A patchy Saturday, with Seniors and U19 Premier teams falling out of first place, but then a glorious Sunday when the two WOX teams had great wins to secure top spot before this week’s finals.
BLUES’ BLITZ BLOWS AWAY BLOOD ‘N’ TARS
Uni Blues replaced Old Xaverians at the top of the table after monstering the Red ‘n’ Blacks in the final term at Toorak Park on Saturday.
For three quarters, it was a solid contest, and though the home team couldn’t find its way through the Blues defence as often as it might have, the game was still on the line when they went to the lemons.
Around the huddle, the faithful sensed a heroic last quarter comeback, but after a scoreless four minutes, hearts sank as Blues booted their first for the term. Matt Handley goaled for the X-Men, but not before the Varsity added another pair. The big champions third was the final shot fired by the Xavs, as the Phoenix rose again, turned on the torture tap and slammed home another half-dozen for the term.
There were few positives in the collapse, though Jack Hewitt, playing his second senior game, showed courage and skill. Cauley Beetham brought up his 150, and won plenty of the ball, as did the tireless Matt Merlo.
The immediate challenge is to regroup and find some form at the Snakepit next week, though St Bernard’s, always a tough opponent, will be brimming with confidence after their win at the beach over Old Brighton.
Old Xaverians 2.1-13 5.3-33 7.7-49 8.9-57
University Blues 5.1-31 6.2-38 10.4-64 19.6-120
Goal Kickers: M. Handley 3, B. Goss 2, J. Hewitt, D. Symeopoulos, T. Gilbert
Best Players: M. Merlo, C. Beetham, H. Troiani, C. Margin, J. Hewitt, B. Olsson
XAVS SMACK OLD FOE
Matt Douglas dominated the mid-field and split the sticks three times as the Red ‘n’ Blacks defeated traditional rival Uni Blues at Toorak Park.
The Red ‘n’ Blacks looked the better team from the outset, thpugh skill errors put a handbrake on the scoreboard dominance. As the game progressed, the home team fpund greater precision, while Blues wasted their chances around the goals.
Joe Tobin was impassable in defence, aided by Tom Hart and Tom Amad, while Alex Browne was strong and purposeful.
Coach Pepperell will be looking for further improvement, but a solid four-quarter effort against strong opposition would no doubt have pleased him.
Old Xaverians 2.1-13 5.4-34 8.7-55 11.10-76
University Blues 1.3-9 1.6-12 2.8-20 5.9-39
Goal Kickers: M. Douglas 3, M. Peric 2, P. Phillips, T. Golds, M. Hess , H. Cullity, A. Browne, J. Troiani
Best Players: M. Douglas, J. Tobin, E. Lachal, A. Browne, T. Hart, J. Troiani
BROWNIES BEST BLUES TO TAKE TOP -OF-TABLE TUSSLE
Murray Browne’s team had to fight to break open a tense contest, but once on top, they stayed there:
Jackie Shields reports:
It was a top of the table tussle with Old Xavs nipping at the heels of visiting team Monash Uni Blues. A healthy dose of trepidation set the tone on as the siren sounded with a solid game plan compete, pressure, receive. And so Coach Murray Browne’s Blacks’ got to work. The oppositions’ back line was in fine form repeatedly repelling the Old Xavs’ onslaught and thwarting opportunities to convert. An arm wrestle ensued both teams scoring behinds.
A goalless first quarter was matched by a frustrating goalless second quarter for both teams. Again the Old Xavs had multiple chances to take a decisive lead but kicking inaccuracies had them at a shaky point lead on the siren.
Well-structured play in the 3rd quarter had the Old Xavs supporters on their feet and cheering loudly. Five minutes in, Jen Barker pounced on a loose ball and ran through into an open goal. Sensational kicking by Sophie Damon in in the mid-field set the Old Xavs up well but again inaccuracies in the goal square added three behinds instead of 18.
Point. Point Point. Goal. By Alice Keith. Goal by Imogen Milford, resulting in an unassailable lead as the game drew to a close. The Old Xavs keep the pressure on the for entire quarter, keeping the opposition goalless and positioning themselves top of the table with a double chance in the finals at taking out the 2019 Premier B title.
