It was Super Saturday for the Xavs today, with all seven men’s teams saluting. It’s now up to the WOX to win their two big clashes tomorrow morning at Xavier to bring home the first nine weekend of the season. For six of today’s seven winners, the first half of the home and away season is complete. The Seniors, Thirds, and Menages all sit in top spot, with the Reserves and U19s in second place. The U19 Reserves are just one big win from the top four.
SOUVA SPICY AS RED ‘N’ BLACKS TIP PITTERS
Fired by a strong performance to by vice-captain Denis “The Sizzling Souvlaki” Symeopoulos and a shut-the-gate effort from Ben “Pony” Banting in defence, the Old Xaverians defeated St Bernard’s at Toorak Park today.
Symeopoulos showed poise and speed in his return after missing five games, and delighted the crowd with a quartet of goals - a set shot from the pocket, two magnificent snaps over the shoulder and a stunning goal on the run after the X-Men had methodically worked the ball from deep in defence.
Skipper Dan Noonan returned to add even more strength to the best defence in Premier football, but it was Banting who was the pick of the back half, though Jordan Kelly and Brad Olsson showed plenty too.
St Bernard’s showed plenty of pluck, but found scoring difficult. The sloppy centre square didn’t aid free-flowing football and the greasy ball contributed to a rather scrappy contest. The visitors came alive in the third term and booted three goals in a row and for a moment or so, looked as if they might fight their way back into contention. But the Xavs righted their ship quickly and locked away the victory well before they went to the lemons.
Big Jason Holmes dominated the ruck again, though conditions didn’t allow too many quick clearances. Matt Handley looked sharp around the goals and down the ground, winning several aerial contests in brilliant fashion.
With Collegians upsetting Uni Blues under the spires, the Claret and Stout find themselves a game clear in first spot, and two games clear of third-placed SKOB. With the Varsity travelling to the Snakepit, where their record is relatively poor, a Xavs win at Dairy Bell next week could open up a two game buffer., though neither result is a lay down misere.
Old Xaverians 3.4-22 6.6-42 11.7-73 14.10-94
St Bernards 0.3-3 0.6-6 3.7-25 6.9-45
Goal Kickers: D. Symeopoulos 4, M. Handley 3, L. Bisset, T. Anderson, W. Hams, R. Bewick, N. Prowse, H. Cullity, M. Margin
Best Players: B. Banting, D. Symeopoulos, M. Handley, B. Olsson, J. Holmes, J. Kelly
CHILI PEPPS STAY HOT
Paddy Phillips was on fire as the Xavs won their eighth game on end, clubbing the Snow Dogs at Toorak Park.
The mercurial forwerd booted five and Charlie Kennedy four, with the Red ‘n’ Blacks seizing the momentum early and keeping their foot to the floor well into the final term. Luke Barry and Charlie Woodley were supreme in defence, while 100 gamer Harry Batten, Sam Ralph and Tristan Parker provided excellent links across the midfield.
With Old Melburnians defeating SKOB today, the Xavs move into second spot. They will be looking to go one better when they meet the Dark Blues again in a fortnight.
Old Xaverians 6.3-39 11.6-72 15.8-98 17.11-113
St Bernards 3.1-19 4.1-25 4.3-27 7.7-49
Goal Kickers: P. Phillips 5, C. Kennedy 4, J. Agius 2, H. Morris 2, L. Denton, C. Prowse, B. Kennedy, T. Beaton
Best Players: P. Phillips, L. Barry, S. Ralph, H. Batten, T. Parker, C. Woodley
X MEN BELT ROYS
The Red ‘n’ Blacks, charged by a super effort from Lachlan Berry in the ruck, and five goal contributions from Tiernan O’Brien and the smooth-mover Jack Carroll, tamed the Lions at Ramsden Street.
Team Manger Bruce Wilson reports:
Our first 9.20 game of the year was against Fitzroy at the small Ramsden Street Oval, which was for the first three quarters dewy, slippery, wet and difficult. Word around the ground was that Fitzroy would be no pushover, with the Roy Boys winning their last two and only six players remaining from the team we played in R1. Coach for the day Tom “The Legend” Bergin delivered “Chief” Healy’s message, blended with his own – “Don’t take this team and game for granted”! and correct they were.
We welcomed back the Hess brothers – Jamie and Matt,as well as Lucas O’Sullivan who combined well with Captain Wilson and Bueno to bring a level of calmness to a scrappy game.
The second quarter continued as per the first, with Fitzroy showing glimpses of brilliance and our boys having to step up a level. The Roy boys spread well, created space and kicked 3 straight matching our 3, but inaccuracy and some panic setting in, OX kicked 7 point not including 3 on the full. Although we dominated the play, we could not convert and kick away. Great quarters to Stanley – who had his best game of the year, Berry continuing his great season in the ruck, Bishop breaking the packs and delivering the ball to the forward line, Scala pouncing on the ball for a great piece of play to convert, “Sock” O’Brien snapping a ripper goal and Jack Carroll demonstrating brilliance with a 50 metre boomerang conversion. Christian Impala took two great marks, continuing his terrific season.
