Old Trinity ruined Opening Day at Toorak Park when it clipped the Claret and Stout under sunny skies.
The home team opened brightly, applying plenty of pressure and charging to an early lead. But the red and black ascendancy was shortlived. The Ts hit back late in the first term and then dominated the second. Some of the the visitors' six goals in the stanza came from turnovers, but their brilliant field-kicking was matched by their accuracy within goal range.
The third term saw the Ts start the stronger, but then the Xavs hit back hard. Fast forays forward proved fruitful, with Goss and Handley prominent. The Ts looked rattled, but any such feeling was fleeting.
The momentum shifted again after the lemons. The pre-season whispers about the Greens being super-fit were confirmed. Ever-confident in their abilities to find space and to link up, Trinity re-assumed the lead as the clock ticked into time-on. They sought not to defend it, but to increase it. The Blood and Tars tried, but the traffic late in the piece was all one way.
"We are a work in progress," said coach McDonald, noting the number of players new to the team.
Of those debutants, Jason Holmes and Dan Stanford turned in strong performances, while Alex Trigar showed maturity in defence. Matt Merlo won more possessions than any teammate.
While the mood in the social club was subdued, a number of seasoned observers noted that Xaverians have a better record in Round 21 than they do on Opening Day. However, the coaches and players will have eyes and thoughts only for the R2 clash with De La Salle.
Old Xaverians 5.4-34 7.6-48 11.9-75 12.10-82
Old Trinity 2.3-15 8.6-54 10.7-67 13.12-90
Goal Kickers: B. Goss 3, M. Handley 3, T. Johnston 2, D. Symeopoulos, T. Anderson, B. Kennedy, N. Batsanis
Best Players: C. Lane, J. Holmes, L. Bisset, M. Handley, D. Stanford, S. Ralph