It was four seasons in a day at St Kevin's College with sun, rain, hail and wind, wind and more wind playing havoc with proceedings. But it mattered little as the SKOB Seniors won a crucial match against Old Xavs. The Ressies were overrun at the death, but the Academy were big winners. At Old Rigret Saints Gold and Blue both win and at TH King, the 19's Premier defeat Willy, Div 2 were defeated by Parkside, and the Div 4's beat the Snowdogs in an absolute nail biter.
A spectacular day with weather coming in all shapes and sizes welcomed players and fans alike to St.Kevin’s College on Saturday for the annual Past Players Day lunch and match at the school against great rivals Old Xavs. A superb event with over 180 guests at the pre game lunch whetted the appetite for a match that some pundits anticipated would be season defining for both clubs. SKOB went into the game with some handy inclusions, including Lachy Sullivan in for his first game since 2019 and Tom Jok and Billy Coates who were both passed fit after missing most of the season to date. The game began in bright sunshine but with a strong breeze heading to the Kooyong end – to which SKOB kicked in the first quarter. It was the visitors who started brightest kicking an early goal and then holding the scores even for most of the term. Mitch Wallis got the first for the home team but they had to wait until well past the 20 minute mark to start building on the ascendency of the breeze which had given them the lion's share of the forward half possession. Given that the Reserves match had seen 10.5 to 0 scored by both teams in the second half of the early game, no less than a four goal lead would seem sufficient in the circumstances. Goals to Mitch Wallis, Pat Kerr and Phil Edgar saw SKOB get some value for their entries but a late goal to Xavs cut the margin to 14 points and the big crowd that had gathered for the match sensed this may not be enough. A quick goal from the opening bounce to Pat Kerr gave SKOB a slightly enhanced buffer before a band of evil weather crept in from the west, darkening the skies and shooting rain in sideways to make life tricky for players and sending the fans into the pavilion where the atmosphere was a lot warmer and much more inviting.
The SKOB defence held up well into the breeze and despite another late goal for Xavs right on the siren, the home team had actually managed to extend their lead for the quarter by a point – a significant effort given the conditions. The third term saw the rain move on and the wind abate slightly, although by now the ground was extremely slippery and the ball was getting heavy. SKOB repeated their start from the second quarter by goaling within a minute and this again gave them a comfortable margin to work with. Better use of the breeze and a lift in intensity saw them pull right away kicking 5 goals to zero for the quarter and establishing a match winning break by the final change. Another goal in the first minute of the last quarter removed any lagging doubt from the most pessimistic fan and SKOB went on to record a 46 point win on the biggest day on their home and away calendar.
Pat Kerr was terrific up forward with 4 goals whilst the Wallis brothers contributed 5 between them. Josh Wallis was adjudged best afield along with Patty Kerr, while other standouts from a very even team performance were Sam Cameron, Phil Edgar, Luke Winter and the returning Ben Mansfield.
In the earlier game it was heartbreak for the Reserves as they couldn’t quite hang on into the breeze against a fast finishing Old Xavs.
Here's the report from Assistant Yanni
SKOB's Reserves Play out a Thriller
It was a magical Saturday afternoon, and the ground was in peak condition. Most of the boys returned to St. Kevin's College ahead of their scheduled reunion, and they were ready to face Old Xavier, reigniting their long-standing rivalry.
The first half was highly contested, with tension so thick you could cut it with a knife. Both teams matched each other in intensity. Old Xavier held a slender lead for the majority of the half, but the SKOB's boys came back swinging. Angus Hart and Chris Gleeson played pivotal roles in the last line of defence, effectively handling their matchups. Thomas Feehan scored two impressive goals, and Zach Ginies added another with a Joe the Goose. This left Old Xavier with a narrow one-point lead, 24 to 25.
Heading into the third quarter, Coach Clough pushed the boys to capitalize on their forward 50 entries and break the game open. Luke Mazzeo's three consecutive goals skyrocketed the confidence and momentum of the team. Angus Mcquie was instrumental in the stoppages, winning the majority of the hitouts and propelling the team to an outstanding five-goal lead.
