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In football terms, just fifteen minutes ago, Xavs were looking at a Mad Monday and a summer of running the Tan and throwing some metal around in the gym. But of course, they pulled off the miracle and have turned the competition upside down.

On Sunday, the welcome back three of their best – their leader and midfield hardman Tim Fleming, their silky smooth big occasion specialist Ryan Colbert and the competition’s most dynamic small man, Justin Arnold. Their only major debit is tall defender Ted Woodruff, who was rubbed out for two weeks following a charging incident.

If there’s a doubt over Xavs, it’s the gap that his non-appearance will leave. Xavs aren’t exactly drowning in tall defenders and Collegians’ much touted tall forwards will have to capitalise on that big time if they are to get up. Andrew Bowen, who has thrived as a defender under Lethlean’s tutelage, will doubtless take Fergus Watts for the third time this year. Their duel could well decide the fortunes of both sides. But really, Fergus’ day will very much depend on whether his small men up the field can break free and pump the ball down to him.

I’m not exactly going out on a limb here by selecting Xavs. I reckon if you did a quick straw poll, about eight out of ten would opt for the red and blacks. Tellingly, they always seem to match up on the Lions, always do their homework, shut down their stars and do enough to get over the line. Should be an absolute bolter of a game though – it’s rare that you see a game of amateur footy which such a wealth of talent in both change-rooms. Having said that, all the money is for red and blacks and so is mine. Xavs by three goals.