With the WOX enjoying a bye, Round 11 was never going to deliver the wall-to-wall domination of the previous two weeks. The dozen or more players had exited through Customs in the past week and that didn’t help either. But there were some strong performances, nonetheless, as the Xavs again achieved a 4/7 pass mark.
XAVS FIRE IN FOURTH TO SEIZE THE DAY
Old Xaverians stormed home in the final term to over-run a plucky Old Melburnians in the wind and rain at Toorak Park this afternoon.
On an ugly afternoon, the Red ‘n Blacks were able to break the shackles late and slip away to their tenth victory of the season.
The home team began brightly, moving the ball with confidence, but failing to capitalise on several forward entries due to some clever defensive work by the Dark Blues. Indeed, it was the visitors who drew first blood at the eleven minute mark. Xavs reply came late when Handley converted from a relayed free kick. But the Carmine Hose booted their second and held a seven point lead at the first change.
The second term seemed at times an exercise in defying the conditions, as both teams, particularly Xavs, over-used the ball, making decisions that were appropriate for a dry ball and firm turf. Not this day. OMs figured it out more quickly, but could only square the term at a goal apiece after Josh Anderson kicked truly. The Dark Blues led by eight points at the half, but there was a feeling among the faithful that the game was about to turn.
And turn it did. Matt Merlo, Brendan Goss and Nick Prowse all goaled in the first ten minutes as the X Men pushed forward relentlessly. And then momentum swung again. The visitors cut supply and worked their way back, scoring three unanswered majors to regain the lead. There were just four points in it at the lemons, and with OMs favoured by a slight breeze, the crowd braced for a thriller.
Will Hams goaled at five minutes, putting the Claret and Stout back in front, but the dogged Melburnians replied four minutes later. But that was it. The Xavs roared home, finally mastering the conditions and monstering the OMs to boot five in fifteen minutes to close the game.
Ben Banting and Alex Trigar were the pick of the defenders, with the former shutting down a strong opponent and the latter providing run and finding plenty of the ball. Matt Handley had no day out near the sticks, but was invaluable around the ground, where he applied plenty of pressure and won several hard balls. Matt Margin, Brendan Goss and Josh Anderson had some special moments, while the impetus for the late revival came from the midfield dynamos, led by Rohan Bewick and Marcus Stavrou, who had been on the march all day.
Old Melburnians really needed a win, but while the points eluded them, they still have the opportunity to challenge strongly for a finals’ spot.
A double bye is now with us. When they return, two games for Xavs that are likely to shape September - a trip to TH KIng and then a home bout with Uni Blues. Coach Satterley will have plenty to think about at the selection table in three weeks, with the strong output from the incoming quintet a reminder that spots in this team are to be earned, not gifted.
Old Xaverians 1.0-6 2.2-14 5.7-37 11.9-75
Old Melburnians 2.1-13 3.4-22 6.5-41 7.7-49
Goal Kickers: B. Goss 3, J. Anderson 2, M. Margin 2, N. Prowse, M. Handley, M. Merlo, W. Hams
Best Players: R. Bewick, M. Stavrou, S. Ralph, M. Handley, B. Goss, A. Trigar
OMs WIN TUSSLE FOR THE TOP
Old Melburnians won a hard-fought affair against a Xavs line-up that looked on paper to be a makeshift outfit, but played courageously and together, and were unlucky not to get the points.
The Red ‘n’ Blacks began well, but their first term scorecard robbed them of the ascendancy they deserved. From then on, it was a thoroughly even affair, hard, and often not pretty, though OMs, once in front, stayed in front. Or they did until Will Mantesso, perhaps the best man on the ground, tied it up late in the piece. But another chance never arrived, as the Dark Blues steadied and got their noses in front to stay.
The second loss tipped the X Men out of second spot, with St Kevin’s the beneficiary. But these two meet next up, so the drop might merely be a temporary inconvenience.
Old Xaverians 2.7-19 3.8-26 4.9-33 7.12-54
Old Melburnians 2.0-12 4.4-28 7.5-47 8.9-57
Goal Kickers: C. Kennedy 2, W. Mantesso 2, J. Hewitt 2, M. Peric
Best Players: W. Mantesso, L. Barry, J. Hewitt, H. Batten, J. Tobin, M. Douglas
HEALY’S BOYS FLOG FRIARS
The road trip did the Healers no harm and they go to the final bye still unbeaten.
Team Manager Bruce Wilson reports:
Coach Healy wrote to his charges the night before the game:– “Some of you might not know where Donvale is, but it’s the home of a brilliant Carmelite school, Whitefriars, where my Mum taught for many years. You may well note the Clare Healy wing when trying to find the oval tomorrow morning.”
With only 19 players, our game plan was simple - attack, be smart and preserve energy - and it was executed perfectly, despite losing big Velks in the last quarter to work commitments, Tommy Ingham to a seized back, and Tiernan O’Brien with a dislocated thumb.
All players contributed to a great win in the blustery and difficult conditions, with break-out games from Jack Ungar (BOG) who played in the ruck, at full back and at full forward with aplomb, and Will Honan, who won the weekly award for player best representing the OX spirit. Nick Lefebvre, Patty Nunan, a masterful Lucas O’Sullivan, Cam Bishop and Will Wilson all turned on stylish four quarter efforts.
