23 Jun 05
PAY ATTENTION: TON UP FOR THE GREAT MOLDINI
It has thus far been a long journey but Mr Scotland Mollard will play his hundredth game for the Xavs on Saturday. And what better place to do it than at the home of the Red 'n' Blacks great rival, St Bernards?
Who'd a thunk it back in 1995 when the effervescent Moldini burst upon the scene that he would take another decade to bring up the three figures?
"It's just another game, blokes," he told the team this week. "But then again, every one of them is special," he grinned.
Congratulations Scotty. We love your work and appreciate your magnificence, as a tough defender, a skilful forward, and a mobile midfielder.
23 Jun 05
Can't sleep in, I'm too excited (or as excited as you can get at my age)
Before the alarm even goes off on Saturday morning I'll get out bed and peak out on to my front porch. Hopefully, Terry Landrigan will have left a complimentary copy of the Amateur Footballer on the welcome mat, and I'll snatch it up and return to the kitchen for my first cup of tea.
Then I'll read the preview of the A Section round from that fellow Horn, not because it's informative but because it kills time. Heck, I'll even read the umpires page and Normy Nugent's wise words about Club XVIII. Surely now that the Crocs have dropped two on end he will change his tune.
But Saturday is all about the trip out Mt Alexander Road to the West Essendon wonderland, the Snakepit. On it's day one of the finest surfaces in all of football, but also a simmering cauldron of hatred for visiting teams, especially the Red 'n' Blacks.
The AFL, with its contrived cups, trophies, them rounds can only dream about the rivalries, arguments and grudges that are commonplace in the VAFA. No mercenaries, just tribalists. When you're playing for less, you're really playing for more. And there a better modern day rivalry than this one?
A few wrote the Bernies off in the pre-season. Not me. And I won't yet. They are a proud club and have talent to burn despite their off-season player losses. We saw this in Round 1 when they came to Toorak Park and spanked the Xavs.
This time, however, I expect the Xaverians to walk tall and atone for their defeat on Opening Day. The clashes between these two clubs are always fierce, but rarely close, particularly at the Snakepit. Xavs won massively there two years ago, but were drubbed last winter. So either way, don't expect a nail biter. Someone will be going home and putting the dressing gown and slippers on early.
Collegians head to HQ to host OMs, who are one of the enigmas of the competition. They can be very good, but only when they are written off by others. If you have any expectations, and why wouldn't you after their win against the 'Pitters last week, they usually go down. As they will this week.
St Kevin's take on Uni Blues. Well, we 'd like to think so, but it's hard to see them winning. But not impossible. The Blues got out of jail against the Purple last week, but maybe Righetti hosts the upset of the year. SKOB in a shocker, by a whisker.
There's another Battle of Bulleen this week but nobody's watching. Marcellin have a line-up laced with talent but have hit the skids of late. Trinity can talk the talk, and nearly walked the walk last week. Letdown time. Eagles find form and monster them.
The Inner FM game of the day comes from Shark Park where Old Scotch are home to Haileybury. Some pundits are all too keen to write off the Cardinals, but they can be potent with a full line-up from which to choose. The Bloods are the real deal methinks and arrive heavy favourites. This week I think they'll leave beaten favourites!
Get excited. And might I mention Mr Scott Mollard, whose 100th game should be a thing of beauty.
25 June 2005
LADDER LEADERS PUMP 'PITTERS!
SCOTTY: "I THINK THEY LIKE ME, THEY REALLY LIKE ME!"
The renovated Snakepit was a happy hunting ground for the league leading Old Xavs today as they punished an undermanned St Bernard's to win by 68 points.
The result was the difference in ability between the respective teams rather than a disparity in attitude or application - the Pitters tried hard, but their best efforts went for nought.
The game began in perfect conditions, with little breeze. The pundits eyed each end to check out the match-ups in the goal squares - Nathan Bingham went to the wunderkind Callan Potter while Tait Wilkinson looked every inch a dead man walking as he headed for Damien Lynch.
Both key forwards spelled trouble in the first stanza which ended all square after squandered opportunities left both teams poorer. The Xavs looked better in the second quarter adding seven goals to four.
While the Xavs had applied the clamps to Potter, they themselves found new ways to score. Arnold, Clarke and Purss joined the action and Lynch headed to the locker-room at the half with four under the belt.
The second half was less of a contest as the Red 'n' Blacks ran their opposition ragged. Beetham, Chatfield, Ruyg, Beardsley and Howard repeatedly won the ball and created opportunities aplenty. Were it not for some sloppy disposal, the Xavs might well have run up the score in the third quarter. As it was, there was enough goal kicking practice in the final term to send the visitors to the bar in fine spirits.
Scott Mollard played his hundredth game in Red 'n' Black, an occasion that he had been anticipating for several weeks. He is well known at West Essendon, but rarely has he received plaudits from that partisan crowd.
Today, amid a few high tackles and a brace of barbs from St Bernard's players and spectators, someone threw him a compliment. That might have dropped a lesser man, but the Wild One steadied and played an impressive game.
So while the Xavs look to the road ahead, Bernies appear mired mid-table. While relegation to B Section has not and won't even be mentioned, it's a fair bet that their run at the top is over. They'll probably now miss the four for the first time since 1999.
Of course, Xavs suffered that fate last year, and it hurts.
- OLD XAVERIANS 3.5 10.7 15.11 21.15 (141)
- ST BERNARDS 3.5 7.8 7.12 10.13 (73)
Goals: Lynch 6 Arnold 5 Clarke 4 Colbert 2 Bowen Ockleshaw Purss Scanlan.
Best: Arnold Mollard Purss Ruyg McDonald Bingham.
Led by the rampaging Dan Rush, Junior's Juniors crushed St Bernard's by 72 points. But for a 5 minute lapse in the final when the Xavs allowed Bernies to look like a premiership team, the margin could have been a lot wider.
Rush began proceedings by missing his first attempt at goal, but nailed the next eleven, sending the club's historians to the record books to see if anyone has ever kicked more in a Reserves clash.
Ed's note: Anthony Duggan recalls that in the 90s, Luke Fay slammed through a sweet 16 against Haileybury, while Anthony Bourke remembers a lazy 15 from Manny Nicolosi.
- ST. BERNARDS 1.1 3.2 6.3 9.4 (58)
- OLD XAVERIANS 3.2 8.5 15.7 20.10 (130)
Goals: D Rush 11 Agius 3 Moylan 2 M Walsh D Walsh McDonnell Beattie.
Best: D Rush Agius D Walsh Carey Pasceri Tatts.
You go all that way, you want to bring home the points. The 3s did.
- THERRY PENOLA 1.1 1.3 2.6 7.6 (48)
- OLD XAVERIANS 5.6 9.9 16.15 21.16 (142)
Goals: McGrath 5 Merolli 3 McLean 3 Stribley 3 M Meehan 2 N Silk Ginnivan Jones Purcell Warry.
Best: Ginnivan King Stribley Purcell N Silk McGrath.
Tensions eased. Simon Hunt backs the Large Hawaiian - he's safe for another week!
- OLD XAVERIANS 4.6 6.8 9.11 11.13 (79)
- ST KEVINS O B 2.2 2.3 6.8 9.8 (62)
Goals: L Hardwick 2 Hawkins 2 Ward 2 Davies Hall Ireland Perry Meehan.
Best: Curnow Rathgeber Perry Jones Meehan L Hardwick.
Revenge. Take that SKOBs!
OLD XAVERIANS 18 4 112
ST KEVINS 9 8 62