It was a shock loss for the Reds to a team that entered the day at 2-2. Blues began in fine fashion and never really allowed Shane Healy's team to take over the game.
Coach Shane Healy reports:
The OX Reds hosted an improving Uni Blues outfit at Stradbroke Park.
Four straight wins had been a great start to 2017, but it was obvious from very early that only one side had really come to play.
The Blues were harder, more direct and really beat us at our own game to open up an early lead, which they built on in the second quarter.
Our forward line was pretty non-functional in the first two quarters, and this made the path to goal quite haphazard, playing into the hands of the tall and strong Uni Blues defenders.
Our defence was loose early, but gradually got on top and ensured the lead did not blow out too far.
Some changes at the long break were needed and we began to get on top at the stoppages with Bueno, Stanley, Samartzis and De Lutis all having an impact.
Berry and Curtis gave us good drive in the ruck, while O’Sullivan did well when moved up forward. This gave us more zing after Cleeve left the ground injured, having played an excellent game.
With Fantasia dominating in defence, supported well by Steedman, Cookesley, Ongarato and co, it was a matter of whether our dominance in possession could get us across the line.
We edged within a goal in plenty of time to score the winner, but the Blues held on, thanks to some outstanding marking in deep defence and our inability to lower the eyes and find options other than a ‘goal-square bomb’.
It was a great learning experience and no-one would argue that the Uni boys deserved their upset win.
The Menages are next on the card and this is always a great battle – hopefully there will be a good crowd at Straddy on Saturday afternoon to see the Reds and Blacks tough it out after three memorable games last year.
Old Xaverians Red 2.2-14 3.4-22 5.7-37 8.10-58
University Blues 5.4-34 6.7-43 7.9-51 9.9-63
Goal Kickers: S. Cleeve 3, J. Samartzis, A. Amato, M. Stanley, J. Delutis, S. Vanderkley
Best Players: M. Stanley, L. Berry, J. Samartzis, C. O'Sullivan, A. Amato, T. Fantasia