A Century of the Red & Black



U19s, Reserves wins gives Xavs a full house.


U19s, Reserves wins gives Xavs a full house.

September 24, 2023

Grand Final Day produced new drama and new records. The Red 'n' Blacks completed their record, completing their Michelle. Five flags in one year. Is there a cabinet big enough for the trophies, a ceiling big enough for the linen? We doubt it.

Under sunny skies, the U19 Premier and senior Reserves teams pulled off sensational wins at Elsternwick Park today, landing the club's fourth and fifth premierships for the season, and numbers 87 and 88 overall.

While both won premierships last year, they had their challenges during the year, but none bigger than the obstacles they faced today.

U19 Premier

The U19 team had it all over St Kevin's for most of the afternoon, but the Tricolours made more of their limited opportunities. The Xavs kicked away late in the third term to lead by 16 points at the lemons after a few points only had separated them at the earlier breaks. However, the hot northerly was freshening and the Kevins hit the last term with some confidence.

Happily for the Rossoneri, the Kevins also hit the brick wall that was the Xavs defence. When the Red 'n' Blacks moved the ball forward, things began to happen. The goals came early and periodically until time on, four for the quarter, and it wasn't until garbage time when the Tricolours got loose. The game was over, the flag was won and everybody knew it.

Exciting prospect Makuc Mohammed won the medal for best afield, with a masterful last quarter effort putting the result of the game beyond doubt.

Well played to coach Dan Rush, his lieutenants and his team.



The Reserves began in sensational style, kicking with a strong breeze. Playing excitting football when they had the ball, and applied intense pressure when they didn't. The Cardinals were rattled. They brought up their first score at 18 minutes, a behind that came as a result of their first consecutive possession (two) for the day. At the scoreboard end, Harrison Bell was helping himself to the licorice all-sorts, finding the sticks three times before the first break.

Scotch came back hard and hit the front on the haalf time siren after trailing by 41 points at quarter time. The Cards played methodical football as the pressure level dropped and barring another six pointer from Bell, the Rossoneri were dormant.

Xavs picked up their intensity in the thrid, but the Caledonians made it tough. Senator Ted Kennedy booted a couple of beauties and the X-Men managed five for the term. Their lead was 19 points at the lemons, but with wind as it was, there was a fight ahead.

The last term was judgement time. In short, the Red Men met much stronger stuff from the X-Men than they had seen in the second stanza. Suddenly, the Scotch goalposts narrowed and the tired legs failed to hit targets. The Rossoneri were hard at every contest, playing the same old-style crush that had delivered so many premierships over the past quarter century. Half-way through the term, Harrison Bell worked his way back and on taking possession at centre wing and drilled a pass to the paint of 45. The tears welled among the seasoned spectators as out came Matthew Handley on the bullet-train lead that brought back memories of decades past. He hit the Sherrin and nearly burst it as he grasped a chest mark. Some questioned big Chopper's ability to kick the distance, but the great man, who two weeks ago broke the club's games record, stepped up and sent it sailing over the goal umpires hat and into the crowd on the mound behid the sticks.

A few minutes later, the Senator slotted his third from a tight angle. The Cards were done. They managed just five behinds at the same end they had booted 8 goals in the second stanza.

Harrison Bell might have played his finest-ever game and was well-deserving of the BOG medal.


Goalkickers: H. Bell 5, E. Kennedy 4, M. Handley 3, W. Brusnahan, D. Tuddenham, C. Knott

Best: H. Bell