HUNTING TIGERS

Well this week, the sun is shining and all things are wonderful.  Perhaps this is an exaggeration, but when you are my age, every day is a blessing and a good win makes things all the more rosy.

How about that finish at Beaumaris? A nine goal quarter is a beautiful thing to behold and for it to come when really needed makes it all the more special. The drive back from Beaumaris was a happy two hours, but I made it in plenty of time to get an early night.

Tomorrow, I will be making the early morning drive to Trinity to watch the Xaverian girls for the final time this season. What a team they are and what a difference they have made in what was previously a male-dominated domain. I'm not one for mandating too much on the social scale of things, but if the ladies want to play football, why not. Our women have shown week after week that they want to play, and full marks to them.

Well done to all of you on the pioneering role you have played this season. And please look after yourselves on Sunday as you celebrate your completed roster of matches. Next year, at this time, you will no doubt be preparing for finals. It took the boys a full six years to make the final four, but I know you will do it in just your second year.

After watching the ladies salute, I'll be heading to Toorak Park for the lunch to honour some of the club's giants. A number of players will be receiving plaques and some of the club's volunteer heroes will also be in line for an award. Bill Denton called during the week to apologise for not having the room to squeeze me on to that list, as the VAFA has allowed just seven awardees for their contributions over the past 25 years.

"Not to worry, Mr President," I said, "I've received various awards from the VAFA in 1938, 1953, 1975, 1992 and 2000, and i haven't any more room at home." I neglected to mention these awards have all gone missing, presumably passed into Cash Converters by my dear wife, who is always looking for the next big thing to help her putting.

Anyway, congratulations to the seven people receiving awards:

Jack Bowen: The owner is one of those who saved the club back in the 1970s and has not stopped giving.

Robert Ralph: The butcher has been one of the instigators of the club's great success for over 30 years.

Simon Hunt: The former team runner was president for ten years, during which the club expanded and won premierships at every level.

Bill Denton: The current president, sponsor, fundraising wizard and sometime European cyclist has put in an enormous effort after a great playing career.

Matt Hannebery: As a coach and player, brought the first chance of success in the early 90s. Has subsequently served as an assistant, currently Director of Football with great connections to the Sydney Swans.

Ray McLean: Long-serving team manager who set the benchmarks for precision in that role. Put in countless hours over they years, though avoided the post-GF guernsey laundry bill by giving the jumpers to the players if they won. Which they did often.

Peter McDonnell: Despite playing at DLS, came home and was dubbed Mr Football for his wide-reaching involvement in volunteer duties.

Well done to all of you, and well deserved. The better reward will come for them all later tomorrow, we hope, when Xavs win against St Bart's Tigers.

It is a crucial game for the Red 'n' Blacks, who are still pressing for that spot in the four. The Barts might have done enough already to avoid relegation, but they will be seeking ensure the drop does not await. I'll be in the stand, dressed in red and black and in the rooms post match to belt out the song, as long as the cheering hasn't made me completely hoarse.

But let's not write off the Tigers: Dear dear dear no! They bite, they scratch, they make an awful fuss, it's no good stroking them or saying puss, puss, puss.

I like these new Xavs boys Richards and Kelly. They might have big futures at Toorak Park and will no doubt contribute strongly to the effort tomorrow.

In other games, OMs get another crack at St Kevin's. They have made a habit of taking it up to the Masters of Moonga Road and will like their chances at the Old Trots Track. Well, they will until the experienced SKOB team lets loose the dogs of war in the last term and snatch another victory. It's looking good for the Kevin's, isn't it?  

Collegians host Uni Blues and despite my feeling that pound for pound, man for man, that the Varsity shades the Lions, I don't see them winning. Still, if Tommy Girdwood and David Brady fire as they might, anything could happen. But I'm sticking with the Purples.

Trinity meets Beaumaris. Here are two teams on a real slide. One or both won't be around next year. This week, I like the Horned Frogs at home on the big Ramsden Oval. The Sharks were around the mark for much of last week, but their (apparent lack of) fitness doesn't allow them the withering finish that would have won them some games. 

Blacks meet DLS under the spires. Neither has been the model of consistency. The Sallies have the bigger upside, and are probably favourites. The Blacks have been all over the place, but will be a chance if they play to their best. No, I'm still with the Dairy Bellers, who need to win to stay ahead in the race for the finals.

May your team win if it wears red and black.