Club XVIII Grand Final Reviews: Spartans’ sparkling success; St Francis triumph.

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By Norm Nugent

Before a large crowd and with conditions conducive to good football, the Club XVIII season concluded on a balmy early spring grand final day.

Section 1

Hawthorn proved their late season form was of the required standard as they led throughout the game to defeat defending premiers, Old Xaverians, by 36 points.

Hawthorn’s pressure was unrelenting and their ball movement by hand and foot often left the “Crocodiles” flat footed. Their stamina and precision kicking put to rest the thoughts I shared with others that the big Sportscover Arena would not suit Hawthorn.

The first quarter proved to be one where each defence was on top of the forwards. The Xaverians were only able to record four minor scores whilst the “Spartans” scored two goals. Hawthorn’s Nicholas Criticos brought the crowd to its feet when he carried the ball from the Hawthorn half back line, broke through a Xaverian tackle and kicked a team lifting goal. This surely was the goal of the season.

The Hawthorn ascendancy continued throughout the second quarter when they added another three goals and held their Xaverian opposition to a solitary goal kicked late in the quarter by veteran “Crocodile” coach, David Landrigan.

The third quarter was the best for Old Xaverians who added four goals to three by their opponents. The closest the Xaverians came to the Hawthorn score was when their several attacks brought them to within eight points. However Hawthorn rallied  and by three quarter time their lead was 21 points.

The last quarter again produced a close tussle where defenders again held the ascendancy. It was a rare occurrence by the Xaverians who failed to score in the quarter. Hawthorn continued their scoreboard dominance by adding another two goals, which gave them their winning margin of 36 points, which doubled the “Crocodile” score.

Veteran Hawthorn player, Angelo Lekkas won the Landrigan – King Medal for the best player in the game. Angelo played 180 games with Hawthorn in the AFL between 1996 and 2005. Others to do well for Hawthorn, included; Criticos and defender, Jean Daou.

Best for Old Xaverians included: Simon O’Brien, Tim. Silk and Nick Corcoran

The Steve Mason Medal for the fairest and best in the section was awarded to Matthew Walsh of Old Xaverians. John Farah of Hawthorn won the section goal kicking award.

Section 2

After a very low scoring first quarter, an upset result seemed a possibility. Then half way through the second quarter, St Francis Xavier asserted their authority on the game and added six goals against two kicked by Melbourne High School Old Boys who were unable to stem the forward movements by their undefeated opponents. At half time St Francis Xavier held a 31-point lead.

The third quarter produced more dominance by St Francis, who added another four goals and restricted “The Unicorns” to just two goals. Thus at the last change, St Francis held a commanding lead of 51 points. The last quarter saw St Francis continue their supremacy because they added another four goals and restricted Melbourne High to one. When the final siren sounded, St Francis Xavier, who led by 71 points became premiers and champions of this section.

Christopher Hughes from St Francis was adjudged best on the ground. He was well supported by Liam Dullard and Sam Burns. Best players for Melbourne High School included: Damian Grantham, Christopher Wright and Albert Kuang.

Beau Coyle from the Albert Park Club was presented with the section best and fairest and goal kicking awards at the post game presentation.

Thank you to my readers whose positive comments on the column do make writing the more rewarding. Until 2016 …