Both U19 teams today advanced towards the premiership with thrilling wins at Dairy Bell.
SHAW THINGS SIZZLE, STALL AND SIZZLE AGAIN
Old Xaverians advanced to the U19 Premier section Grand Final with a four goal win at Waverley Park today.
Kicking into a strong breeze, the slick Red 'n Blacks ran, chased, and tackled hard, and moved the ball at lightning speed. They deserved a bigger lead at the first break, but inaccuracy in difficult breezes cost them in front of the sticks.
In a torrid second stanza, they missed eight shots, but kicked truly on the same number of occasions, thoroughly routing the strong Sharks outfit. Or so we thought.
Beaumaris came out firing after the break. The Claret and Stout appeared slower, while the Sharks looked bigger. Xavs tried a loose man in defence, but it was to no avail, as the Blue and Golds attacked through the corridor and stunned with seven goals. It was all quiet at the other end, with Xaverian forays forward too often ending in grabs by Beauy's tall timber, who displayed great discipline and energy in getting back. Their efforts began many attacks. At the lemons, the margin was just 7 points, down from 47 at the half.
Coach Shaw was indignant in the huddle. "It's got nothing to do with the weather, and all to do with a lack of effort." After revealing the white board, he called his charges close and urged them to rediscover their run.
A change of ends would favour the Xaverians, who were downhill and downwind to finish the game. But the Sharks attacked. The first whimpers of "there's still plenty of time" came when the minor premiers booted the first two and led by 8 points.
At last, the cavalry arrived. The margin was reduced, then wiped out. Beauy managed another goal, but the Red 'n' Blacks found their mojo again and stormed home.
There were some great performers in the Xavs team, which has been well drilled by Coach Shaw. They play a very attractive brand of football that involves everyone doing his bit. The standout was the Raging Bull Lucas Soccio, who kicked 7.5 in a match-winning effort. He is not built like the traditional full forward and his opponents towered over him. That didn't mean they enjoyed any aerial dominance. Soccio is a kid who loves to compete, loves the contact and loves to win.
James Dalbosco, who on Saturday impressed many with his luncheon plea to Xavier's Year 12s to join the club next year, was smooth and damaging. Last year's XC Firsts skipper, he is a well-built tall speedster with magnificent disposal.
Sean Stanley is a hard nut with plenty of polish, Ben Scala a pacy forward and Mick McKay a great defender. Danny O'Loughlin and Jack Hewitt also did plenty of damage.
Current Football Director Matt Hannebery was watching the young talent with a trained eye and must have liked what he saw.
The 19s now wait for the winner of next week's preliminary final between Beauy and De La Salle. They know a premiership is just one win away, but Coach Shaw will no doubt remind them that there are no second chances to win one.
Beaumaris 2.3-15 4.3-27 10.8-68 13.10-88
Old Xaverians 2.6-18 10.14-74 10.15-75 16.16-112
Goalkickers: L. Soccio 7, H Vanderkley 2, B Scala 2, J Dalbosco 1, J Hewitt 1, T O'Brien 1, S Stanley 1, W Velijkovic 1
Best Players: L Soccio, J Dalbosco, S Stanley, M McKay, D O'Loughlin, J Hewitt
ALLAN KEYS SLAPPED BY BERNIES, THEN SLAP BACK HARDER
The Rs looked every bit the winner at half time, having held the Snowdogs in the first term and then threatening to blow them away in the second.
But half-time breaks can produce turnarounds. The Pitters had been preparing for a while an assault on this premiership and their team was well stacked with a players who seemed a trifle too talented for the competition.
In the third quarter, they established total dominance, and try as they might, the Red 'n' Blacks could do little to staunch the bleeding. Xavs 14 point half time surplus became a 21 point deficit by the lemons.
But Pat Allan's boys weren't going to allow Bernies to dictate forever. They hit back in the last, and things began to fall into place. Suddenly, Josh Lyon and his mates were taking grabs up forward, Joe Ukovic had the ball on a string.
Xavs took the lead, Bernies came back and looked a chance, but the Red 'n' Blacks banged in the final nails in a stunning finish.
It was a courageous win for Pat Allan's team, and now they head to the preliminary to meet St Kevin's. De La Salle is on the menu in the Grand Final should their appetite be sufficient.
Old Xaverians 1.0-6 5.4-34 6.4-40 14.8-92
St Bernards 2.2-14 3.2-20 9.7-61 12.7-79
Goal Kickers: J. Lyon 4, J. Ukovic 4, L. McCombe 2, M. McNamara 2, C. Goessler, P. Beaton
Best Players: J. Ukovic, H. Brennan, P. Beaton, O. Knott, H. McNamara
PICS BY SARAH HESS.