Surfing’s gain could be footy’s loss as Surf Coast goalsneak makes waves

When you’re roaring through the heats at Bells Beach knocking out the GOAT Kelly Slater and world No.1 Jack Robinson on your way to the final 16, it’s likely football is the furthest thing from your mind.

But Xavier Huxtable’s giant-killing run on the weekend was celebrated by those involved at the Lorne Football Club, despite the fact it might mean they are without his talents in 2023.

Huxtable showed his class at Lorne’s picturesque ground last season after he came down the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to play with some mates from Jan Juc.

Xavier Huxtable, left, after his stunning heat win at Bells Beach.Credit: World Surf League

He kicked two goals against Alvie on Easter Saturday last year but spent Easter Sunday this year defeating Robinson in the choppy swell at Bells as he looks to work his way into the World Series League.

Lorne’s Jimmy Kambouris has the job of attracting players to the beautiful seaside town. He was rapt when Huxtable lobbed on their doorstep, with his whole family a huge addition to the club.

He compared the 20-year-old – who played alongside Geelong’s Tanner Bruhn and Ollie Henry while at St Joseph’s College – to Collingwood’s Jamie Elliott and, while he would love to see him make a re-entry to the footy field, he wants him to succeed in the ocean.

“Every time he touches the ball something happens. He can play forward as a tall or a small,” Kambouris said.

“He is a guy who fits into our culture. Obviously, we’d prefer him to do what he is doing in the surfing world, but if he can ever come back and play for Lorne that would be a bonus for us.”

Huxtable will now step back into the qualifier series, hoping to claim a spot on the tour as he heads to Indonesia, potentially with a Sherrin packed among his gear. And if he can’t make it on the tour, he’ll at least have a few stories to tell his footy club about the weekend he beat Slater and Robinson at Bells.

“He is a guy who fits into our culture. Obviously, we’d prefer him to do what he is doing in the surfing world, but if he can ever come back and play for Lorne that would be a bonus for us.”


Norwood Oval will host their first AFL games for premiership points during Gather Round, but it is not the first time the skinny oval with wings as big as a bee hummingbird has been the centre of the footy world.

It was the centre of the 1976 night series that became the forerunner for the much-loved midweek night series played at Waverley Park on Tuesday nights until 1987.

In 1976, Hawthorn thrashed North Melbourne in the grand final under lights on Tuesday August 17, just two weeks before the finals began, collecting $21,000 which The Age reported was to be used to fund the players’ end of season trip. Just imagine the uproar if that happened now!

Don Scott, then the Hawks’ skipper, recalled the team was fired up to beat the Kangaroos any time they met that year after losing the 1975 grand final to North Melbourne.

His job was to stand up forward and stop David Dench’s run while Bernie Jones handled the ruck. With David Parkin coaching the night series side as part of his apprenticeship under John Kennedy, the Hawks won by 48 points with Scott recalling his teammates yelling at him to tear the blue and white streamers off one handle of the cup.

“They said if we participate [the money] would go into the footy trip. We went to Bali [and] then off to Singapore,” Scott said.

All-time greats: Hawthorn vice-captain Leigh Matthews (left), coach David Parkin (centre) and captain Don Scott (right) after winning the 1978 VFL premiership Credit: Fairfax Media

There was no respite for the Hawks, however, as Scott said they trained the next day before losing to Carlton the following week and being written off as flag contenders. A loss to Richmond to finish off the season didn’t help their mood.

But they lifted to win their three finals, taking both premierships on offer with the 1976 flag forever known as “Crimmo’s Cup”. Snap Shot reckons it would have been a some footy trip.

Carlton, Richmond and the Bulldogs were the other Victorian teams competing against Norwood, Glenelg, Sturt, Port Adelaide, West Perth, South Fremantle and Swan Districts. The grand final was the 11th game Norwood Oval hosted in the 1976 series played with white footballs.


Before you go, here are … five ways the broadcast could be improved for Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who said on Saturday, “It was raised on the broadcast? I’ve listened to the broadcast recently. They’re not great.”

Damien Hardwick could be angling for a spot in the Green Guide after his comments on the football broadcast. Credit: Getty


“It’s not like they are fighting on a daily basis”: Brad Scott on the relationship between Adrian Dodoro and Josh Mahoney on Nine’s Footy Classified.


“Essendon CEO Craig Vozzo has brokered a ceasefire that could be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize if it holds.”

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