ROUND 4 - 2017
FROM THE PRESIDENT
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Wow! Another eight wins from eight games, which sets all of our teams up for terrific seasons. Yes, there are early days, but early wins really help down the track when depth is tested, as it no doubt will be. Thankfully, we have great numbers, and great quality, and I am confident we can see out any storms that will eventuate.
I want to thank our players for their efforts so far. The seniors have applied themselves in these opening weeks, as they did all summer. Many times it has been tough for the reigning premier to get back on track, but our young men are playing with intent. There is a long way to travel, but if they can continue to build, we will very quickly accomplish the first task of every season, namely, avoiding relegation.
The two Premier Thirds teams need a pat on the back also. We are blessed with numbers of lads who want to play, but the curse is that at this stage, our selectors must employ rotations to see that everyone gets a chance to impress. The competition for places is strong and that augurs well.
The wonderful news of the week was the selection of the OXW to play in the Women's Premier section. Rohenna Young and her team deserve every accolade for the way they have approached their first season. If you haven't seen the girls play yet, you should do so soon. They are a largely inexperienced group, but they work hard for each other and play with courage and conviction. They are improving every week. Tomorrow, they have been invited by Xavier College to play their first premier game on the Chapel Oval. Given it is the day of the Maytime Fair, the crowds will be enormous, if not a little puzzled.
All that said, the start to the year has been brilliant, with none of our teams yet defeated on the field. However, we must avoid complacency at all costs and push on. One of the areas we need to lift our game is membership. Just this week, we received a renewal and a note from Tom Fanning, who has been a financial member since 1986. It's people such as tom, with their long-term commitment, who keep us solid.
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!
There are two social functions this weekend.
Tomorrow, our first Match Day lunch ($40). If you haven't booked but wish to attend, please email Matt.Cosgrave@colliers.com immediately. Paul Connors will speaking and the 1987 U19 premiership team will gather in reunion celebration.
On Sunday, at the Malvern, our annual FOX Lunch ($80), a gathering of mothers, wives, girlfriends and supporters of the Red and Blacks. If you wish to attend and haven't booked, please email Caroline Silk at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE 2017 PRESIDENTS DINNER
This super event will be held at the Botanical on Friday 19 May. 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 had a big Saturday. He packed the Bowens Wagon Queen Family Truckster to the gills and headed off to Mentone at 6:30 am.
The great man takes up the story . . .
"I had to get there early because I couldn't remember if St Bede's had hooks in the change rooms that were suitable for hanging up the guernseys. As it transpired, I needed to drill a few more on to the wall and thank goodness that Johnny Bowen had given me the drill and extra hooks just in case.
"So I was proud of my handiwork, but had no time to sit back and admire it. The senior guernseys had been packed away and not used on the Anzac weekend and when I heard Junior McDonald address the boys on Thursday night and say that "we need to iron out a few wrinkles," I wasn't going to let the boys run out with creases in their shirts. So I set up the training tables and looked for a point in which to plug the iron. No such luck. I had to hunt down Tommy Brain in his secret office and arrange for an extension cord to run from inside the Xavs rooms and into the bar. And I thank the VAFA's newest life member for his cooperation.
"Anyway, I ironed all 22 plus a couple of spares, and laid them carefully back in the case. Then I hung up the jumpers for the Ressies on the lucky wooden hangers (handcrafted by Bowens, might I add, things of beauty!) Just when I thought I had the day covered, Murray Browne arrived and told me about the late changes. So I started rearranging the guernseys and then the players arrived. Of course, away games always inspire forgetfulness among the players. 'White shorts? We are wearing white shorts? I have only the black ones,' one player told me, the tears welling in his eyes.
"Understandable mistake," I said "The white shorts away rule has only been around since 1927. How could you have known?"
"Anyway, all's well that ends well. The 2s won big and the 1s looked fantastic. They played well too. A few words of farewell from Tim Dynon and I ripped the jumper off his back and put it way. I packed up the Bowens Wagon Queen Family Truckster and was back safe and sound at home by 10:30pm.
"I had a good kip and woke wondering what the day might bring. With no responsibilities, I thought I'd just head over to Xavier to watch the women play. Then Simmo called me and said he couldn't get there. 'Can you just put out a few chairs, Tez, there's a good man!' So I got there early and did just that. Plenty of seating for the dignitaries.
Then I asked Team Manager Joe McGrath if there was anything I could do. 'Well, not really, Lemon. Oh, one thing. I've got the Melbourne Cup in the boot of my Porsche. I'm a bit worried about it. Someone might nick the wheels and I'll lose the Cup. Can you throw it in the Truckster, because no-one will want to break into that?.' So I complied. Nice trophy. Maybe the VAFA should look at upgrading their cups.
"No sooner had I done that than Joe told me he couldn't get the team up on the website. So I did that too. Then it was, can you help with me with the water bottles, did you bring the lollies and can you cut up the oranges? So I pressed on, ensuring that all the jobs were done. They asked me to do the scoreboard, but I declined politely.
"Anyway, the team performed very well. Another win. I went in to the rooms to help them sing the song and discovered they all know the words now. That's progress. Then Chopper Handley came over in his official role as Assistant Coach and asked me if I would take the jumpers home to be washed. 'You do it better than anyone, Tezza, and can you make sure you give them a bit of a pressing to ensure there are no wrinkles.'
