TO THE BYE ON A HIGH

The seven men’s Red ‘n’ Blacks closed out the pre-Queen’s Birthday portion of the season today, with all but the U19 Reserves greeting the judge. The margins in all games, bar the Premier contest, were comfortable. The two WOX lineups will complete the weekend card tomorrow morning at Xavier.

PREMIER

TROTT, CANTER, GALLOP

With a barnstorming finish, the Old Xaverians won their sixth of their last contests on Harry Trott. Previous victories had always been hard-fought, and this afternoon’s performance was a grinding affair against an in-form team that never backs down.

For much of the afternoon,, the Lions were the smoother team, with the visitors struggling to find any rhythm or to establish an avenue to goal.

The Red ‘n’ Blacks did draw first blood when Pearce kicked truly in the opening term, but from then until the quarter time interruption, the Lions dominated the contested ball and did as they pleased. Well, almost . . . they were more prodigal than they would have liked in front of the sticks and blew their chance to establish a sizeable gap.

Then again, the way the Xavs were playing, 22 points at quarter time seemed comfortable enough. Second term goals from Luke Bisset and Josh Anderson raised Xaverian hopes but the Purples kicked two of their own to keep the league leaders at arms’ length.

Collegians came out firing in the third and had their chances to put the game away. Their failure to do so appeared to prompt some greater resistance. Nick Prowse got on the end of a clean passage of play and kicked truly. Jason Holmes plucked one and converted from a tight angle as they went to the lemons. If the momentum had shifted, the scoreboard hadn’t.

With Xavs unable to make any headway against a dogged opponent, Coach Satterley asked his team to increase the tempo and to raise the performance level.

The Claret and Stout showed their intent from the restart. Jason Holmes smashed it forward (one of his 70 hit-outs for the afternoon) and a school-yard scramble ensued, ended by a Brendan Goss snap that split the uprights. Bisset booted his second and Rohan Bewick slipped through a beauty from a stoppage. Matt Margin kicked truly and repeated the dose and half-way through, the Red ‘n’ Blacks were up by a goal and a bit.

The Lions roared again, feeling their way through a defence led by Jordan Kelly that had both tightened and provided rebound. It was back within a goal. Minutes later, Holmes took a big goal-square grab. A year ago, he’d taken one in the same spot and missed. Today, he kicked it over the goal umpire’s hat, putting both the cream and the cherry on his best on ground performance.

The Xavs defence stayed firm and the X Men threatened again. Bewick received a pass from Hamish Cullity, went back and then launched a drop punt, a thing of beauty and style, that neither deviated nor dropped until it had covered the requisite 65 metres and sealed the game. It was the antithesis of a game that had never been pretty.

And so to the bye. Seven wins from eight starts has been fair start. With only St Bernard’s left on the front nine, the Red ‘n’ Blacks are in second spot, two games clear of third placed St Kevin’s, who failed to get the job done at Dairy Bell.

Collegians 4.5-29 6.6-42 8.12-60 9.14-68

Old Xaverians 1.1-7 3.3-21 5.8-38 12.11-83

Goal Kickers: R. Bewick 2, L. Bisset 2, M. Margin 2, J. Holmes 2, J. Anderson, N. Prowse, F. Pearce, B. Goss

Best Players: J. Holmes, R. Bewick, J. Kelly, M. Margin, F. Pearce, L. Bisset

RESERVES

PROWSE GROUSE IN BIG WIN

Fired by a strong performance from Chris Prowse, the Red ‘n’ Blacks shook off the lethargy of last week’s snooze-fest to smash Collegians on the Trott today. Xavs had winners all over the park and proved too much for the Purples from the outset.

Matt Peric was again a strong forward target and second gamer James Agius was in everything.

Jordan Troiani, an U19 premiership player who also made his senior debut last season, returned after a long lay-off with injury.

Nick Pepperell’s team is 7-1 and will

Collegians 2.2-14 2.8-20 5.10-40 6.10-46

Old Xaverians 4.0-24 10.4-64 13.7-85 17.8-110

U23 THIRDS

A DIP AT THE BEACH

After a brilliant Friday night at this year’s Presidents Dinner, the coaching panel was newly equipped with motivational gems. The challenge this week was the small, wet and slippery Beach Oval and the tenant familiar with that landscape, Old Brighton.

With conditions as they were, one might have expected a low scoring affair, but things settled down very quickly for the visitors, who produced four great quarters of football.

The final margin of 110 points was no slight on the Tonners, who strung together some nice passages of play in their home confines.

Xaverians started with 19 players after a last minute and well-deserved call up to the Reserves for James Agius. Player management was key and with the wet conditions, this year’s preseason and fitness work paid dividends. The Xavs maintained a fit bench of one and in the end won convincingly with a great team effort.

