Another solid weekend as we head for Easter.
1s: CLARET AND STOUT CLIP SKOB
The Red ‘n’ Blacks’ victory over Old Melburnians on Opening Day had blown out the cobwebs. One Saturday does not a season make, however, and it was yet to be revealed whether this early form was a harbinger of better days or just a false dawn.
What greater test than a stoush with the reigning premiers, who themselves began brightly last week, smashing its GF opponent Collegians? Given that St Kevin’s had handed the Xavs four consecutive defeats, the pre-game confidence among the faithful might have been misplaced. It wasn’t.
Xavs sprung into action from the first bounce, stunning SKOB with a six goal first quarter blitz. From then on, the Tricolours were playing catch-up football. They challenged the Claret and Stout supremacy on several occasions, but the home team always answered and took the points in a high standard affair.
The early going saw Tom Gilbert pick up where he left off last week. But by the half, he and his skipper Noonan were done for the day. Given the ominous form of Jarrad Waite at the SKOB goalfront, those subtractions might have proven costly. Thanks to a master-class from Jordan Kelly across the defensive half of the field, and some smooth work from his cohorts, especially second-gamer Dalbosco, damage was kept to a minimum. At the other end, it was more of a team affair, with Goss, Troiani and Handley all nailing multiples.
The Xavs’ midfield was bolstered by the returning Denis Symeopoulos and the first game VFL lister Marcus Stavrou. Both were influential, with the latter kicking an important goal as the clock expired in the third term. Cauley Beetham again put himself in the thick of things, with his close checking and his ability to find his own space and the Sherrin when required. Rohan Bewick was damaging early, took a heavy knock, but returned with great effect.
The talls had an impressive day. Jason Holmes was again strong, winning the majority of taps against the estimable SKOB skipper Lynch. The big American did some great work on the ground too, often roving the loose balls and farming them out to teammates. His comrade Chris Prowse provided solid back-up and showed some aerial strength at vital times.
Mid-way through the third term, SKOB came hard and narrowed the margin to 12 points. Xavs snatched the momentum back, but missed five opportunities in a row. With just eight seconds left in the term, Stavrou kicked a beauty that restored full confidence.
The last term was a tense affair, but the Red ‘n’ Blacks matched everything thrown at them and took the points.
It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch, but it was another step for the rejuvenated Red ’n’ Blacks. After the break, they head to the Daley Oval to meet Old Trinity. This year’s team appears capable of playing that ground as well as any in living memory, though the winless Ts will be hungry and cannot be under-estimated.
Old Xaverians 6.3-39 10.6-66 13.11-89 15.14-104
St Kevins 1.3-9 6.4-40 10.6-66 13.9-87
Goal Kickers: H. Troiani 2, M. Handley 2, B. Goss 2, R. Bewick 2, M. Merlo 2, M. Stavrou, F. Pearce, D. Symeopoulos, T. Gilbert, C. Prowse
Best Players: J. Kelly, C. Beetham, R. Bewick, H. Troiani, M. Stavrou, J. Dalbosco
2s: BACK IN BUSINESS
Stung by their hapless showing last week, the Ressies revved up the engines and ran away with the curtain-raiser at Toorak Park. Given the showering that SKOB had given the Red ‘n’ Blacks on a recent practice match, a tough contest was expected.
Early days, that was so, but after the half-time break, the X-Men took over at the back and that was that. Big Eric Peric booted four and Charlie Kennedy three in the romp. Hamish Morris was the prime-mover in the victory, with his hard-running and aggression at the ball. Tom Hart was solid at the back and will surely be close to a recall, while Matt Margin’s first-up performance showed some promise.
Old Xaverians 3.2-20 8.4-52 11.8-74 14.14-98
St Kevins 2.2-14 5.2-32 5.4-34 5.6-36
Goal Kickers: M. Peric 4, C. Kennedy 3, M. Batten 2, M. Margin 2, R. Ralph, B. Kennedy, T. Parker
Best Players: H. Morris, T. Hart, C. Kennedy, E. Lachal, D. Stanford, C. Woodley
WOX: MISSES AS GOOD AS A MILE
Only inaccuracy around the sticks prevented the Brownies kicking a cricket score against RMIT this morning at Toorak Park. The Techies were outplayed and failed to score, while the Xavs really only found real rhythm in the last term, when they straightened up and scored goals through overlapping run and solid team play.
RMIT ensured from the earliest that their defence relied on numbers. When Xavs pushed forward, it was difficult to find space and take easy shots. The Redbacks battled away, but found their clearances too often come straight back in to the danger zone. Still, with the goal umpire scampering at every shot, the visitors stayed in the game, with Xavs posting 14 behinds before Alice Keith drew twin calicos just before half-time.
Spaces opened after the long break, but it was in the final term when Indi Ellis and Elise Ko really brought down the hammer. The Techies appeared certain to break their drought late in the game, but resolute defence ensured the backline kept their sheet entirely clean.
Special thanks to Rohan Bewick, who ran water for the Brownies despite taking a heavy knock on Saturday.
Old Xaverians 0.6-6 1.16-22 3.22-40 10.25-85
RMIT 0.0-0 0.0-0 0.0-0 0.0-0
Goal Kickers: E.Koh 4, A. Keith 3, C. Hickey, I.Ellis, B.Robertson
Best Players: A.Keith, R. Hickey, C. Sgarbossa, K. Mullins, M. Casey, A. Livingstone
Pics by Paul Wright.
WOX 2: FRANTASTICS TOP TON
Relishing the opportunity to play on a beautifully manicured Toorak Park and under blue skies, the Frantastics booted 101 unanswered points against an inexperienced RMIT lineup.
