Given Old Trinity's ability to pour on the pressure in the final term, any opponent realistically hoping to beat the Ts would prefer to take a lead to the three quarter time huddle. Yesterday at Toorak Park, Old Xaverians held no such lemon-time advantage, yet still stormed home to take the points.
Trailing by 19 points at the final change, the Red 'n' Blacks ran and attacked relentlessly. Three goals, six behinds to two points in the final term perhaps understates the fourth quarter domination of the home team, though it was enough to boost the reigning premier's record to 4-0.
While the curtain-raiser had produced high-scoring and free-flowing football, the main event did not, certainly in the first half. Rain ruined that possibility, contributed to mistakes, and kept scoreboard pressure to a minimum.
The Red and Blacks booted just a single major in the first half, Tomi Johnston booting one from close range at the four minute mark of the second term. Old Trinity had fewer opportunities, but were more economical. They increased their lead incrementally as the game wore.
Denis Symeopoulos kicked the only Xavs goal of the third term. Otherwise, the home team refused to kick straight and the pattern of the game really hadn't changed.
The last stanza restored enough accuracy to get the job done. Tom Williams goaled, Brendan Goss threaded one from deep in the scoreboard pocket (but not before missing a sitter) and then captain Dan Noonan, relieved of checking responsibilities, put up two hands instead of one clenched fist and took a pluck in front. His trusty left foot put the X Men in front for the first time at the nineteen minute mark of the term.
Matthew Handley roamed the forward line with purpose but he kicked like a man one shy of a world record. He hasn't had such yips since the 2007 Grand Final. Meanwhile, Nick Wynne seemed to dominate the entire Trinity forward line on his own. He had some defensive help from Jarryd Skene, but the man who saved last year's premiership was at his very special best again. There are few better sights in football than #26 in full flight, though the Ts must be sick and tired of him.
Chris Waller took another step towards his best. We are not yet seeing the fine-tuned Rolls Royce, but the signs are very good. Hayden Troiani again had some influence, while Tomi Johnston not only kick-started the scoring, but was the prime mover in many red and black pushes.
Four points earned through perseverance and hard work might are just as pretty as those from a slick display. The Claret and Stout will take them as they look forward to another tough test against the marauding St Kevin's.
Old Xaverians 0.3 1.5 2.12 5.18 (48)
Old Trinity Grammarians 2.2 4.4 6.7 6.9 (45)
GOALS: B. Goss, D. Symeopoulos, T. Williams, B. Kennedy, T. Johnston
BEST: T. Johnston, N. Wynne, H. Troiani, J. Skene, B. Kennedy, C. Waller