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The drought is over. Eleven months without an Old Xaverians premiership and three years of Crocodile futility came to a close as Ciaran "Kyron" Nolan's Lime Sox won the Club XVIII premiership at Elsternwick Park today.
The Crocs opened into the wind and asserted early superiority. The 300 gamer David Landrigan threaded the eye of the needle to kick Xavs' first, but it was tough going against a determined South Mornington outfit. The Tigers slotted one just before the quarter time break to take a narrow lead.
The second term saw the Crocs fail to capitalise on the wind advantage, but turned the narrow deficit into a small surplus by the half. The third term saw Xavs again stifle the Tigers and hold them close. At the lemons, the Tigers led by a goal.
The rain came at the start of the final term, and four minutes in, the scores hadn't changed. South Mornington were still very hard at the contest, but then the Crocs bared their teeth. The leveller, the go-ahead goal and then a stunner from David Landrigan, who turned back the clock fifteen years with his famous closing speed, a hard ball get and a super snap.
Eleven minutes gone, and the Crocs appeared home. But there was more magic to come. Another six goals in the remaining twelve minutes saw the margin blow to 47 points.
Al Wood, who booted five, won the King-Landrigan Medal and deservedly so. But there were heroics all over the field from the Reptile players. They might wear green sox, but it is the other clubs that are green with envy.
Old Xaverians 2.0.12 5.4-34 5.4-34 14.4-88
South Mornington 3.3.21 4.4-28 6.4-40 6.5-41
Goal Kickers: A. Wood 5, D. Landrigan 3, H. Healey 2, B. Corcoran 2, M. Walsh, S. Adams
Best Players: A. Wood, M. Walsh, T. Trahair, D. Hansen, James Smith, Josh Smith
SENIORS: DUO DELIGHT ON DEBUT BUT NO JOY FOR ONES AS BLACKS SMASH THEIR WAY HOME
University Oval again proved a graveyard for Xaverians in Red, as the seniors were put to the sword by ninth-ranked Uni Blacks. The second 70+ point defeat on the ground for the year, coupled with De La Salle's dismantling of the in-form Old Melburnians, ended the Claret and Stout's title defence.
The first quarter looked promising for the visitors, though the strength of the breeze blowing to the Lygon Street end was perhaps stronger than was apparent t most spectators. Blacks kicked the first, but then at ten minutes, Matt Handey replied from close range. Sam Ralph picked his way through traffic to add another and then Tyson Thomas slipped one through. Three goals in ten minutes was not quite awe inspiring, but nonetheless, the team was on top and controlling the tempo and the game.
Uni Blacks got on with it from early in the second term. Joel "Deadly" Ernest kicked his second and the home team then slammed on another seven before the long break, with only their last goal drawing a response. Blacks hit the sheds with a six goal lead, though the more optimistic among Xavs' fans mulled a comeback.
Such notions were wiped in the third. Xavs added five goals, but Blacks could not be held, and booted another six to extend their margin. Rather than cruise to a well-earned victory, Les Noirs kept the foot on the pedal and slammed home another six goals in the last. That sort of ruthlessness is not unknown to the Red and Blacks, but it usually them dishing it out. Not this day.
Apart from promising debuts from Luke Bisset and Hamish Cullity, and another strong showing from the recently-returned Tyson Thomas, there was nothing much else to be happy about. Coach McDonald mentioned a lack of resilience, which has been all too evident in recent weeks.
The Xavs have the chance now to bounce back in their final hit-out of this failed campaign. Their opponent, Collegians, has much to play for with the double chance on the line. Earlier in the year, Xavs led the Purples all afternoon, but the game was called early after Jarryd Skene sustained a shocking injury, and the points were split.
University Blacks 1.3-9 9.8-62 15.11-101 21.13-139
Old Xaverians 3.3-21 4.4-28 9.6-60 10.8-68
Goal Kickers: T. Thomas 2, T. Gilbert 2, C. Beetham, D. Symeopoulos, M. Handley, C. Johnston, D. Noonan, S. Ralph
Best Players: L. Bisset, H. Cullity, M. Ambrose, J. Shaw, T. Thomas, N. Serafini
TWOs: BROWNIES STAMP OUT BLACKS' CHALLENGE AND MUZZA HALF-TIME TONGUE LASHING
With Daniel Harangozo bidding farewell to his teammates (he is off to WA with work), the Twos picked up their workrate in the second half and blasted home to victory.
The first half had been a lacklustre affair, with Xavs seemingly not troubled, but not doing much to shake the Blacks' challenge. After the break, their was more urgency in the visitors' efforts.
The Dingo was best afield and tried desperately, and unsuccessfully, in the final term to slot a major. Youngsters Charlie Kennedy, Mitch Parker and Milky Forrest had no such issues.
University Blacks 1.2-8 3.4-22 5.5-35 6.7-43
Old Xaverians 2.6-18 4.8-32 8.15-63 13.17-95
Goal Kickers: C. Kennedy 3, M. Parker 3, J. Forrest 3, H. Morris, S. Knox, L. Denton, J. Barrack
Best Players: D. Harangozo, N. Nunan, H. Morris, M. Parker, C. Kennedy, T. Amad
3rds: MENAGES STRONG OVER BLACKS
The Menages upped the ante in the second half and ran out easy winners over Uni Blacks.
University Blacks 0.1-1 4.1-25 4.4-28 5.7-37
Old Xaverians Black 2.2-14 4.6-30 6.11-47 10.18-78
Goal Kickers: C. Dipierdomenico 4, A. Sorrenti 2, M. Owen 2, A. Ongarello, J. Hanger
Best Players: W. Ralph, A. Sorrenti, J. Close, G. Haddan, C. Dipierdomenico, J. Hanger
U23: HEALY'S HEROES BREAKFAST AT BEAUY
It was an early start that proved sluggish. Inaccuracy in fron of the sticks nearly proved costly.
Beaumaris 4.0-24 4.5-29 4.7-31 5.8-38
Old Xaverians Red 2.5-17 5.8-38 5.12-42 5.19-49
Goal Kickers: J. Samartzis 2, H. Kelly 2, T. Bergin
Best Players: H. Cookesley, O. Silk, H. Kelly, D. Prowse, C. Wilson, M. Cain
U19: SHAW THINGS SLASH SKEVVIES AND SEAL DOUBLE CHANCE.
Old Xaverians 3.1-19 5.4-34 9.8-62 14.11-95
St Kevins 2.1-13 4.3-27 6.4-40 7.7-49
Goal Kickers: L. Soccio 4, T. Williamson 2, B. Scala 2, C. Vanderkley, S. Stanley, M. McKay, H. Vanderkley, J. Dalbosco, W. Prowse
Best Players: M. Batten, J. Dalbosco, L. Soccio, M. Speakman, H. Vanderkley, W. Veljkovic
U19R: YOUNG GUNS FIND FORM AGAIN
Old Xaverians 14.12-96
St Kevins 12.7-79
Goal Kickers: J. Ukovic 3, X. Romanin-Green 2, M. McNamara 2, J. Lyon 2, A. Trigar, N. Russ, L. McCombe, R. Beaton, H. Brennan
Best Players: D. O''Shannassy, P. Beaton, N. Russ, J. Ukovic, A. Trigar