ANOTHER chapter in the long-standing under-19 rivalry between De la Salle and Old Xaverians was written last week, when the two teams clashed in their fourth successive grand final.
De La Salle avenged last year’s loss to claim its third flag in four years, but Hugh Nicholson’s performance was the story of the day.
Nicholson was in red hot form, having kicked nine goals in the preliminary final, but a mishap two days before the grand final at his trade school almost ended his season.
‘‘I got a cut on my thumb when I was using the saw,’’ Nicholson said.
‘‘I cut through the thumb and cut a bit of the bone off, and they had to sew it up and take the bit of bone out.’’
Although advised not to play at the weekend, Nicholson said there was never any doubt in his mind about what he was going to do. ‘‘I was always going to play,’’ he says.
Nicholson wore a protective guard on his finger during the game which made ball handling difficult and played through the pain to take a starring role for his team.
Remarkably, Nicholson took to the field with little more than some over-the-counter pain relief.
One of the stitches popped out during the game, but Nicholson kicked four crucial goals to be judged best afield in the 40 point win.
‘‘The actual pain was pretty bad at the start, but near the end I’d blocked it out a bit,’’ Nicholson says. ‘‘I had an all right game I suppose, but there’s a few players it [best afield] could’ve gone to, I was pretty lucky.’’
De La Salle secretary Simon Humphrey was glowing in his praise. ‘‘Toughness and bravery in football is measured in different ways. This effort is right up there,’’ Humphrey stated on the club’s website.
This year is Nicholson’s last in the under 19s, and he’s looking forward to the move to seniors next year.