ROUND 5 - 2017
FROM THE PRESIDENT
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We lost our first two games of the season last Saturday (on the field), which leaves us at 30/32 on the year so far. By any standards, it's a great start for all of our teams, but as we say every week until the Grand Final, there's still a long way to go.
The Women lost their first after running into a strong Trinity team. I noticed there was a Lachal listed for the Ts, so I'm not sure what's going on there. No doubt our girls will acclimatise themselves to the stronger Premier standard and get back on the winner's list soon. The U19s dropped their game against De La Salle, which has traditionally been an U19 heavy. Looks as if they might be back in town.
On the winner's list, every other team. It was a pity that weather intervened and ruined some of the games as spectacles. The Ressies played in great conditions at Toorak Park, but then the Seniors slugged it out in slippery conditions early and took their time getting started. A massive final term saw a great win in the end against a worthy rival. We are happy to bank the four points, as it takes us another game away from trouble.
However, it doesn't get any easier, especially for the Ones. This week, a short trip to TH King to meet St Kevin's, who are in great form and atop the Premier ladder. It would be great to begin the year 5-0, but we will need to be very good for four quarters to tip SKOB from their perch.
At last week's lunch, we had the reunion of the 1987 U19 premiership team. One of the great virtues of the Old Xavs is that we have much to celebrate in the way of premierships and there is always a reunion around the corner. Age may have wearied them slightly, but what they have lost in skills they have more than made up for in terms of ability to tell tall stories.
Please click the Membership 2017 pic at the top right of this page and make your commitment for this season. While we have plenty of generous sponsors and all of our players pay to play, we need a sizeable number of members to make ends meet, to cover such extras as increased player insurance cover, St John's attendance at Stradbroke Park, fully furnished medical kits, extra trainers and costs of communications. There's a level of membership to suit all of our supporters, so please contribute today. We are relying on YOU!
THE 2017 PRESIDENTS DINNER
This super event will be held next week at the Botanical on Friday 19 May. Dermot Dann, our life member, will emcee the evening, and if you haven't heard him before, get along. He alone is worth the price of admission. Thanks to the efforts of Shane Healy, we have secured John Silvester as our guest speaker. John is a Walkley Award winning journalist and crime writer and appears regularly on 3AW Breakfast. He will no doubt provide some sensational entertainment for our sponsors and any of you who attend. There are tickets available, but book now through our shop to avoid missing out.
See you tomorrow.
Bill Denton, OXFC President
Terry "Lemon" Landrigan never stops. We spoke to him as he packed the Bowens Wagon Queen Family Truckster for tomorrow's road trip to TH King.
The great man takes up the story . . .
"Well we solved a mystery. It took a month, but we got there. Back on Opening Day, I arranged all of the senior jumpers in numerical order on the Bowens Timber handcrafted coat-hangers. The room at Toorak Park looked fantastic, even if the weather was awful outside. I stood back and admired my work. #1, Buddha Johnston, #2 Timmy "Goodas" Golds, #3 Dan "Nooooons" Noonan, #4 Denis "The Galloping Galactoboureko" Symeopoulos and so on, all the way up to #53 Chris "Bargin'" Margin. They were all there.
"So the time came for dressing and young Hayden Troiani approached me and said his #36 was missing. Now I knew I had put it up there, as I'd double and triple checked them all off the list. But he was right, it was nowhere to be seen. So we looked in the lockers, under benches, behind tables and still nothing.
"Anyway, the players went in to the prep room for a meeting with the coaches and when they came out, the guernsey had mysteriously re-appeared on the hanger.
"Fast forward a month and I get the story. The Crocs had played earlier that day and my son David had arrived at Toorak Park to watch the game. Not only that, he was on a recruiting mission and his target was one Andrew Leoncelli. Unbeknown to me, Chell had arrived too and with a form four in one hand and Troiani's number 36 in the other, David had whisked the former Old Xavs and Melbourne dynamo upstairs for a chat.
"Chachi (that's David, if you don't know after 287 games) promised him the world if he signed on for the Crocs. He promised him number #36. Chell tried it on and admired his physique in the new red and black strip. It was a long way from the old woollen jumper he wore at Old Xavs in the '90s, but it felt good. So he signed the form, walked back downstairs and Chachi hung the jumper whence it came.
"So, far from the madding crowd, Andrew Leoncelli went back to work, stretching, running, shooting for goal, twisting and turning and getting his body right for another crack at Old Xavs greatness. He had private sessions with Rob Grey, he engaged personal trainer and for a month, put aside the pressures of business to make football his number one priority. He did more training himself than the Crocs combined do in a year.
"And last week, Leoncelli made his debut. And someone, perhaps eager to see his talents at a higher level, filmed the game. Or parts of it that pertained to the Crocs new #36. The film ended up with former teammate and now senior coach James McDonald and his assistants, and they watched it behind closed doors on Tuesday night, perhaps in the hope that Chell would show some form and that they could slip him into the senior lineup against St Kevin's.
