Today we honoured the contributions of six greats of our club, all of whom were big contributors to our successes in recent seasons past.
Playing at the Old Xaverians can be a rewarding experience. Every one of these young men played in at least one senior premiership and have won the admiration of all Xavs' fans.
Marcus Allan was a star junior who came to the Xavs from Brisbane Lions. The blond dasher played some fine games for the Red 'n Blacks and was instrumental in the success of the 2010 and 2013 flags. Would have played many more games had injuries not taken their toll.
Former President Simon Hunt comments: Laconic, with polished skills, clean ball handler, good on his preferred foot and had a real impact in big games.
Caydn Beetham arrived mid-season in 2003 from St Kilda and was a key in the flag that year. In 2005, he won the Best and Fairest and played in the premiership team, and returned to the club a decade later to win another flag and the Jock Nelson Medal in 2016. He was not a prodigious goal scorer, but he did kick one from the centre circle at Box Hill in the 2005 first semi final rout of Old scotch, and then, of course, there was his gem at Princes Park to seal the premiership last year.
Simon Hunt comments: Freakish. His power and tenacity set him apart, best on ground in last year’s grand final and many other big games.
Michael Darvell will be remembered for his silky skills, his runs into the forward line and his excellent decision-making. The former skipper was cursed by injuries and poor luck, but his determination and desire to succeed were exemplary. He was an exceptional leader whose mere presence on the field made the Xavs a better and more dangerous team.
Simon Hunt: Leadership – professional in the way he prepared for games. His contested footy, ball-winning ability was a driving force – was imbued with Old Xavs footy values.
James McDonnell was a star in the U19s, and though foot injuries plagued his time in senior ranks, he was a devastating performer on his day. and he had plenty of those. Played a lot of Ones, Reserves and in the end, Crocs football, where his leadership and dominance contributed strongly to three consecutive flags for the Lime Hose.
Simon Hunt: A power forward with incredibly long range kicking ability and his skill to convert from difficult angles. He was agile and he was able to get to the right spots, an intelligent footballer.
Jon Mercuri began 2007 in the U19s and mid-season booted 15 and 10 goals in consecutive weeks. Promoted by Barry Richardson to play in the seniors against Old Scotch at Camberwell, he announced his arrival with a crunching tackle inside his first minute of game time. The little master quickly became a star. A cruel injury in the pre-season of 2011 halted his progress, but to his credit, he returned to make a significant contribution at Senior, Reserves (whom he coached for one year) and Thirds levels.
Simon Hunt: A wizard, acrobatic, lethal around goals and arguably one of the best finals players. He was one of the mercurial small forwards in the VAFA in the past decade.
Esmond Prowse was a player who ran all day and set up plenty of forward thrusts from his wing. Ever-reliable, Mouse very often kicked crucial goals in tight finishes. Diminutive, but courageous beyond compare, he made more sacrifices than mistakes in his career in red and black and his Best and Fairest win in 2014 was extraordinarily popular.
Simon Hunt: Super endurance and speed, owned and controlled the wing, very under-rated and always performed in big games including many finals. His consistent ability to rack up 30 plus disposals often took him to another level.
In addition, the following seven volunteers from Old Xavs were presented with VAFA achievement awards for their work over the past 25 years;
Jack Bowen, Bill Denton, Matt Hannebery, Simon Hunt, Peter McDonnell, Ray McLean and Robert Ralph. Congratulations to all on this well-deserved accolade.