"Well, I've made some rods for my back over the years, but such is the life of a team manager. Is it all worth it, I wondered? Then I remembered the two dozen premiership medallions in the possession of the Landrigan family and said to myself 'yes, indeed it is. Another eight win weekend is always worth the effort'.
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Upcoming Premier Section clashes
13 May - R5 @ St Kevin’s
20 May - R6 @ Uni Blues
27 May - R7 VS Beaumaris
3 Jun - R8 VS Uni Blacks
Here's the ladder after Round 3:
LAST WEEK: De La won its first, defeating OMs. Blues pretty well cruised over Blacks, while St Kev's topped the Ts on TH King. Colls did for Beauy, while the Red 'n' Blacks had their best ever day at Brindisi.
Is there a pattern emerging? Is the gap opening between the "haves" and "have nots?" Is it top five against bottom five? Well, it's too early to tell. Some teams don't catch fire until the Queen's Birthday, after all, while others head for the ski slopes about that time.
The Predictor on the VAFA site throws up these Round 4 prognostications.
And here’s what we say . . .
St Kevin's @ Beaumaris. It is very difficult to see how the Sharks will cope with St Kevin's. The tricolours have convinced Steve Salopek to play again, they have Mark Jamar in the ruck, Mitch Brown around the place and Jay Schulz up forward (he booted 0.9 last week apparently). Then they have a bunch of home-growns who are driving hard for a big year. Beauy has only the lightning draw to its name and couldn't get into it against the Purples. We feel the Kevs will go massive here. They might kick 25 or more and thoroughly destroy the home team. The Predictor is being kind.
Tiges @ Blues. There won't be too many predicting a SBMT victory tomorrow. The Varsity is a lot stronger than it has been in recent years and will be full of confidence after last week's grudge match win. Ten goals seems about right, unless the Seasiders can find something new.
Uni Blacks @ De La Salle: The Predictor says a three goal win to the Sallies, but we disagree. The Bellers are better on the road and will drop this one, just you wait and see. Blacks are a better team than their three loss record suggests, and they will get on the board in a tough affair. It won't be by much, but one point gets your four!
OMs @ Colls: One doesn't bet on a Purples loss on the Trott, especially when the Lions are roaring. Except this week, the Lions' home is Wesley College at Gen Waverley. Not to worry. They've added some serious recruits and are taking all before them. They will likely stay top after this week's crushing win. OMs seem to play better against the better teams and then go down to teams they should beat. That's not much fun, is it?
The game of the day is undoubtedly Old Trinity and Old Xaverians. The R18 clash at Toorak Park last year was a barn-burner. Xavs played some of their best football for the year in the third term and might have wasted the Grasshoppers if they hadn't instead wasted opportunities. Trinity effectively won the game with four goals in the opening seven minutes of the second term. Apart from those periods of domination, it was all pretty even, and so it proved in the Grand Final until a brilliant final term put the Claret and Stout on the dais again.
The bad news is that despite last week's trouncing by SKOB, the Ts are still intent on winning. There will be no love lost after last year's September tangle. Many pundits believe the Ts should have won the GF, but that one is in the books. The Hedgeburners are full of class. Xavs might have the Sizzling Souvlaki Denis Symeopoulos, but on the other side of the ledger, the Ts boast a sizeable and very talented Aegean contingent - Hasiotis, Kyriacopoulos, Polidoros, and Manoussakis. Then from across the Ionian Sea, we have guns Nicolosi, Iezzi and Pacconi. More superstars than a Eurovision Song Contest. Throw in Scott, Hamilton, Steinhart, Osborn, Pohl and Hunt - and Tinney and Juric and Weatherson - and one can understand why Trinity has won so many games in recent years. Their coach Adam Andrews has instilled bucketloads of belief in this crew and the Greens are capable of beating anyone. And usually do.
Last week, of course, they misfired on TH King, kicking 0.8 in the first half. They kicked 6.6 to 6.9 thereafter, but the game was done at the long break when they trailed by an even 6 goals, despite a wayward Kevs.
Man for man, the Red 'n' Blacks can match it with Trinity. There's no doubt the visitors are faster, run harder and longer than most, and trust each other implicitly. That comes from plenty of lace-out pinpoint passes and strong hands on the other end. Xavs were, at times, very silky on the Brindisi carpet and there are plenty of ways they can exploit the opposition by applying relentless pressure on ball and man. However, any let-up will be costly. Give them a chance and the Ts usually take it. The Predictor awards the points to Xavs by 8 goals in a farcical attempt at calling it early. We expect the Red 'n' Blacks will rise to the challenge against their toughest opponent of the young season and win narrowly. Winning the hard games is a Xaverian specialty. Or has been in the past. It's time to show that tradition is alive and well at Toorak Park.
PS: Right now, the R5 Predictor is tipping Kevs to beat Xavs at the King by 7 goals - 143-101. Given SKOB averages 96 points at home, it appears odd that it could manage another 8 goals at home next week against a defence that conceded an average of just 71 in the first half of last season, when it turned 4-5. Still, we will deal with that in seven days. Let's beat the Ts first!