There are a few out there who have rung to told me that I might have been a bit rough on Porky Rhoden last week. Sorry all those calls went to my answering machine, but I wasn't game to argue the point. However, in hindsight, given that the First XVIII, the U19s and the U19 Reserves all beat Scotch on Saturday, I think my refusal to go anywhere near him on match-day worked out well. I am yet to ascertain whether Porky himself was at any of these games, but I am sure now the clashes with the Cardinals are last week's news, the great man will certainly be at Xavier on Saturday for the Maytime Fair.
For those not familiar with the calendar customs at Barkers Road, the Maytime Fair is a massive fundraiser for the Jesuit Mission and all proceeds go to help those less fortunate in countries in Asia, the sub-continent and in Africa.
Xavier College has been hosting the Maytime Fair for 65 years. And why not? Ever since Fr Hackett was relieved of his duties as Rector in 1940, the Jesuits have been pretty good at raising funds, though as a long-time master there, I can assure you that I never saw too many pay increases.
Anyway, if you get to the Fair on Saturday, you will likely catch up with some of the more famous Old Xaverian football luminaries.
Terry Landrigan won't get there, as he'll be at Toorak Park by 7:00am, mowing and marking the oval. Bill Denton won't get there, because he has to prepare for the big pre-match lunch and he's working on his speech. They are excused.
You know Peter McDonnell will be there. He always is, and was even before he joined the Xavier staff. He'll be running three or four stalls. Jack Bowen will be there too, at a time dependent on Meg's golf commitments and the football schedule of the grand kids. Gavin Woodruff will no doubt scoot by to say hello to Bill Carroll, and if you look in any direction, you'll probably see a Lachal, a Ralph and/or a Silk. Rolly Howard will be there and thereabouts, holding court.
I will get there too. I'll be arriving at 1:00pm for a sausage and then a chat, and after all that, I can pull up a chair at the Chapel Oval and watch the WOX play Old Trinity. I am now a fully-fledged fan of the Women and after watching them hose off Old Brighton last Sunday, count me in as a potential number one ticket holder. Of course, one needs to be asked to accept such an honour, and the Old Xavs have rarely asked me to accept an honour despite me helping found the club in 1923. And I don't really think that Peter Rhoden has blackballed me, so let's change the subject.
Women playing football at Xavier on the day of the Maytime Fair indicates how things have changed since my middle age. The aforementioned Fr Hackett, with whom i was in constant strife, had no time at all for the Old Xavs during his six year stint. The feisty Irish revolutionary was far more interested in libraries than goals and points, and hated boys playing sports at the College. He would not have dreamed of women setting foot on the campus, let alone them playing football there. But they are, and full credit to the College for their forward thinking. And before you accuse me of going soft, it has nothing to do with "equality", and all about home ground advantage, crowd support and four premiership points in their first crack at Premier level.
Elsewhere on Saturday, there are some big clashes in the men's Premier section. And then some that are not so big.
Beaumaris have not had the fast start they had hoped for and St Kevin's pay them a visit. Pretty, it won't be. The Marvels of Moonga Road will prevail here. By plenty. It might be a tough year for the Sharks. They were premiers last season, but their lineup doesn't seem to have changed much, just aged by a year. Still, anything can happen in a long year, but I don't see them getting close to the Skevvies on Saturday.
The other seaside team, St Bart's head into the University to meet the Blues and once again, things appear headed for a lopsided contest. The new pavilion seems to have injected life into the old club and I just can't see the visitors wreaking too much havoc.
The other half of the University, the Blacks, venture out to De La Salle. While I understand that De La was strong last week, and the Blacks weren't too effective against their own co-tenants, I am tipping a close one. Waverley Park is a strange place to play, and the team that seems to have most trouble figuring it out is the home team. Why aren't they more consistent at home? Who can answer, other than with performance. Perhaps, De La will survive this one. Perhaps.
Collegians have begun the season well and my old friend LA Adamson will be turning in his grave to applaud his Purples. This week, their unbeaten record won't be threatened. OMs travel Lakeside and I can't see them winning, especially after dropping their opening two home games. The Trott has swallowed many teams over the years and while the Dark Blues seemed set for a biggish year, it's the Lions that have infused their lineup with some pretty good players.
I will be sorry to miss the Old Xavs matchup with Old Trinity. It's probably a good thing, though, as my eyes can't keep up with the speed that the Horned Frogs use the football. Speed has been forbidden for years at the Old Xavs, so it will be a clash of styles. The battle should be intense and some small measuring stick on improvement since the last time they met, in the 2016 Grand Final. And we know who won that one. (Not to brag, but simply to remind myself.) It is not my habit to tip against the Old Xaverians, and I won't do so here, though I expect the game will be in doubt until the final term.