The Red ‘n’ Blacks travelled to Waurn Ponds yesterday for a quartet of tangles with Old Geelong.

The WOX had first use of the finely manicured Deakin deck and looked dangerous early, with Gabby Golds racking up possessions at will. Inaccuracy in front of the sticks, as well as some solid play from the OGs, prevented the Xavs from bolting away in the first half.

After the long break, however, Charlotte Powell-Wright took over entirely, sweeping across half-back and driving the X-Girls into attack. Indiarna Ellis did the rest, swooping on opportunities and making the most of them in a BOG performance.

Coaches Browne and Moodie were happy with the team’s performance, noting that there had been no goalkicking practice to date.

Declan Pittonet’s U19 lineup appeared to pick up where last year’s premiership unit finished off. Excellent ball use, especially the willingness to share with teammates in better spots, was the hallmark of the effort. The OGs showed some early resiience, but Dec’s Disciples were just too slick and ran away to win easily.

Sean Stanley

Sean Stanley

The final preliminary before the main bout resulted in a big win for Nick Pepperell’s team. Plenty of players showed plenty, giving the coach and his selectors great encouragement. The headaches will surely come next month, when they pick a team of 22, with Shane Healy’s U23 team sure to be the beneficiary of a talent overload. Still, recent experience shows that the Ressies will field at least 50 players this season, and chances will come for those who are worthy.

There were some standout performances, but the fans’ favourite was surely Sean Stanley, who played his first game in a long time. Stinger found the football regularly and used it well too, indicating that he hasn’t lost his touch.

Paul Satterley used 27 players, though eased several of those through the afternoon. Old Geelong showed plenty of pluck and some slick ball movement, but were eventually worn down by a well-stocked Xavs team, who were effective if not always pretty.

Youngsters James Dalbosco, Tom Hart and Billy Kennedy showed plenty, but had the umpires been awarding votes, they would have found it difficult to ignore the BOG claims of Tom Gilbert.

Opening Day at Elsternwick is just twenty days away and with some further fine tuning, the Red ‘n’ Blacks will be ready.