Bernard's battle VAFA powerhouse Old Xav's

21 May 2012

For the first time in 5 years we ventured back to Toorak Park to resume our traditional rivalry against Old Xav's.


Injury forced some changes however inclusions of Merrington, young gun Simon Caven and debutant Jacob Shine, saw a keen Snowdog's unit line up against the Xavarien's.

In a tightly fought first half against a slick opposition St Bernard's were right in the hunt and but for some occasional skill errors, could have been much closer than the four goal gap shown on the scoreboard at the long break.

Early in the third quarter our injury bogey struck again with talented and hard working first ruck Liam Wilkinson going down with a suspected medial ligament injury, and taking no further part in the game.

Old Xav's pounced on our restricted line-up and their attacking machine slipped into top gear, pouring on 9 goals and overwhelming a very game St Bernard's defensive line.

The mood in the 3qtr time huddle was subdued but you could feel the boys were steeling themselves to put up a strong fight and win the last qtr to uphold the honour of the club.

The coaches asked for a back to basis's approach and the team dug deep and with Bevanda, Singleton, Josh and Luke Madden and Mick Sullivan pushing hard in the midfield.

This hard work saw better service given to Merrington and George up forward. Meanwhile down back the Caven "twin rocks" made life tough for the opposition forwards.

While we suffered a painful loss, we more then held our own against the rampaging Xav's to win the last quarter and take some positives into next weeks home game vs Uni Blues.

Goal Kickers: A. Merrington 2, R. Schroder 2, M. Sullivan , S. Caven , L. Madden , B. George , A. Van Meel
Best Players: T. Caven, S. Caven, J. Bevanda, J. Madden, L. Madden, J. Forder


Pre-game coach Damien Sullivan sensed the boys were up and about for a big game against a crack Old Xav's reserves team.

In the first half the team stuck to its structures and in a true team effort, lead by big banna bender Shaun Clarke and gutsy rover Matty Borzillo, Bernard's pushed out to a 20pt lead at the long break.

Of course at home Old Xav's were not going down without a real fight and it was game on in the second half.

In one of the highest standard reserves games in recent years, a fast moving arm wrestle of a match unfolded.

Stapo lifted and joined Clarke to keep the Old Xav rucks under the pump while Issac Madden across halfback and Jesse Manunzio in midfield stepped up with big efforts to keep Bernard's nose in front to 3 qtr time.

The Bernard's brains trust of Dammo, Mick Stapo and Tommy Gleeson on the whiteboard, got the boys focussed for a big final stanza.

In the frantic final minutes Xav's snatched the lead and with our guys running low on petrol tickets we had our backs to the wall.

But never count the Snowdog's out. Some great courage was shown in the dying minutes. Jesse taking a pack mark, Jack Wheeler marking under heavy pressure inside 50, handing off to skipper Canna who snagged it from 45 and a freakish Buddy Franklin goal on the run from Paddy Gamwell.

Finally the siren sounded on one of the best reserves win's in recent years, with Bernard's getting the chocolates by 11pts.

The boys almost took the roof off the change rooms when they belted out the theme song, and the post game talk was wether Dammo would take up Jessie's push to be named centre half forward next week ,for his pack marking!

Goal Kickers: S. Clarke 4, A. Stapleton 2, A. Ciantar 2, S. Mitchell , M. Borzillo , S. Cannatelli
Best Players: M. Borzillo, J. Manunzio, I. Madden, A. Stapleton, K. Farrell, A. Ciantar , S Clarke


In what was always going to be a tough game against Old Xavs, things were made even tougher due to the number of injuries in the Seniors and Reserves forcing our Thirds to field only 19 players.

In the first 1/4 the boys showed some real grit by being first at the ball and doing all the one percenters, and were able to finish the term 1.2.8 to Old Xavs 5.3.33. In the second 1/4 the back line continued to battle hard against the barrage from Old Xavs but our lack of numbers begun to show as our on ballers and general intensity tired half way through the 1/4. At half time the scoreboard 2.3.15 to 10.9.69 didn't show much hope for the boys as they went in at half time reduced to only 18 fit players due to a knee injury to NZ Josh.

