Old Xaverians edged top team Collegians in a tough, tight contest at the Trott on Saturday, but the early abandonment of the game has cast a shadow over the well-deserved dividend for the Red 'n' Blacks.
A shocking leg injury to Xavs' utility Jarryd Skene in the time on period of the final term stopped the game with the ball in Brendan Goss's hands about forty metres from goal.. Skene's obvious injuries precluded moving him and the ambulance was summoned. More than half an hour elapsed before the field was clear and the umpires called time.
The VAFA will rule on the final result shortly.
Only inaccuracy in front of the sticks saw the visitors trail narrowly at the first change. The Purples went forward rarely and made more of their early chances. The second term was even- steven, and the Lions hit the sheds with a three point lead.
The Red and Blacks grabbed the lead in the first minute of the third term, lost it briefly, and then regained it mid way through the quarter. After that, they were never headed, replying quickly to every Collegians goal.
Despite some cruel luck that cost two six-pointers - an incomprehensible free against for a deliberately rushed behind, and a Z grade bounce that eluded defenders - Xavs hung tough.
At the other end, Collegians narrowly avoided two six-pointers when a defender got a fingernail on a Charlie Woodley snap and their defence, under no pressure, conceded a behind without further penalty.
As the last quarter wore on, the Claret and Stout emerged the superior team and looked certain winners. Until disaster struck at 23 minutes, when Skene popped a handball to a teammate and was hit after disposal.
Despite a four-quarter performance that outranked any from the Red 'n' Blacks so far this season, there was understandably no celebrations post-game. However, amid the gloom and understandable concern for a brother-in-arms, the facts are that the reigning premier matched and narrowly outmatched its well-drilled opponent in a fierce contest.
Tim Golds put in a great game at CHF, booting two goals, while the slick Hayden Troiani underlined his importance to the team with three. The defence, led by skipper Dan Noonan, shut down the Lions, who have hitherto been free scorers. On a day where the desire and ability to get to the contest made for serious overcrowding, delivery into the Xavs forward line was haphazard, making it difficult for leading forwards.
Still, the Xavs persevered and won the day, though not without one of their best being cut down when the result seemed assured.
The brass at HQ will decide who get s the points, while the X Men prepare for the return contest with St Kevin's.
Collegians 2.2-14 4.5-29 8.5-53 10.7-67
Old Xaverians 1.5-11 3.8-26 8.12-60 10.14-74
Goal Kickers: H. Troiani 3, T. Golds 2, C. Beetham, M. Handley, D. Symeopoulos, B. Goss, J. Barrack
Best Players: T. Golds, H. Troiani, D. Symeopoulos, J. Shaw, C. Beetham, D. Noonan