The return to Barkers Road was less successful than anyone might have hoped, but to see so many old friends made for an interesting afternoon. I had so many flashbacks, seeing so many of my former students as they once were.
Judging from the quality of motor vehicles parked in the grounds, it would appear that my Latin classes were extremely valuable lessons for many young fellows destined for greatness.
However, as much as it saddens me to say so, the big winners on the day were St Kevin's. They are a very good team and a very confident bunch to boot. It's possible that in future years, the Old Xavs will develop a very real and lasting rivalry with them. Everyone now seems to be talking about the Kings of King as premiership favourites and that opinion certainly is justified on form.
I promised last week that I would consult the great Peter Rhoden to choose the best Xaverian team of the past half century. I did so, but Porky was too busy filling the scrapbooks with cuttings of his goalkicking grandson to respond in any meaningful way. So I sent him a team and he replied in cursory fashion. "Not bad, Mr Chips, but I am not giving it my imprimatur. It's your team, not mine."
I have excluded current day players, several of whom might be automatic selections when they retire. With apologies to those not selected, this was how I figured it . . .
(Number of B+F awards in brackets) Don't forget, those who played league football are ineligible.
B: Andrew Dillon, Nick Burne (1), John Noonan (5)
HB: Travis Ruyg, Michael Holmes (1) , Andy Biddlecombe (1)
C: John Bowen (1), Tim Ockleshaw (2) , Ryan Colbert (2)
HF: Tim Clarke (1), Adam Jones, David Landrigan
F: Mitch McKenzie (6), Matthew Bourke, Dan Richardson
Foll: Michael Blood (4), Simon Wood (1), Mick Mulcahy (2)
Bench: Ben Cranage, Lachie Ford (1) , Steve Curtain, Sam Johnston.
Coach: Simon Lethlean
(If you wish to argue with Chips, you can comment at the bottom of the page!)
Plenty of defence, rebound and plenty of goalkicking ability too. No other team, including any Big V lineup, would beat this Mr Chips All-Star XVIII.
There are plenty of others to come in to that side should there be injuries: Esmond Prowse, James Scanlan, Jon Mercuri, Justin Arnold and at least half-a-dozen more who were on the fringe of selection.
But to the present, and this week's round of Premier games:
St Kevin's College plays host to their own alumni team and that of Wesley tomorrow in the big Foundation Day clash. This day commemorates I'm not sure what, but my friends at SKOB tell me they are confident of reversing the result from Round 6, when the mighty Lions ripped them to pieces. They might be right about this too.
The twice-a-season derby at the University is always a beauty, a day to reminisce about glories past and a chance to rekindle the hatred that once existed between the two Varsity teams, an enmity that was once as much a part of the game as the stab-pass and the place-kick. Where has it gone, old-timers ask? Perhaps until the Blacks start winning regularly it will remain in the past. Sad, really. Nothing like two mates from the Applied Mathematics Combinatorics tutorial doing an assignment together and then trying to grind each other into the dust on Saturday. (Dust, too, is seemingly a thing of the past under the spires, though apparently this season the ground is in great condition.) Blues will stroll home, though I did notice Blacks might be on the way back.
Old Trinity is really struggling and must trek all the way to Mentone to play St Bart's. Can things get worse for the Hedgeburners, they asked when they lost their second successive grand final by a whisker. The answer, YES. and it might get worse still for the green team on the small ground. Bart's to win.
Old Melburnians are at the Old Trots Track against Beaumaris, and both will be hoping their game goes the full four quarters. The Dark Blues are performing well, and are still a chance of playing finals. For the Sharks, it's a matter of staying up, because they are yet to win at all. However, this is the week. I see the tall blue and gold boys from the Bay winning this.
The other blue and gold team, De La Salle, takes on Old Xaverians. This game always has plenty of extra spice, though the after-match is usually a jovial affair. The spectators might support different clubs, but come 4:35 pm, they are just one big bunch of thirsty Catholics who lost big at the races and are looking for someone to buy them a beer. The Red and Blacks play well at Waverley Road, though I don't know why that is. But they will bounce back after last week's spotty show and hold third spot.