After their eleventh-hour defeat last week, the WOX took control early and managed to lock the ball in their front half for almost the entire game. Their opponents tried hard to disrupt the dominance, but with Tahryn Mant and Bella Villani running riot, the X-Gals were an irresistible force.
The performance underlined the increased depth of the WOX squad this season, but also the ever-improving skills and knowledge of the game.
Old Xaverians 2.4-16 6.7-43 10.7-67 15.11.101
RMIT 0.1-1 0.1-1 0.1-1 0.1-1
Goal Kickers: I. Villani 5, R. Cantieni 2, A.Dwyer 2, T. Mant 2, G. Cleaver, E. Forrest, A. Privitelli, S. Gucciardo
Best Players: T. Mant, C. Psyhogios, S. Lewis, S. Eeles, A, Ryan, I. Villani
3s: WAYWARD, BUT WINNERS.
Only inaccuracy threatened Xavs’ total supremacy at Stradbroke Park yesterday as the Red ‘n’ Blacks ran out the second half more strongly to take the points.
Bruce Wilson reports:
Our first home game at Stradbroke Park proved possibly the toughest test for the year with a traditional arm wrestle with SKOBs.
With a depth talent from last years U23’s to the silky skills of the premiership winning U19’s, Old Xavs hit their straps early with pressure football. Unfortunately, inaccuracy robbed us of an extended lead and at the conclusion of the first qtr. Xavs lead 2/4/16 to 1/2/7.
Our back line was keeping us in the hunt by repelling all attacks from the fleet of foot SKOB’s with Hess, Wilson, Bueno, Forrest, Nunan, Silk and Lachal all linking up well. Special mention to Dan O’Loughlin who belted 2 brilliant goals for the quarter.
The second stanza matched the first with continued inaccurate shots upon goal and the mid-section and back line repelling and sending the ball repeatedly into our forward line. We must make mention of the SKOB’s back line who presented well, played in front the linked up well – a tough day in the office for the forwards. With Berry, Fantasia, Bishop, Agius, Stanley and Brennan clearing it constantly from the centre with strength and finesse, our forward line found it hard to keep it in. Two further goals shared between O’Loughlin and the strong marking Mantesso, we were presenting well.
Shane and Tom Bergin threw down the challenge to a few players at half time and Scala, Taouk, O’Brien did not let us down. It is fair to say that whatever the SKOB’s coach said at half time it fired them up, but to our credit our players built the wall and pushed it back in the forward line time after time. Bishop and Argy were amazing with silky skills. The back line was brilliant, and we extended the lead.
The young brigade of Speakman, Scala, Silk, O’Brien and Bails Thomas out on a show. Let’s not forget this was a classic arm wrestle of two VERY talented teams and it could have gone either way!
The final quarter commences and SKOB’s convert from the get-go…BUT cool heads prevail, and we are now dominating at every count. Berry and Fantasia with Argy, Bishop and co are clearing it down…Coach Healy wants more conversion as does Bergin and Will Mantesso leads from the front – strong marks and conversions are the order of the day.
It’s fair to say that it was a good team effort and rough and ready arm wrestle, but cream rises to the top and OLD Xavs dominate and pull off a great win The score was flattering as OX could have had 10 extra goals with accuracy and that does not count other lost opportunities.
Well done guys and thank you to all who helped for the first home game. With 2 games in, OX is leading the competition and much food for thought for Pepp and Healy at next week’s selection.
Old Xaverians 2.4-16 4.9-33 7.13-55 10.19-79
St Kevins 1.2-8 2.3-15 3.8-26 4.9-33
Goal Kickers: D. O'Loughlin 4, W. Mantesso 3, B. Scala, B. Thomas, C. Bishop
Best Players: J. Agius, J. Hess, D. O'Loughlin, J. Bueno, T. Fantasia, G. Lachal
Pics by Bridget Wilson
U19 PREMIER: BIG WIN AT THE BEACH
Beaumaris 1.0-6 2.1-13 3.2-20 3.4-22
Old Xaverians 5.7-37 10.14-74 13.14-92 18.21-129
Goal Kickers: D. Condon 4, L. Soccio 3, C. Connors 2, T. Simmons, S. Asdagi, B. Christopher, A. Sheedy, C. Holmes, P. Bourke, S. Stynes, J. Christopher, A. Lamanna
Best Players: H. Ralph, D. Condon, T. Paul, E. Sauze, T. McKay, S. Asdagi
U19 RESERVES: EAGLES TOO STRONG
Marcellin 4.3-27 6.7-43 10.8-68 14.11-95
Old Xaverians 0.3-3 1.4-10 4.6-30 5.7-37
Goal Kickers: T. Barbakos, F. McCombe, N. McGrath, D. Tragear, N. Harries
Best Players: T. Cartwright, F. McCombe, C. Kelly, N. Jane, M. Comito
MENAGES: RAINING GOALS
Old Xaverians 8.2-50 13.4-82 21.6-132 25.9-159
St Kevins OB 3.1-19 3.2-20 5.2-32 7.3-45
Goal Kickers: S. Berengo 6, N. Sharkey 4, V. Crisafi 3, J. Hanger 3, S. Vanderkley 2, D. Nash 2, D. Benson, M. Tempone, F. Lane, A. Ongarello, J. Buffon
Best Players: S. Berengo, S. Franklyn, J. Hanger, M. Cain, D. Nash, N. Sharkey
CROCS: PEGS TOO STRONG
Old Xaverians 9.9-63