In the second half Coach Frank Monaghan entered play in the back pocket and tried to instil some inspiration into the boy's fight against a near impossible task, however Old Xavs fresh legs and solid game plan resulted in them being to strong for the Thirds on the day.

The result in the end was a comprehensive win to Old Xavs.

Next week hopefully with the return of some players from injury and others making themselves available for selection, we can field a full team and notch up a win.

Goals: Holland 2, Sicari 1
Best: O'Neil, Evans, Flannery, Kingston, L. Neal, McIntyre


In overcast conditions at Therry the boys played some outstanding football at times andnd also fell back into bad habits.

Daniel Janides was outstanding for the entire gamem, must have Had at least 40 possessions. James Jovanovski with 5 majors made up for his inaccurate licking againt Williamstown last Saturday.

Chris O'Keefe played front and centre pretty well and kept a cool head inn kicking his 4 goals.

Peter Villani played his best game for the year. His ruck work in the middle was second to none.

Nick Toy took his usual 10 marks and gave us a real target up forward. Aaron Helenius and James Devery also showed plenty of class during the day.

Being up by 44 points mid-way through the last term,we did slacken off a bit to allow Therry to kick 5 unanswered goals. To there Credit they did not give up all Day.

This Saturday againt Ladder leader Old Melbunians and with a few players back from injury we will have a fair dinkum crack.

Goals: James Javonovski 4,Chris O'Keefe 4,Daniel Janides 2
Best: Daniel Janides,James Jovanovski,Peter Villani,Chris O'Keefe, Nick Toy, James Devery, Chris Walsh, Danial Mcmanus and Aaron Helenius

Under 19 Premier

In what turned out to be a real Arm wrestle, the under 19 premier boys came up just short of the mark against the best team in the competition in Old Xav,s at the weekend.

After a slow start which saw Xavs open up an early 3 goal lead, our boys lifted the work rate and started to get on top across the ground and win plenty of contested footy, with James Weir and Jack Saundry playing great stopping roles and Jack Fenner giving us first use in the middle we felt that the game was beginning to turn our way and although 22 points down at the half time break we were in a good position going in to the 2nd half.

After some restructuring at our stoppages, and the message that we needed some quick ball movement into the forward line, we found that we were able to release the ball to our outside runners who in turn went deep into the forward line where David Wall and Michael Hughes were able to convert bringing the margin back to just 9 points at 3 Quarter time.

One goal each, early in the last saw the "Arm wrestle" continue. A missed opportunity to St Bernard's deep in the quarter, saw Xavs go coast to coast for a goal and then get one more in junk time to finally win by 20 points.

This game proved that we are highly competitive against the best in the competition and if we all “Coaches and players alike” learn from these games and work on our weaknesses then we will be stronger and better prepared next time.

Final score: St Bernard's 7.8.50 lost to Xavs 10.10.70.

Goal Kickers: Wall 3, Hughes 2, Le Noury 1, Fenner 1.
Best Players: Weir, Bennie, Overman, Sulzberger and Sullivan.

U19 (2) - St. Bernard's defeated by Northern Blues

Under Grey skies Kevin Jones and the U19 (2) boys ventured to the Preston City Oval to take on the undefeated ladder leaders the Northern Blues.

The scoreboard will show that we received a belting however given the fact we had 7 changes from the previous week to either injury or promotion plus first half injury to Jono Goldsworthy the boys provided a contest they should be proud of.

It was real men versus boys stuff, we were well lead by Liam McIntyre, Alex Nicou, Andrew Zammit and Lachie Allison the latter playing his best game for the season. Unfortunately turnovers created by skill errors and poor decision making against quality opposition will produce results like this.

An under manned St. Bernard’s team showed plenty of spirit and courage which was acknowledged by the coaching group.

If we provide this sort of effort on a weekly basis a win may not be far away.

Best Players: McIntyre, Nicou, Ben Nathan, Allison, Bevanda, Feehan, Di Paolo, O'Sullivan and McAllister.

Patrick Crabb