A trip to Elsternwick rarely holds trepidation for the Red ‘n’ Blacks, but those visits usually occur in September, when the machine is finely tuned and well-oiled. Among the Xaverian faithful, there is a widely-held belief that the engines never purr on Opening Day, and that Old Melburnians, well-stocked with recruits, and now comfortably ensconced at the renovated HQ, might contribute to more R1 misery.

The realities are these: The Claret and Stout has now lost just two season openers in nine years, by a combined 13 points AND while the Dark Blues dominated periods of the contest this afternoon, the X Men held sway for the majority of the contest, and went harder for longer.

Xavs looked an entirely different team from last season. Taller and faster, to be sure, but also younger. And, on this day, better. Four debutants added a freshness to the mix. U19 graduates James Dalbosco and Tom Hart made their senior debuts and were strong contributors, both of them touching the leather often as Xavs bolted away to an early lead. Rohan Bewick and Chris Prowse, both of them more seasoned campaigners, looked lively from the earliest in their first Premier outings.

But it wasn’t all new. The Terror Twins - Handley and Goss - were back in harness at the goalfront, and they were presented with plenty of opportunities by the marauding Gilbert, Cullity, Troiani and Merlo.

For two stretches of the game, Melburnians looked to be in fine fettle. For most of the second term, they systematically cut the visitor’s lead. When Xavs threatened to massacre them in the third, OMs took over again despite the shocking ankle injury to Matt Thomas. But Xavs resumed their ascendancy and were rarely threatened thereafter.

One down, plenty to go.

Next week, a return to Toorak Park, for the home opener against St Kevin’s.

Old Melburnians 0.2-2 5.6-36 9.7-61 11.13-79

Old Xaverians 6.2-38 9.3-57 15.5-95 19.9-123

Goal Kickers: B. Goss 5, M. Handley 4, R. Bewick 3, T. Gilbert 2, N. Prowse 2, F. Pearce, D. Stanford, M. Batten

Best Players: T. Gilbert, H. Cullity, N. Prowse, B. Goss, B. Banting, J. Dalbosco

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The Chili Peppers never quite reached the red hot today, as Old Melburnians maintained their authority over the Red ‘n’ Blacks at Elsternwick Park.

The Reserves line-up was well stocked with players close to senior selection, and a strong performance was expected. However, hat did not eventuate as the team looked rusty and never quite found its rhythm. OMs established an early lead with first use of the breeze, and while Xavs threatened to haul them in, but never did.

Inaccuracy around the sticks did not help matters and a five-goal defeat from the same number of shots was the result.

A tussle with SKOB next week should be enough motivation to put it all together.

Old Melburnians 11.7-73

Old Xaverians 5.13-43

Goal Kickers: M Peric 2, M Hess, C Woodley, L Soccio

Best Players: M Peric, J Anderson, L Bisset, J Barrack, R Ralph, C Kennedy

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There were gear issues, but Xavs were in turbo drive for the entire game.

A late game under lights on an unfamiliar ground proved no deterrent, with four magnificent goals n the first quarter setting the tone for the rest of the evening. Despite a convincing lead, the work rate never abated with a total of 10 goals for the game.

An impressive win that epitomised the Old Xavs mantra of hungry but humble.

La Trobe Uni 0.0 0.4 1.6 1.6.12

Old Xaverians 3.3 5.9 8.6 10.9.69

Goal Kickers: Indiarna Ellis 2, Elise Ko 2, Jenifer Barker, Alicia McKertish, Caitlin Hickey, Madison Sorrenti, Alice Keith, Cheyene Macumber

Best Players: Caitlin Hickey, Indiarna Ellis, Gabby Golds, Madison Sorrenti, Elise Ko, Alicia McKertish



Controversy, and a state of confusion followed by good grace and sportsmanship by the WOX were the order fo the day for Round 1. Both Xavs’ teams were under umpire instructions to turn their away jumpers inside out, with the predominantly Red jumper deemed not distinctively different from the La Trobe University red and black home jumper. With the change made, the game commenced, with no WOX numbers in sight, but a a fierce determination to win clearly on display. 

There was a high degree of nervous energy mixed with a large dose of excitement ,with the majority being new: whether first time players to the club, the team or to the game itself. The Reds came out strong  and dominated in the first quarter. The opposition had a resurgence in the 2nd term with Xavs on the back foot but holding strong. An agonising 4th quarter saw La Trobe coming out on top at the end with a narrow but hard fought victory. 

La Trobe Uni 0.1 1.2 1.2 5.3.33

Old Xaverians 2.3 2.4 2.4 4.4.28

Goal Kickers: Isabella Villani 3, Bella Bueno

Best Players: Isabella Villani, Bella Bueno, Sophie Lewis, Nicole Manthorpe, Brooke Robertson, Ruby Cantieni



Old Xavs survived a tight tussle with arch-rival SKOB at Stradbroke Park, pushing away in the final stanza to win by a comfortable 25 points.

The reigning premier was held in check by a talented Tricolour squad, but the class of the reigning premier told in the end.

