Healy's Heroes survived a close one at Crawford, kicking with more accuracy that eventually won the day against a strong and experienced Uni Blues outfit.
It was the second trip in a week to Crawford Oval for the OX Reds – last week a solid but unspectacular win over the Uni Blacks and this week was to be the Uni Blues who’d rolled us at Straddie in a fine performance.
Super Coach Shane Healy reports:
We were mentally switched on for this battle, and the conditions were pretty near perfect for our run and possession game.
With Lachie Berry deservedly getting a shot in the 2’s, the ruck load was to be shared between Bill Curtis, Sam Van der Klay and Conor O’Sullivan. Conor started well and Bill and Sam did most of the grunt work across the day, with Conor needed in defence against the Blues’ big-marking forwards.
Bergin and Nugent had us flying early while Beaton, Will Wilson, Sharkey and Reed were racking up possessions and Bueno, Stanley and Agius were doing plenty of grunt work to ensure the Blues were not able to gain momentum.
The half-time score of 6-6 to 1-9 was a fair indication of our dominance – the inaccuracy of Blues down to some maniacal defensive pressure from Lowe, Ongarato and the Prowse empire.
Our boys returned to the rooms in the midst of their bags being ransacked – the thief was able to make a speedy escape chased by one-third of the team across the parkland of Princes Park !!
Joe Curran chased him on a bike and was able to apprehend him.
It’s fair to say it wasn’t your normal half-time break as the boys worked out what had been stolen.
When the game re-commenced, it was a fair bet that the boys’ minds were not quite on the job at hand and before we knew it, there was just a few points in it. We lost our dominance around the ball and this gave the Blues forwards the chance to grab some marks and kick some goals.
Suddenly – it was game on !!!
Our scoring dried up after half-time and if it was not for our resolute defence led by Jack Buffon and Conor O’Sullivan, we might’ve got pipped at the post. Samartzis played a vital role in a high-pressure last quarter while Kelly and Watkin defended hard in their forward roles.
To hang on in a desperate finish was really pleasing – we know the Blues’ best is pretty good and with the top five teams being fairly even, every win is valuable in the drive to the finals.
Well done to all – see you Wednesday and then enjoy the long weekend off !!
University Blues 1.3-9 1.9-15 4.10-34 5.14-44
Old Xaverians Red 3.5-23 6.6-42 7.8-50 7.8-50
Goal Kickers: T. Bergin 2, S. Vanderkley 2, C. O''Sullivan, S. Cleeve, B. Curtis
Best Players: M. Sharkey, B. Curtis, F. Nugent, M. Stanley, W. Wilson, S. Vanderkley