Old Xaverians 0.3-3 0.4-4 1.7-13 3.13-31
Monash Blues 0.1-1 0.2-3 0.3-3 0.3-3
Goal Kickers: J. Barker, A. Keith, I. Milford
Best Players: A. Nichols, G. Wilson, A. Keith, G. Henderson, C. Rooks, G. Knox
FRANTASTICS LEAVE NO DOUBT WITH FAST START.
The Frantastics continued their winning streak with another sensational home game effort on Sunday at Xavier College against Monash Blues, securing top spot and guaranteeing a home semi-final.
There was a lot on the line, with the big win to Old Geelong the previous day vaulting them to the top. Only a big victory would win the minor premiership for the Red ‘n’ Blacks and given that Blues were third on the ladder, only a strong performance all over the park would achieve the desired result.
Three quick early goals resulting from good running out of the centre had Blues squarely on the back foot. And there was more to come. The first term ended with a total of seven goals and one behind for the Old Xavs and no points on the board for the visitors.
Monash Uni Blues rebounded on the second quarter with multiple attacks at goal. The strong Xavs defence kept the Monash threats at bay and it was only a matter of time before the Old Xavs forwards broke through. Another Bella Villani blitz played out, seeing her notch up five for the game, and the half-time siren sounded with a total of 10 goals in the bag.
An uneventful third term ticked over with scrappy play, congestion around the ball and missed opportunities at goal by both teams.
A number of Old Xavs’ set shots that didn’t make the distance kept the spectators on their toes in the final 20 minutes. The play was in the Frantastics’ forward 50 for the majority of the quarter with the result not indicative of the effort by the opposition throughout the game. 10 goals to none – a Frantastic result as the Reds head into the finals fired up!
Old Xaverians 7.1-43 10.3-63 10.7-67 10.10-70
Monash Blues 0.0-0 0.0-0 0.2-2 0.2-2
Goal Kickers: I. Villani 5, Z. Manning 2, E. Christie, F. Cameron-Muller, B. Robertson
Best Players: Z. Manning, K. Mullins, C. Sgarbossa, A. Smith, I. Villani, D. McLaren
RED ‘N’ BLACKS RIP ROYS
Team Manager Bruce Wilson reports:
In wet, slippery and challenging conditions, and with just 19 players, the boys put in a great effort against a determined Fitzroy to win by 84 points at Straddy. Don’t let the final score fool you, Fitzroy tackled, switched and never gave up all day – hats off to the Roy Boys.
With the metrics set before the game, Coach Bergin stamped authority letting all know that the final 24 is far from set in stone and every position is up for grabs. It is true to say that no player this season has taken anything for granted and at every opportunity has set their standards high to maintain our winning ways.
Our depth is our strength and the versatility of each player a bonus to the coach. As a great example Jack Unger continued his brilliant leading and marking in the forward line while big Velks was terrific in the back end marking everything coming his way. Come the 3rd quarter, a total switch saw an 8-goal quarter with Velks in the forward line kicking five and Unger maintaining pressure from the back line, a luxury the thirds enjoy.
As they say, everyone has their day and today was Peter Beaton’s and Matt Forrest’s time to shine with such strong use of body and run and carry out of the back line. Matt “the Fridge” Forrest outran his opponent to deliver the ball on six occasions from half back to the forward line, while Beaton crashed and bashed his way through the field. Patty Nunan was a master of defence as we come to expect, and Jack Bueno was on fire with leather poisoning, running amok from the back and mid field. Tom Ingham was a rock of Gibraltar across half back and continues to use his skill and voice to our advantage, setting up many rebounds.
It is my observation that, week after week, our backline is tested and then breaks the spines and spirits of every opposition. It is a true “Great Wall of China” that repels all the foe and barbarians prepared to have a go - So far no one has breached the tower!
It was great to welcome back “Big Boy” Smithy, whose size and reach dominated the tapa and found teammates on every occasion. The twin tower combination of Smith and Berry is such a luxury ,and as we say each week, Berry is on fire with tap work and marking prowess in the forward line. Add Big Billy Curtis to the mix and you have domination. Billy was fast and powerful in every contest and a welcome addition to the team.
