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Two more teams go home for the summer this weekend.
Xaverians must face De La Salle, brilliant, rested and aggressive. Their first semi-final win over Uni Blues showed them at their best, albeit on a much firmer track than last week’s combatants endured.
There will be battles waged on several fronts on Sunday. Xaverians’ defence is rock solid and will need to be to hold the rampaging forward setup it will face. Pickett, Oakley, Moore, Duggan, Semmel and Roberts against Wynne, Noonan, Lynch, Biddlecombe, Dimattina and Rogerson.  The sparks will fly there. Xavs will get first hand on the ball with John Shaw, who was the X Men’s best last week, and Cam Purss the best ruck combo going around.  Then it’s the smaller men: Lowe, Shields, Gotch and Pollard against Agius, Allan, Ball, and Mercuri. On the wings, Colbert and Prowse versus Williams and Collins. If we suppose an even contest across those lines, then the attention turns to the Red ‘n’ Blacks’ forward half. Matt Handley destroyed DLS in last year’s second semi final and must play another monster game here. His season has been interrupted twice through injury, but if he is on, there’s no greater threat in VAFA football. He’ll need help from the men around him to get a decent score on the board.
Then there are the intangibles. I believe De La has more class, but the Xavs are loaded with grit. They were below their best at Waverley Parkbut lost only narrowly. They ran and tackled De La into the ground at Toorak Park in their best win of the season. Both teams are coached by fellows with sharp football minds, able to spot a weakness quickly and pull a move to capitalise on it. Both will have hordes of supporters who will not countenance a loss. Expectations are sky-high in the Blue and Gold camp, the lid long ago blown off. Then again, expectations are always high among the Xaverians, who have been treated to unparalleled success over the past decade and a half.
So who wins?  Again, it may come down to conditions. The ground should be better than last week’s bog, but perhaps not firm enough for DLS to unleash its power running to maximum effect. Their form a fortnight ago was irresistible but it wasn’t so hot when they played Uni Blues on a heavy Elsternwick a few weeks ago. They struggled to hit targets and were well beaten.  This week, I can see Xavs closing them down to a more manageable level. The Red ‘n’ Blacks never surrender sovereignty over Casa VAFA without a massive fight and have many times found ways to win the near impossible. Despite all this history, I suspect this is De La’s time and that they will do enough to win. If they do, they will surely know they’ve earned it, as the Xaverians’ never gift grand final spots to anyone.   
Premier B from Fraser Cameron:
For the victor the spoils of promotion and a grand final to play, for the vanquished a summer of regret, going back to square 1, and basically thinking everything was a waste….but let’s not talk gloom and doom here, there are some salivating match-ups to look forward to, and I’m thinking the Blacks will fancy their chances after a week off.
During the regular season, the Students pinched the points on both occasions, and I daresay if their backline can perform as well as they did two weeks ago, it will go a long way to achieving an unlikely victory and promotion which seemed a pipe-dream going into round 18. Dubois on Ford/Mason looks good to me, with Walsh or Guthrie to rotate on Voss. At the other end, I’d expect Bolton to return if there’s any chance and this would provide enormous support for Foster, Lacey and Gaylor. I’m not sure if the Bloods defenders will find it a task too hard to cover the plethora of options that Marc Woolnough has at his disposal, particularly ground level crumbers. 
Still, it all comes down to supply and here’s where I feel Blacks have an edge with a shade better quality run and delivery to the Bloods. If it’s a dry-ish day, the Blacks should do it comfortably. However, keep it wet and wild and the Bloods could redeem themselves and get another crack. Based on the long-range forecast of more sun and less rain, I’m going for University Blacks by 4 goals.