Up forward, Rooch Brennan was swift, booting 4 cheeky and well earned goals. Sean Stanley, Jamie Hess, Callum O’Reilly, Tiernan O’Brien, Christian Impala were also effective, while Will Wilson had the ball on a string and Harry Kelly marked everything that came near his airspace.
In the midfield, Ungar and Velks swapped duties in the ruck taking it up to the taller Friars ruckman, and Bishop extracted the ball out time after time. Captain Chuck Wilson was on fire again, while Honan also spent valuable time in the back half, while O’Relly and Sean Stanley created plenty of havoc.
The back line, led by big Velks, was solid again and Fridge Forrest, Patty Nunan Tank Beaton, and the graceful Tommy Ingham, all did their jobs, while Jack Ungar, when called on for defensive duty, had no peer.
At the half year break, the Thirds have not yet taken the foot off the pedal or dropped their intensity at all. It is a closely- knit team that is a joy to watch. Congratulations to the boys that made it to the 2’s this week and word got back about Will Mantesso’s great game. Well done to all who got their chance.
Thanks to Carl Nunan, Anastasia, Dan O’Loughlin, Tommy Bergin, James Samartzis and all who helped for a great day at the office. Thank you also to Peter Brennan for taking Tiernan O’Brien to the hospital in the 3rd quarter. All helpers are much appreciated.
Whitefriars OC 0.2-2 3.3-21 4.5-29 5.5-35
Old Xaverians 3.2-20 9.2-56 16.3-99 20.10-130
Goal Kickers: H. Brennan 4, W. Honan 3, L. O''Sullivan 3, J. Unger 2, C. Bishop, C. O'Reilly, J. Hess, C. Impala, S. Stanley, T. O'Brien, H. Kelly, W. Wilson
Best Players: J. Unger, L. O'Sullivan, W. Honan, W. Wilson, P. Nunan, C. Bishop
Great pics below from Bridget Wilson.
LANE, CAIN BRAIN LIONS
The Menages took to their two-week holiday with a big win over Collegians on Harry Trott. The Lions showed plenty, but Fraser Lane with six goals and Michael “Zulu” Cain with four destroyed the Purple’s morning by booting a winning score between them.
Ash Sorrenti was BOG in the effort, which sees the Red ‘n’ Blacks hold top position by two games, plus plenty of percentage, from Old Scotch, who tossed them in R5.
Collegians 2.2-14 4.2-26 5.4-34 6.5-41
Old Xaverians 5.0-30 8.5-53 11.10-76 14.15-99
Goal Kickers: F. Lane 6, M. Cain 4, S. Grigg 2, M. Owen, M. Tempone
Best Players: A. Sorrenti, F. Lane, T. Negri, M. Cain, S. Franklyn, W. Hannebery
DECS DROP A TIGHT ONE TO THE CARDS
Zac Hart continued his fine form, but inaccuracy cost the Red ‘n’ Blacks as they fell to Old Scotch. The Cards led by five points at the lemons, and held off a fast-finishing Xavs’ team, who found their radar in time, but couldn’t land another blow to finish the game in front.
Old Xaverians 1.2-8 2.7-19 3.8-26 6.8-44
Old Scotch 2.0-12 2.1-13 5.1-31 7.5-47
Goal Kickers: S. Stynes 2, C. Whitehead, A. Spralja, L. Danielis-Morley, N. Jane
Best Players: Z. Hart, C. Whitehead, E. Sauze, J. Langford, O. Fraser, B. Christopher
SPIRITED EFFORT FALLS SHORT
Despite being short on numbers, the Old Xavs showed an incredible spirit in pushing the top-ranked McSaints at Stradbroke Park on Saturday. The challenge of meeting clubs with just one U19 team can take its toll, particularly when many Red ‘n’ Blacks have chosen Europe over football for the end of financial year period and its best players are poached for higher duties.
Old Xaverians 1.2-8 5.3-33 5.3-33 7.4-46
Old McKinnon/Glen Eira 5.1-31 7.4-46 11.10-76 12.10-82
Goal Kickers: W. Sheedy 2, K. Poes, J. Christopher, T. Bates, D. Tragear, T. Davine
Best Players: T. Davine, T. Waldron, W. Johnston, O. Tehan, H. Ferrari, M. Comito
THIRDS SECTION 2
CROCS OWN SECOND HALF IN LOW SCORING TUSSLE
Old Xavs defeated the second-placed Oggers in tough conditions at Como, with neither side winning points for accuracy. The Reptiles, by securing the win, must be considered an excellent chance to return to finals and will look to consolidate when they return for their month-long run home.
Old Geelong 1.1-7 2.6-18 2.7-19 2.8-20
Old Xaverians 1.5-11 2.7-19 4.8-32 4.9-33
Goal Kickers: J. Smith 2, J. Lyon, H. Aikman
Best Players: J. Smith, H. Reed, H. Denton, J. Lucchesi, L. Cotchett, A. Wood