On the final stretch, the boys rotated to the back-foot, facing numerous stoppages with everything on the line. Despite SKOB's best efforts to slow the game down, Old Xavier managed to fully exploit the wind advantage, snatching the lead by a narrow margin. The game turned into a helter-skelter affair in the final two minutes. Ultimately, the match ended in a heartbreaking two-point loss for SKOB's Reserves. Although disappointed, they gave Old Xavier an almighty scare.
Coach Clough's Best: A. McQuie, C. Woolrich, A. Hart, L. Mazzeo, M. Di Natale, T. Feehan.
Prior to the Reserves game we saw the young Academy side put the sword to Old Xavs (who have long held sway in these contests) to come out big winners on the day with a 70 point win. Using the breeze well, SKOB got the jump early and were never in danger as they played a terrific 4 quarters in bright sunshine – enjoying the best conditions for the day. Best players for Coach Ollie and Krusher were Hamish Burrill, Seamus Skehan, Alex Dietze, Max Mulcahy, Jack Liszukiewicz and Stacy Brockwell-Hahn with the highlight of the day coming late in the game when regular full back Sam Doyle kicked a very rare goal to send his teammates into raptures.
Saints get revenge over Cardinals - Blues break through!
Over at Old Rigret, the Saints Gold were looking for redemption against an Old Scotch side that had their measure earlier in the year. The Cardinals had jumped SKOB in the previous encounter so Coach Purcell was sure to have his team ready from the get go. Keeping their visitors scoreless in the first quarter whilst kicking a couple was a great start, then the Saints dug in when their opponents had the breeze, before a big third term saw them break the game open and set up a winning lead by the final change. It was an important win for the Saints who jumped back to second spot on the ladder on the back of the result. Catherine Stanton returned for the Saints and was dominant – booting 3 goals in a best on ground display. Abi Bloom, Molly Simpson and Zara Guss were all great contributors as were Isabelle Worth and (of course) Bree Doyle.
The BIG story of the day came for the Saints Blue who won their first game of the season. It’s been a very challenging year for Coach Strauss and his team who have been competitive almost every week but just haven’t found the winning line. On Saturday they finally got the chocolates to their great delight as was seen at the final siren. With the Green Machine short on numbers and having to forfeit this week, they were able to inject the Blues with a few extra personnel and with the great services of Brook Stringer, Jess Mounas, Georgia Hinton, Jemima Dwyer, Remi Fiorentini, Pip Stephenson and the entire team, the Saints prevailed in a thriller at Old Rigret. Well done to all the players and congrats to the coaches and supporters. Hope there are many more wins to come.
Premier 19's make it 9 - Div 4's top the SnowDogs
At TH King the Under 19 Premier team made it nine wins on the trot, although it was tough going for four quarters against Willy CY’s who never gave an inch all day. Harry Long has the 19’s going great guns but the challengers keep coming so it was very satisfying to get the 4 points after an epic battle. The Premier team were best served by Harry Trotter, Nick Tonge, Jack “Chicken” Palmer, Xavier Duke, Oli Gill and Roshan Fernandes. Next week they face third placed Uni Blues in what will be another big game. In Div 2 SKOB were unable to get past Parkside who proved too strong all day. Best for the 2’s were Connor Joyce, Luke Lourey, Ronna Smythe, Alex Smith and the “Matts” - Buckeridge and Carter. Our Div 4 boys got revenge over St Bernards who had beaten them comfortably earlier in the season. In a thrilling match that went right down to the wire, Coach Tommy Kerr’s boys got up by a goal to give their supporters great joy after a pretty tough season so far. The Snowdogs were peppering the goals in the last quarter on the back of the breeze, but SKOB managed to hang on with great performances from Joey Kerr, Noah Pearce, Geordie Dooley, Justin Willmott, Tom Whelan and Harry Martin.