Blues use an opening round Ayce card, as Gentleman Jim & King Kenny run riot

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We are officially away in William Buck Premier in 2023.

University Blues put behind a season of woe to record an opening round win against Old Melburnians by 18 points at the reopening of Elsternwick Park.

Starting the contest strongly, Blues weren’t able to capitalise on early opportunities kicking 3.6 (24) in the opening term, keeping the OM’s to just one major. They would then give up the lead and go into half-time behind the navy blue, under new leader Jackson Paine.

2x Woodrow Medal winner Ayce Cordy, reappointed club captain turned back the clock and put in a best on ground performance with three majors, and a dominant hand in the ruck. Supported by Eddie Ziebarth (2 goals), showing his Albury strength. Experienced campaigners Jeremy Goddard, Tom Young, moved into the back pocket and last years best and fairest Marty Gleeson were named amongst Guy Martyn’s best players.

Jackson Paine, in his first outing as OM’s skipper kicked two majors. Ed Michelmore found his way to three goals. The second term saw them gain the ascendancy, but were unable to keep hold of the momentum in the third term.

The Blues will enter next weeks grudge match against University Blacks with a full head of steam, and hellbent on keeping bragging rights.

Collegians had 11 changes from the side that took to the field on preliminary final day in 2022. No Sam Hibbins (overseas), and no Dave Mirra (unavailable) left the RSN Xtra commentary team with question marks on the firepower of the Lions.

Old Xaverians had 12 changes themselves from the semi-final side.

The return of Kenny Ong to the midfield, and the rise of Teigan Otter (3 goals) on debut certainly dispelled those questions. A tight opening quarter, then saw Xaverians kick three goals in the second term to move out to an 11-point lead. Before the most exciting team to watch in William Buck Premier put the foot down to go on and kick seven of the next eight goals. At one stage, the margin was at 34 points.

Xaverians were able to whittle that back to 19 points at the final siren, but the day belonged to the Lions.

Jim Bazzani awarded best on ground honours, Ed Greene found his way to three goals. For the red and black Billy Gowers finished with two goals.

Old Melburnians head to Xavier College, keen on making amends for their opening round loss.

Old Scotch will enter their tradition Anzac weekend match against Collegians full of confidence after putting Caulfield Grammarians to the sword.

32 scoring shots on the day compared to 11. Holding the Fields to a solitary point in the first term, the Cardinals opened up a 21 point lead at the first change. The margin was cut to 10 at half time, before again keeping the Fields to just a point in the third term, extending the lead back out to an unassailable 41 points at the final change. The final margin of 61 points is the clubs biggest winning margin since Round 1, 2021.

Andy Jelbart on Thursday night was announced the club captain again, and, like Cordy at Uni Blues, led from the front. Named the best player on the ground. Harry Brown (3 goals), Tarrant, Ansell and Griffin all kicked two goals apiece.

The Fields are vastly different to the team that took to the field in 2022. They will take some time to learn the gameplan Guy McKenna wants to implement, and playing alongside one another. The challenges though, don’t get any easier – Awaiting the Fields is St Kevin’s at T H King Oval.

St Kevin’s had to hang on for dear life using a getting out of jail card in the season opener against the reigning Premier B Premier’s, Old Haileybury. Holding them out by a point – 7.12 (54) to 7.11 (53).

The margin was never more than two goals at intervals. At three quarter time SKOB held a 12 point lead but were unable to add a goal to the total in the final term, as Haileybury kicked two goals to get themselves in a position to nearly cause a boil over.

Harry Wardlaw was the only multiple goal kicker for the afternoon, and laid 12 tackles showing the defensive pressure that Plugger Lynch will love to see, Sam Critchley was a brick wall down in defence while Luke Winter was his usual stoppage best. Rich, Gooda and Nathan Dowsett were the best for Old Haileybury, however the full team gave a sensational showing in their first game in the VAFA’s topflight for over a decade.

Daniel Ward’s men are on the road next weekend, heading out to Brighton Beach Oval to face off against the Tonners.

Old Brighton will enter that clash with a win after coming from behind against University Blacks at the Melbourne Uni Oval.

Uni Blacks got off to a flying start, kicking three goals in the first six minutes but the Tonners were able to wrestle back control. Jamie Hope was one of five debutants for Brighton, and finished with three goals.

Ben Jarick, a member of the 2017 B Grade premiership, played his first game in 5 years and did a great job when thrown into the ruck after half time.

Both sides were in a battle for the Perrett Cup for the second time (last played in 2012) which is named after Ross Perrett, life member of Uni Blacks, and his son Jon who captained Old Brighton for 7 years himself.

Dale Bower will be hopeful his side can get on the right side of the ledger in seven days time when the Blacks face off against Uni Blues in the RSN Xtra Match of the Day.

Photo: Bruce Tobin, Collegians & Tom Clarke, Old Brighton