The half-time message from Coach Bergin was calm, succinct, direct and worked a treat. In the third, we kept the Roy Boys to one point while scoring 4 goals 3. The back line was an impenetrable wall with Honan, Nunan, Lowe, Fantasia, Veljkovic and Silk driving the ball back and out to Will Wilson, Callum O’Reilly, Gus Lachal and Lefebrve . Nothing could get past. A highlight was Silky kicking the ball though the pack on the wing, running on and eventually on the receiving end of a pass to kick a magnificent 40 metre goal. Fantasia was a great support in the ruck for Berry and showed aggression with the opposition and delivered a powerful blow to the nose of the opposing ruckman producing claret.
The final quarter started in drier conditions and the real OX turned up with 7 goals 4 to Fitzroy’s 1 goal. With the experience of big Velks moving to full forward, our structure was solid and allowed the likes of Unger, Kelly and Carroll to show their brilliance. Unger with his strong over head marks, Kelly’s brilliance with marking and his new role of a goal kicker as well as unselfishly passing off to a player in better position . Then there were Sock O’Brien, who booted five, as did Jack Carroll.
This was a game that OX had to have, and the boys again learnt a few lessons with the outcome an 88 hard-fought win.
Thanks again to the great support of Rob Bergin, Anastasia, Will Mantesso, Tom Ingham, Matt Forrest, Rooch Brennan and the master’s apprentice coach Tom Bergin. The Old Xavs History Book award of the day went to Sean Stanley who played a brilliant game.
Fitzroy 1.1-7 4.1-25 4.2-26 5.2-32
Old Xaverians 3.4-22 6.11-47 10.14-74 17.18-120
Goal Kickers: T. O’Brien 5, J. Carroll 5, W. Veljkovic 2, H. Kelly 2, O. Silk, B. Scala, C. O’Reilly
Best Players: L. Berry, S. Stanley, J. Carroll, T. O''Brien, M. Hess , C. Wilson
And the pics, from the brilliant Bridget Wilson…
MENAGES JOB SKOB IN LOW SCORING AFFAIR
An inaccurate Menages got the points at TH KIng, and stayed a game clear in top spot. Ben Steedman led the charge for the Menages, with Michael “Zulu” Cain kicking two goals.
SKOB cut the half-time margin in two by the final siren, though the X-Men managed thirteen more shots for the day, while the home team drew flags just eight times.
St Kevins OB 0.0 1.1-7 4.2-26 6.2-38
Old Xaverians 1.6-12 4.8-32 5.13-43 6.15-51
Goal Kickers: M. Cain 2, S. Grigg, J. Smarrelli, J. Hanger, M. Owen
Best Players: B. Steedman, J. Buffon, D. Prowse, S. Grigg, N. Nunan, J. Morrison
Check out the great pics from Eugene Smarrelli.
SLIM PICKINGS FOR THE VISITING VULTURES
The Stacked Decs increased their margin at every break, taking down the Parkdale Vultures by 57 points at Stradbroke Park today.
Only wayward kicking from the Red ‘n’ Blacks prevented a total wipe-out for the ‘Dale.
Alec Spralja was best afield, while the goals (and points) were shared, with six players kicking truly twice.
Old Xaverians 3.7-25 6.11-47 10.14-74 14.18-102
Parkdale Vultures 2.0-12 3.4-22 3.8-26 6.9-45
Goal Kickers: T. Simmons 2, C. Holmes 2, S. Stynes 2, C. Whitehead 2, A. Spralja 2, T. Mantesso 2, H. Ralph, J. Ayton-Delaney
Best Players: A. Spralja, S. Asdagi, D. Jones, Z. Hart, L. Danielis-Morley, J. Ayton-Delaney
O’SHAN’S 18 TAKE DOWN OGGERS
Tim Barbakos kicked five as the Xavs claimed a big scalp, downing fellow finals’ aspirant Old Geelong by 39 points.
Coach D’Arcy O’Shannassy reports:
We brought the heat in the first quarter, but were inaccurate.
Will Sheedy on debut became the focal point for all attacks, often having several defenders hanging off him.
Hank Sweeney and Ky Lowrey had their hands dirty all day winning the contested ball in the middle.
Callum O’Loughlin swallowed their full forward.
The highlight of the day was Lowrey celebrating his last quarter sealer with a sliding arrow celebration
Old Xaverians 2.5-17 3.6-24 7.11-53 13.13-91
Old Geelong 1.4-10 3.7-25 6.8-44 7.10-52
Goal Kickers: T. Barbakos 5, O. Tehan 3, C. Niall, W. Sheedy, N. Harries, K. Lowrey, N. Jane
Best Players: O. Tehan, C. O''Loughlin, T. Barbakos, W. Bryce, K. Lowrey, H. Sweeney
DILES DIAL IT UP AGAINST THE PANTHERS
The Crocs went to Old Carey for a 2:00pm game and the sleep-in proved a good thing. The Green hose were in great nick, restricting the home team to a solitary major, while doing plenty better themselves.
Old Carey 0.1-1 1.4-10 1.10-16 1.11-17
Old Xaverians 6.3-39 13.8-86 16.12-108 21.19-145