The practice matches are done for another year and now we will begin to discover whether all the work has been worthwhile.

Yesterday, five squads ventured to Tarneit to meet with SKOB, taking that long sinister drive past the Port Phillip Prison as the light rain and swift sou-wester hit the car windows hard.

Shane Healy’s U23 lineup looked impressive, and Tom McClusky’s Thirds looked sharp too. The WOX rested a few and faced a squad that changed over entirely at the half, going down by just a couple of goals.

Over on the other ground, the Reserves were put to the sword, finding both the conditions and their opponent tough propositions.

The main event was the senior contest. Kevs had first use of the gale, but Xavs did well into the breeze, pressuring the reigning premier all the way to the first quarter siren. The Red ‘n’ Blacks looked even better in the second term and ran out the game well, winning by around four goals.

The U19 squads headed to VFL Park to meet with the Xavier College 1s and 2s. The schoolboys looked very impressive in the curtain-raiser and took the game easily. The later clash, for the McClure Shield, saw a spirited contest won by the Alumni team. There was plenty to like about both teams and with Sam Shaw in charge of the XC XVIII, we can expect a real challenge for the APS title. De Pittonet’s lineup was in fine fettle too, gradually shaking its younger counterpart to win by about 4 goals.

Now we play for points.