A Century of the Red & Black



Week 8 Wrap


Week 8 Wrap

May 25, 2024

Week 8: Nine from eleven

All mens' teams saluted but the two WOX teams couldn't quite get the chocolates on this beautiful Melbourne autumn day.


University Blacks, once the grand powerhouse of VAFA football, gradually fell from their perch after their 1974 A Section premiership. They promised a return and in 2000, the year Old Xaverians won its sixth straight premiership in that same section, Blacks, like the Phoenix on their jumper, rose again - from E Grade back to D. It wasn't until 2008 that they made it back to A Section, now known as Premier. Since then, they've won a premiership - 2014 - but they were also relegated three times. Despite their up and down journey, they had never lost to Old Xaverians at University Oval. In fact they had beaten the Red 'n' Blacks seven times.

Today, playing for the second time in six days under the spires, the Claret and Stout broke that skein of defeats with a 56 point demolition of the Blacks. The scoreboard tells us that the Varsity edged the visitors in both the third and final terms, but the damage had already been done before the long break. In fact, the X-Men put enough on the board in the first term to cover the home team's production for the day. The second stanza provided a more even contest, but the solid defence of the Xavs ensured that the margin remained wide.

Xavs had plenty of key performers and all 22 did their bit. Dan Tuddenham has found new maturity as a player and is hitting a rich vein of form. Julin /gangi played his best game for the club, working both ends and running through the midfield. Tom Hart had his best for the year and Hamish Bowen's game alongside him in defence wasn't far behind. Sams Fisher and Ralph were dangerous across the middle and big Ed Delany, Oscar Duncan, and Tommy Simmonds did well up front. Then again, the performance was so good because it lacked any players down on form. It was a very solid team effort.

There was optimism before the game that Xavs were beginning to click. Two wins at the Varsity in consecutive weeks have further buoyed spirits, but there's another big challenge from St Bernard's next week. And after the break, another ten of them from teams hungry and capable. The Red 'n' Blacks are at base camp, but the foundations appear solid.

Round 7 of Premier football produced a couple of close ones and some important results.

Collegians (112) led Fitzroy (72) all day at Brunswick Street, producing an even four quarter performance.

Uni Blues (111) torched OMs (59) after trailing at the half by 3 goals.

Old Brighton (70) still unbeaten after a narrow win over St Bernard's (65).

St Kevin's (78) pipped Old Scotch (76) at Camberwell.


The Gladiators pulled a percentage job over Uni Blacks, tearing away after a quietish first quarter. Returning to the ground where their late surge put away Blues the week before, Xavs piled on the pressure and turned up the volume against a team that didn't have the strength to hold them out. The visitors had the luxury of switching players to try them in new positions as the game progressed.

Skipper Ben Scala was BOG, and he had plenty of help as the young team powered on to the big 138 point win.

The Red 'n' Blacks are now two games and over 100 percentaage points to the good at the top of the table, but sterner tests await them as they meet other contenders over the next month.


The WOX continued their Premier B experience with a solid performance against the Sharks, but lowered their colours against a stronger Beaunmaris outfit. Falling behind early, they matched the visitors for the final three terms, but went down by 20 points. The teams finished even on shots, but the Sharks kicked straighter.


After a great month in May, the WOX Twos fell to a more consistent Beaumaris team, who had too much firepower. The Red 'n Blacks fell behind by 4 goals at the half, and never quite managed to rope in their opponents.


Once upon a time, we  celebrated Commonwealth Day on 24 May with fireworks. Those evenings of penny bungers and backyard skyrockets are long forgotten, but the Red 'n' Blacks turned on their own display of pyrotechnics at Bayside on Friday night, with a crushing 99 point victory under lights at Banksia Park. Its victim, Beaumaris, gave it plenty but could not withstand the powerful Xavs, who careened away to a 45 point lead at quarter time after conceding the first behind. Seven goals four in the first term was pretty to watch, and would have been prettier still for those eyes had better night vision.

Ed Dalton and Xavier Austin were prominent early, as the big fellow Tom Gorman lit it up from the middle. Time and time again, the young X-Men drove it forward, presenting numerous opportunities for scores, while a desperate Sharks defence tried in vain to hold the visitors out. We've seen some excellent U19 teams play spectacular football in recent years, but rarely with such cohesion as early as this.

Coach Matthew Handley, the man who spoke softly but always carried a big stick as a player, employs the same methods as a coach, urging, cajoling,congratulating and quietly asking his charges to perform as they can. If one can take this team's last two efforts as a guide, there is already strong capability with plenty of room for improvement.

With many of its finest from last year's squad now graduated to senior ranks, defending the title was always going to be a stiff challenge. But again, our U19 team is looking good as we approach the half-way point.


Old Xavs avenged their R1 100+ point loss to the Panthers when they beat Carey by 33 points at Bulleen. The young X-Men led all day, with Chris Crisostomos leading the charge. The goals were shared across eight players in the big win, which sees them just a game out of the four.


Old Xaverians proved too strong for St Kevin's, beating them by 8 points at TH KIng. The Tricolours came hard in the second half but couldn't bridge the gap. Danny Calvert booted five in the big win which keeps them very much in finals contention.

23s RIOT

Xavs smashed St Bernard's by 151 points at West Essendon to stay a game and huge percentage clear on top. Will Exell booted four and fourteen others hit the scoreboard too..


Xavs beat St Kevin's by 52 points at Stradbroke Park as Lucas Soccio and Rory Calvert bagged ten goals between them. The Menages were hardly tested as they pulled away from the Kevins in a comprehensive rout. The Red 'n' Blacks maintain their strong lead at the top of the table.


No heroics from Josh Lyon this week, but no problem, as Adam MacIsaac and Lachie Doquile led the charge against Parkside. MacIsaac booted five and skipper Matt Perrett four as the Emerald Hose racked up another big win to remain unbeaten and top of the table.


Lachie Hecker was BOG and Conor O'Brien kicked five as the U23 Twos bolted away from UHS-VU. The Xavs' first half was imppressive and their second even more convincing as the youngsters posted an 87 point victory. The win sees them top of the ladder with a 6-2 record and surely, with plenty of improvement and exciting times ahead. Six wins in a row and kicking cricket scores hhas given them an unassailable percentage.


R7: Seniors @ Uni Blacks