Old Xaverians 2.3-15 5.3-33 6.5-41 10.8-68

St Kevins 1.2-8 4.2-26 5.6-36 6.7-43

Goal Kickers: T. Simmons 3, T. Mantesso 3, A. Lamanna, S. Asdagi, D. Condon, A. Sheedy

Best Players: C. MacIsaac, O. Power, C. Whitehead, A. Sheedy, T. Simmons, O. Fraser


D’Arcy O’Shannassy’s U19 Reserves team edged Mentonians top U19 team in a thriller at Stradbroke Park. Earlier, the Baysiders had stunned the young Xavs, building a six goal lead.

But the X-Men hit back in the third term, after a stirring speech from the coach, closing to within a goal at the lemons.

A tense final term saw the home team hit the front and hold the lead, with Charlie Boots taking a Leo-Barry style grab in the dying seconds to save the game.

The old firm of Bourke and Berogna set the example for the younger boys in defence, whilst the brothers Christopher - Benjamin and Jack -teamed up forward for 4 majors.

Old Xaverians 1.3-9 2.6-18 6.8-44 8.13-61

Old Mentonians 4.4-28 7.6-48 7.7-49 8.8-56

Goal Kickers: J. Christopher 2, B. Christopher 2, T. Bates, N. Brown, C. Boots, N. Blackwood

Best Players: F. McCombe, L. MacKinnon, Z. Connor, C. Boots, B. Christopher



With all the hard work and off field negotiations, out the way the new look VAFA U23 Section was launched with a bang.

Old Xaverians pounded the RoyBoys at Ramsden Street, booting ten goals in the opening half, while holding the home team to a solitary behind. Having removed the rust, they piled on another 20 after the long break, while the defence held firm.

The Red ‘n’ Blacks fielded a team chock full of talent from last year’s U23s and U19s, as well a handful of over-age stars. All are striving for selection in the club’s reserves, and ultimately, seniors team.

Captained by Charlie Wilson, Xavs dominated Fitzroy from the get-go, with precision passing, unselfish inclusion, and immense pressure. But early returns were minor.

From the centre bounce our rucks in Berry, Fantasia and Ralph directed the ball straight to the waiting hands of Agius, Taouk, Stanley, Lowe, Brennan and gang delivering the ball directly to our talented forward line, but early opportunities went begging in the breeze.

The back line was solid, bouncing any advances down the ground with pin point accuracy. Silk, Turner, Forrest, Unger, Wilson, Nunan and Bueno were all luxuries along the great wall – impenetrable! Agnoletto was all over the ground, repelling any attacks, and Hess risked a dose of leather poisoning.

The second stanza was a continuation of the sublime football, with solid marking from all, including Veljkovic and Harry Kelly, who sharedthe ball with the likes of Bailey, O’Loughin and Mantesso, who all converted.

The message from coach Shane Healy and assistant Tom Bergin was clear: improved delivery and accuracy was required.

In response to their call, Old Xavs booted 20 goals 3 behinds in the second half, in a stunning display of sharing, switching and accuracy.

Kelly, Mantesso, Ralph, O’Brien, Thomas and Velkovic kicked 15 goals between them without a point!

Fitzroy 0.1.1 0.1-1 0.1-1 0.2-2

Old Xaverians 4.8-32 10.12-72 19.13-127 30.15-195

Goal Kickers: B. Thomas 4, H. Kelly 4, E. Ralph 4, W. Mantesso 4, W. Veljkovic 3, S. Stanley 2, T. O''Brien 2, L. Agnoletto, H. Brennan, O. Silk, J. Unger, D. O''Loughlin, L. Berry, J. Agius

Best Players: W. Mantesso, H. Kelly, S. Stanley, A. Taouk, B. Thomas, D. O'Loughlin


Coach Tom McClusky reports:

Round 1 saw the Menages return to the ‘Wick to take on OMs, who knocked us out in a Prelim last year.

The contest was an arm wrestle for the first half, but the Ménages held the momentum from the third quarter, running out the game as 5 goal winners. 

James Morrison looked like he was still on the rugby pitch, running straight lines off half back and sidestepping OMs for a best on ground performance in his first outing.

Our midfield brigade, ed by our captain Ash Sorrenti, put their heads down in a dominant display, while Ben ‘Killa’ Dalbosco put his hand up in a ‘dogged’ tagging role, nullifying OM’s best midfielder after quarter time.

Debutant Matthew Tempone showed his ability up the ground and deep in the square, resting at full forward for the final 5 minutes of the game and delivering 3 majors in as many minutes. 

Our forward line was productive. with Nick Sharkey showing his class with three majors and multiple assists, while Vincent “Sugo” Hands was productive across half forward.

Old Melburnians 7.6.48

Old Xaverians 11.7.73

Goal Kickers: N. Sharkey 3, M. Tempone 3, J. Hanger 2, S. Berengo, J. Morrison, D. Nash, A. Ongarello
Best Players: J. Morrison, V. Crisafi, A. Sorrenti, N. Sharkey, M. Tempone, B. Dalbosco


The Reptiles came from behind and nearly pulled off a victory that would have delighted the thousands of Crocs’ fans. Nonetheless, there were encouraging signs from a squad that looked depleted a week ago.

WIlliamstown CYMS 2.3-15 6.5-41 10.6-66 12.10-82

Old Xaverians 3.2-20 4.6-30 7.10-52 11.13-79