Will Wilson had one of his best games this year, with bursts of speed and skill, pinpointing delivery to the forward line and kicking a brilliant goal himself. Honan is in a golden patch and was everywhere and kicked three terrific and goals at the right time. Harry Kelly was in stellar form, with his overhead marking and three sensational goals. He continues to lead, while at the same time, regularly providing goal assists to his teammates.
The mosquito fleet - Nick Lefebvre, Callum O’Reilly, Sean Stanley, Ben Scala and Rooch Brennan - ran and ran and totally dominated every opponent thrown at the them. Rooch and Scala are just magic to watch with bursts of speed to set up many forward plays to our advantage. O’Reilly takes no prisoners and is hard at the ball on every occasion and again converted a terrific goal. Sean Stanley was everywhere, marking, tagging and converting for one of his own as well. Lefebvre was elusive and a bridge between the backs and forwards to great effect and like many is improving week upon week.
The result was a great win on a tough day and maintains our startling 500 percentsge points. This win guarantees a top two finish with four weeks left.
Well done to Coach Tom Bergin, who set the scene and delivered coach Healy’s message of “one week at a time and if it is to be, its up to me”. Tom also provided his own metrics and the boys responded to his effective style with aplomb. Thanks to the support crew including our star Physio Anastasia, who is our rock, James Samartzis, Argy, Rob Bergin, Carl Nunan and Mr Ingham on the clock. Thanks also to Bridget Wilson for her great photos. Next week we have Old Scotch at their home, and we look forward to a strong result.
Old Xaverians 2.6-18 4.8-32 12.9-81 15.13-103
Fitzroy 1.0-6 1.2-8 2.5-17 2.7-19
Goal Kickers: W. Veljkovic 5, W. Honan 3, H. Kelly 3, L. Berry, W. Wilson, S. Stanley, C. O''Reilly
Best Players: W. Veljkovic, M. Forrest, J. Bueno, P. Beaton, W. Wilson, P. Nunan
CAIN AND LANE INSANE AS ‘NAGES DUMP DARK BLUES
Fraser Lane and Michael “Zulu” Cain shone in front of the sticks in a thumping 117 point victory for the Old Xavs on Saturday.
The X-Men got away early, kicking seven in the first. Their second quarter was a split-decision, but after the half, it was one way traffic as McClusky’s Machine revved up and added another 13 goals.
Old Xaverians 7.4-46 9.9-63 14.10-94 22.14-146
Old Melburnians 2.1-13 4.5-29 4.5-29 4.5-29
Goal Kickers: M. Cain 5, F. Lane 4, D. Nash 2, L. O''Sullivan 2, A. Ongarello 2, J. Hanger 2, S. Berengo, N. Nunan, M. Tempone, S. Grigg, T. Beaton
Best Players: D. Prowse, J. McElhinney, T. Beaton, M. Cain, J. Hanger, L. O''Sullivan
BERNIES PREVAIL IN A TOUGH CONTEST
St Bernards 2.5-17 6.8-44 9.12-66 12.18-90
Old Xaverians 1.1-7 7.4-46 10.6-66 11.10-76
Tom Simmons booted four, but the X-Men fell fourteen points shy of the Snow Dogs at the Snakepit. The scores were locked away at the final change, but it was the Pitters who finished the stronger to take the points.
Goal Kickers: T. Simmons 4, S. Stynes 2, A. Spralja, O. Fraser, C. Whitehead, L. Soccio, A. Lamanna
Best Players: T. Paul, C. O'Loughlin, T. McKay, Z. Hart, B. Christopher, J. Ayton-Delaney
MENTONIANS HOLD ON
A slow start and inaccurate kicking proved fatal for O’Shan’s 18 out at Keysborough.
Old Mentonians 3.5-23 3.5-23 4.9-33 5.12-42
Old Xaverians 0.2-2 1.7-13 1.10-16 3.12-30
Goal Kickers: N. Blackwood 2, N. Jane
Best Players: T. Davine, N. Blackwood, N. Brown, T. Waldron, C. Dunne, H. Sestan
DILES SLIP TO STRONGER PEGS
Old Xaverians 9.7-61
Goal Kickers: J. Lyon 2, L. Cotchett 2, C. Cahill, H. Aikman, C. Brown, J. Ryan, A. Wood
Best Players: N. Russ, H. Aikman, A. Wood, R. Beaton, J. Lucchesi, J. Kentish