the following year. In 2015 he was one of the first players Casey signed as they fell in love with his effortless skills and untapped potential.
That season it took just 3 rounds in the development side for Bayley as he was rewarded for his remarkable progress with his first VFL game on the 9th of May. Listed as the 23rd man he was only permitted to play half the game preventing him from any real impact. However after 3 games and 5 goals things were really looking up. But as had so often been the case, another setback appeared for Bayley, an injury to his back all but ruling him out for the remainder of the 2015 season.
2016 saw Bayley fight with more injuries including a knee problem and the ongoing soreness in his back again manipulating his year and preventing him from a red hot crack at consistent senior selection and any other possibilities.
As always though Bayley stuck to his guns and managed to bounce back this season, finally having a full year without any injury concerns. As a result he had his most productive season to date, concluding 2017 with 42 goals including 3 bags of 4 and at least one every game. He was also able to represent the VFL in a game against the WAFL aswell as claiming both Casey’s rising star award and runner up best and fairest.
All of which leads us to draft night on the 24th of November where all the setbacks and hurdles were cast aside, yet another day of emotion but one where the emotions were finally all positive. A day of which he was finally given the biggest reward of all. A spot on an AFL list!!
For Bayley, Darcy, Scott, Pauline, Chloe and the rest of the Fritsch family, there is no doubt that today will be remembered by you all.
We at Coldstream FC would just like to thank you for your continued support and commitment towards the club.
As for Coldstream well we continue to keep producing the goods, yes with very small rewards regarding premierships opposed to other football clubs near by, but for such a small club a massive impact on both the vfl/afl over the years.
With the likes of Richards, Baldwin, Gilbee, Hargreaves, of years past to late with Tweedie and now through Fritsch.
The time and effort put in by the Mums and dads, trainers, coaches and committees continues to glow and allow the greatest of opportunities.
Feel proud as a club and ensure the football lovers understand who your club is and what has been and will continue to be achieved.
As for Bayley, now the journey only continues as he now seeks out game number 1 for the Melbourne Demons. Again we wish Bayley all the best moving forward as he with the support of Turbo, his friends, his community, his club and his family continues to chase his dreams.