All’s well that ends well, as the bard wrote, but a poor start can cruel a campaign, as season 2018 proved. The beautiful late summer weather and the picturesque Mornington Peninsula provided an excellent backdrop for the Xavs’ pre-season camp.

Proceedings began on Friday evening when the crowds gathered at Hunt Helipad South in Sorrento, where President Matt Cosgrave welcomed players and coaches - returning and new - to season 2019. The throng feasted on gourmet burgers, rissoles and sausages, expertly cooked by Vice President Damian Berry. Only one player reported food poisoning , and barely a dozen were overcome by smoke during the cook.

There were few side-effects evident on Saturday morning, when seventy-odd senior players stepped out on to Dustin Lloyd Stadium in Rye for a three hour tour. As with the SS Minnow of Gilligan’s Island fame, it all ended on the beach, where they joined in some joint exercises with the Xavs’ Women.

In between, some lunch and some time in the film room, talking about matters tactical.

Murray Browne’s WOX had begun their day with a sharp on-field session at Percy Cerutty Field, and topped it off with a pre-lunch session on the Portsea Back Beach.

The formalities concluded last night with a club get-together for dinner in Sorrento.

All coaches reported satisfaction with the weekend, believing it is another building block to success this season. “The players worked hard and we gained some new insights into them,” said Assistant Coach Lachy Walker.

WOX Assistant Dylan Barker said that the women might have worked even harder. Some of them clocked over 20km on their Fitbits. “Whatever their total exertion, they answered every challenge with enthusiasm and tenacity,” he said.