It was already Round 17 as we hosted Old Xavs in a crucial clash at Princes Park.
The 4 points were non- negotiable if we wanted to stay in with a chance of surviving in A Grade for Season 2024. The game started with the bloods kicking to the scoring end for the day and at the first change we led by 13 points. Pleasingly at the start of the 2nd term we took our chances in front of goal and the margin was increasing. OX is a proud group and fought back but at the long change we led the contest by 26 points.
The chat in the rooms was that we needed to continue to attack the game with our ball movement as we had kicked 9 goals for the half. The 3rd started with us controlling the footy, but we were unable to put the score on the board. Xavs intensity had lifted, and they were getting more opportunities forward of centre. Going into the last break they had reduced the margin to 12 points.
The message at 3 quarter time was to leave nothing in the tank and to take the game on again.
Surprisingly the game had turned into a low scoring affair and at the start of the quarter both sides were struggling to move the ball. Our pressure and energy were fantastic and all 22 of our boys were putting their bodies on the line. In a super brave effort, we managed to kick 2 goals to 1 for the quarter and came out on top with a 19-point victory.
From a best player perspective, it would not be fair to single anyone out as all 22 deserve the pats on the back. As tough as the win was in A grade the challenges keep coming and we have one more to tackle. We head out to TH King in Glen Iris to take on St Kevins. Our boys need the win on Saturday to guarantee their place in A Grade next year.
They are up for the challenge we would love it if you could be out there to support them.
For full pictorial coverage of the Seniors' match against Xavier, go to the Gallery
Men's Reserves Match Report
Brought to you by Chicken Lads
Old Haileybury 04.08-32
In a much-anticipated football clash, Old Haileybury Reserves took on Xavier in a thrilling encounter that showcased the resilience and determination of the Old Haileybury side. With the return of Jesse Laity and some notable changes in the line up, the Reserves team demonstrated their commitment to putting up a strong fight against the formidable Xavier squad.
The match kicked off with a burst of energy from Old Haileybury as Castan Racunica, a key player for the team, scored the opening goal of the game. Racunica's three goals throughout the match highlighted his prowess on the field, underlining why he has been a prominent figure in the senior football scene this year. The Reserves team showed promising signs early on, setting a positive tone for the game.
Xavier, however, displayed their credentials as a dominant force in the competition, boasting an impressive record of 15 wins and only 1 loss in their current campaign. Their well-rounded performance across the board served as a testament to their consistency and skill. The Old Haileybury side, while facing a tough opponent, never backed down and continued to battle with heart and determination.
Max Sievers emerged as a standout performer, showcasing his class and footballing prowess. His contributions on the field were instrumental in keeping the Old Haileybury Reserves in the game. Additionally, the inclusion of newcomers Krishan Maheepala and Jordan Nolan brought the total number of players used for the season to an impressive excess of 90, highlighting the depth of talent within the Reserves squad.
Despite the final score not swinging in their favour, the Reserves side can take pride in their efforts. Jarrod Hewitt's continued stellar form underscored his importance to the team's performance. The Old Haileybury Reserves fought tooth and nail throughout the match, striving to bridge the gap against the powerful Xavier team.
The game also held a special significance as it marked our Captain Ben O'Leary's 100th match. O'Leary's leadership both on and off the field has undoubtedly been a driving force behind the Reserves team. His dedication to the club and the game itself has made him an invaluable presence, and his milestone match added an extra layer of emotion to the occasion.
As the season approaches its conclusion, Old Haileybury Reserves will look to build on the positives from this match. The improvement of 90 points from their previous encounter with Xavier demonstrates their commitment to growth and development. With a final game against St Kevins on the horizon, the team has another opportunity to showcase their progress and end the season on a high note.
While Xavier might have emerged victorious in this particular match, the Old Haileybury Reserves displayed a fighting spirit that will undoubtedly serve them well in their future endeavours. Their dedication to the game and their club is a testament to the passion that drives the sport of football at all levels.
Best Players: Jesse Laity, Castan Racunica, Jarrod Hewitt, Jacob Gown, Max Sievers, Will Barrie
Goals: Castan Racunica (3), Jesse Laity
Under 19's Match Report
Brought to you by Sharp and Carter
Old Haileybury 16.09-105
Old Carey 09.08-62
The U/19’s took on ladder leader Old Carey on Saturday, we expected a very tough, physical game and that is exactly what we got. Carey shot out of the gates early with two majors and really looked good whilst our guys looked like they were struggling to find the pace of the game. We talk all the time about keeping our emotions in check and “keeping our head in the game” and to our guy’s credit they didn’t panic and we kicked the next 4 out of 5 goals to take a slender lead into quarter time. As I’ve said before, there is a real believe within this group that they can compete with anyone, and they showed it again in the latter stages of that first quarter. 3 goals to 1 in the second term set up a 16-point lead at half time. Unfortunately, we lost Bailey Yates at half time as a result of a heavy fall in a marking contest and we knew that Carey would come out firing and the 3rd quarter, it was a real arm wrestle with each team kicking 1 goal for the quarter. We have been the best defensive side all season, Josh Gillon, Hugo Lynch and Jeremy Adams have hardly lost a one-on-one contest this year. The last quarter was another struggle with two sides going at it till the last bounce. Another 2 goals to 1 last quarter ended in a 24-point win against the top side. Going into the game we had set ourselves to “send a message” to the sides in the four and our guys certainly did that with a strong four quarter effort. Our guys play a really strong brand of football and one we hope will take them deep into the finals in a couple of weeks’ time.