JUNIOR MACs EDGE OMs

Old Xaverians has a fine record at Sportscover Arena, in part because the ground suits the style of the red and blacks, but also because Xavs have made it a habit of playing well in big games, and many of those that have counted for something have been played there.

Nonetheless, there have been some dark days there - metaphorically as well as literally - and getting the points is often more difficult than the record would suggest. Certainly the new tenant at HQ, the Dark Blues, are intent on building their own traditions at the ground and one of these, they would hope, will be to beat Old Xaverians there.

It nearly happened yesterday, but not quite, as Old Melburnians let themselves down in the front half with some poor conversion.  Xavs, it must be said, did not take all of their opportunities either, but theirs were usually a few degrees of difficulty higher.  

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James Midgley debuted for the X Men after a fine showing in the preseason and in the opening round. He received his specially minted Anzac Day jumper from Xavs' legend Robert Ralph. 

OMs looked the stronger team early in the piece, particularly in the first term when it managed to score easily into the strong breeze.  The Dark Blues maintained their ascendancy on the scoreboard until the main break, but there were signs that the giant was stirring.

A magnificent third term saw the Old Xavs restore some order to proceedings. Big Matt Handley, wearing the uncustomary number 5 on the back of his guernsey, booted three after being held tight in the opening half and the Claret and Stout held sway by 15 points at the lemons.

Would it be enough? On other days, perhaps not, but with both teams wayward in front of the sticks in the final stanza, the Red 'n' Blacks managed to hang on for a narrow victory on the Elsternwick lawn.

The victors were well served by the Sizzling Souvlaki, Denis Symeopoulos, who capped his BOG effort with three important goals. Campbell Lane turned in a strong game in his second outing, while Nick Wynne was the star of the defensive effort. 

Coach James McDonald and his assistants will be looking for a more sustained effort next week on the tiny Brindisi Street ground. While one brilliant quarter has been enough to snatch the points in the opening rounds, no-one believes that happy fortune will last.

OMs have but half-a-win from two outings, but showed plenty to suggest that their season might be even better than last year's campaign. With a few good ones to return, they won't be easy for anyone.

Old Melburnians   4.2-26  5.7-37  8.8-56 11.14-80

Old Xaverians       2.3-15   4.4-28  11.5-71  12.11-83

Goal Kickers: D. Symeopoulos 3, M. Handley 3, H. Troiani 2, B. Goss, T. Williams, C. Margin, C. Lane
Best Players: D. Symeopoulos, C. Lane, N. Wynne, H. Troiani, J. Skene, T. Johnston