Cam Bishop booted 4 goals and was at his usual best, while Peter Beaton used his brute force to slot a terrific goal. Matt “The Fridge” Forrest thumped another 60-meter bomb, Honan playing a blinder with a great single, Kelly, O’Brien, and Stanley slotting further conversions with style. We welcomed back Will Wilson, who played on the wing and was terrific with two opportunistic goals. The returning Ed Ralph notched a pair, as did big Velks and Callum O’Reilly.

The backline was the rock of Gilbraltar and kept repelling the ball on all occasions through the brilliant midline and wings to the forward line. On fire was Jack Bueno sweeping across the back, with Beaton running through anything in his way. Lefebvre laid a few great bumps, Forrest imposed his strength on all occasions and the magic man Christian Impala was everywhere. Thomas Fantasia was just sublime and provided a key target no matter where he roamed.

Coach Healy used the flexibility of Bails Thomas, Honan, the strong-marking Harry Kelly around the ground. Across the wing, captain Charlie Wilson was superb with strong tackling, marking and accurate delivery.

Lachie Berry single-handedly took the ruck work all day, and didn’t lose a tap. His excellent work provided great opportunity for Bishop, Stanley and co.

Thanks to Ed Barr who goal umpired with great controversy giving both benches much to talk about, to. Hessy for water rehydration, and to James Samartztis, Adeline and Anastasia who work together to keep the boys on the park.

Old Brighton 1.2-8 2.2-14 2.2-14 2.4-16

Old Xaverians 3.1-19 9.5-59 15.9-99 19.12-126

Goal Kickers: C. Bishop 4, C. O'Reilly 2, E. Ralph 2, W. Veljkovic 2, W. Wilson 2, P. Beaton, W. Honan, T. O'‘Brien, H. Kelly, T. Fantasia, S. Stanley, M. Forrest

Best Players: L. Berry, J. Bueno, C. Wilson, T. Fantasia, C. O’Reilly, P. Beaton

Pics below courtesy of Bridget Wilson, Click to enlarge.

U19 PREMIER

STACKED DECS SLIP SNOW DOGS

The Red ‘n’ Blacks fast start held them in good stead to maintain supremacy despite the Snow Dogs second term rampage. Spurred into action in the second half, the X-Men ensured there would be no second comeback from the Pitters.

It was solid performance from the Xavs. As winter begins, the team faces the challenges of travel, but its solid base should sustain until the cavalry comes back.

Old Xaverians 5.4-34 8.8-56 11.10-76 15.11-101

St Bernards 1.2-8 7.3-45 7.6-48 9.9-63

Goal Kickers: C. Whitehead 3, T. Simmons 2, C. Holmes 2, T. Mantesso 2, C. MacIsaac, S. Stynes, C. Connors, A. Spralja, S. Asdagi, D. Condon

Best Players: J. Lowe, B. Christopher, A. Spralja, C. Whitehead, T. Paul, A. Lamanna

Pics below courtesy of John Lamanna. Click to enlarge.

U19 RESERVES

EAGLES TOO STRONG

Old Xaverians 2.1-13 4.1-25 4.4-28 6.5-41

Marcellin 4.3-27 7.8-50 10.10-70 12.12-84

Goal Kickers: O. Tehan 2, K. Poes, N. Blackwood, H. Sestan, J. Christopher

Best Players: H. Hosking, H. Sestan, O. Tehan, C. Dunne, H. Diamond, M. Comito

PREMIER THIRDS

MENAGES CRUSH IT AT CRAWFORD

David Nash slotted four in a BOG performance as the Red ‘n’ Blacks smacked Uni Blues on the Crawford. Ash Sorrenti also begged four in an impressive four quarter effort.

The Menages go to the break a game clear in first place, but

University Blues 2.1-13 2.2-14 3.5-23 5.5-35

Old Xaverians 5.5-35 9.10-64 15.16-106 18.18-126

Goal Kickers: A. Sorrenti 4, D. Nash 4, V. Crisafi 2, J. Norman, M. Tempone, S. Berengo, H. Higgins, J. Smarrelli, T. Negri, J. Wilkinson, N. Heard

Best Players: D. Nash, J. Morrison, V. Crisafi, S. Vanderkley, J. Smarrelli, N. Nunan

CROCS

DILES BACK IN BUSINESS

The Green Hose turned on their most impressive form of the year, winning by 80 points at Chelsworth Park.

Old Ivanhoe 2.1-13 2.2-14 4.2-26 6.3-39

Old Xaverians 5.3-33 13.6-84 16.8-104 20.9-129