"They saw him run out on to the ground. They saw him cop a Sherrin to the nose and then one on the pinky, which required a trainer, and then four minutes into the first term, they saw him pull a hamstring. 'He might be a few weeks away,' said Ben Holland. So I figured the selectors might look elsewhere.
"If they do, there's a young fellow who booted five on the weekend after a brilliant start in his earlier games this season. He's proven himself before at the top level. I'm sure Denis Symeopoulos won't mind handing back the #4 if Junior picks his old teammate Landrigan for a run in the Ones."
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Upcoming Premier Section clashes
20 May - R6 @ Uni Blues
27 May - R7 VS Beaumaris
3 Jun - R8 VS Uni Blacks
Here's the ladder after Round 4:
LAST WEEK: De La won gain, just tipping out Uni Blacks. Kevs and Collegians rolled on at the expense of Beauy and OMs, while SBMT fronted up to the Uni and beat Blues in a big upset.
We are currently third, with a two game break on fourth. It's a nice spot to be in, but that will change after this week's round. That could be good news, or bad . . .
The Predictor on the VAFA site throws up these Round 5 prognostications.
And here’s what we say . . .
Collegians @ Trinity. OK, the Ts might be just off the pace at present, but they have played a stronger schedule than the Lions. A return to Daley Oval and its massive expanse is a big plus for the Green team and will test the Purples. The Predictor is way off the pace here, as there is no way the visitors can post 120+ on this ground. and we don't think the Hedgeburners are going to roll over and lose this by 40. We smell upset, if indeed a narrow win to the Greens can be considered same.
Tiges @ Blacks. How does this Predictor work? Blues beat Blacks, SBMT come in to the Uni and knock over Blues and the Tiges are four goal underdogs to Blacks? Sounds insane! The Mentone team will be mightily encouraged by its win under the spires last week and will have a decent crack at making it two from two on the Main. Blacks haven't yet managed a win, though they went close against DLS last week. Perhaps they will get the points, but we can't back them with any confidence yet. If it's close, and it should be, we sniff another Bede's win.
Uni Blues @ Old Melburnians: Hmm. We can sense that the Dark Blues might be getting a little frustrated with their failure to get on the board. They are too good a team not to pick up a win soon, but even though they are home again, the Uni Blues team knows HQ well. Jimmy Walker will be smarting after last week's loss and we sense that the Uni team might come out with all guns blazing. and they have plenty of guns too. Blues by five or six goals seems likely to us, unless Melburnians can field their best team and play four quarters to the level they seek.
Beauy @ DLS: The Bellers appear to be back on track and they will worry the heck out of Beaumaris in the battle of the Blue and Gold. There's nothing in the Sharks' past month to suggest they can survive here. Their defence is bleeding 100 points a game and their offence is giving them just half of that back. They signed former Saint Sam Fisher this week, but De La has picked up a bloke by the name of Sean Fisher and he is capturing plenty. The Sallies are better at both ends and they run harder. They'll win this by a significant margin.
The game of the day is undoubtedly St Kevin's and Old Xaverians. There has been plenty of hype about the SKOBs since October, when they started signing some great talent. They have a formidable list and followers of the tricolours have been getting excited about this clash for weeks. Yes, they have started well and have probably never had a better chance to beat the Xavs since the first semi-final of 2001, when the Red 'n' Blacks finally got tired of saving the game at the 42 minute mark of the final term.
The Kevs are strong at both ends. They opened at TH King and beat Blues by seven goals, and also beat Trinity there by nearly the same margin. On the road, they clobbered Beauy and beat De La by four goals.
St Kevin's have punched in about 20 points a game more than the Red 'n Blacks and at the other end, conceded a few points fewer per game. We'd give the slight advantage to the SKOB there. Against common opponents, Trinity and De La, the tricolours are a little better performed. Throw in the home ground advantage of TH King and the Kevs will start favourites to win this R5 clash. But wait! The Predictor has the home team winning this 153 to 91. That's the equivalent of 22.18 to 13.13. Hmm, we don't think so.
Still, the SKOBs have built a pretty fair lineup. Ex-big leaguers Steve Salopek, Mitch Brown, Mark Jamar and James Strauss all played last week. Jay Schulz didn't. Then there's the homegrown bunch - Gerard Gleeson, Benny Dowd, Billy Coates, Billy Kanakis , Henry Parkes, Nick Wood (son of old friend Bryan) and Zac Ginies (team leading 11 goals) to throw some hurt around. Nine of their players have had multiple goal-scoring games. They are in form, confident and entirely lacking in self-doubt. They've been waiting for this game for a while and will not be holding back once that first siren sounds.
The Red 'n' Blacks will certainly need to be on their mettle. All that said, the X-Men are highly capable of beating this team. There are plenty who can kick goals, and plenty of them, which is a bit of a pre-requisite for managing the King. The reigning premier has won a couple of tight ones already, perhaps the mark of a good team. When things are tight, we know who to back in a crunch. Some say it's an eight point game, and that's about the margin Xavs will have at the final siren.