South Australia storms to comfortable win in champs opener

SOUTH Australia has opened its 2022 Under 18 National Championships campaign in style, kicking away from a plucky Allies side to win by 37 points on Sunday afternoon. The home side booted seven goals to the visitors’ two after half time at Thebarton Oval, taking full toll with the wind advantage in term three to pile on five unanswered majors.

Despite having the ascendancy in disposals (317-293), marks (96-70), and hitouts (40-23), the Allies struggled to move the ball out of their back half amid the windy conditions, with their brave first half efforts not quite replicated in the second.

Sweetening the taste of South Australia’s 14.9 (93) to 8.8 (56) victory, it was done without four key players; vice-captains Kobe Ryan and Nick Sadler, primary ruck Harry Barnett, and bottom-aged key defender Will Patton, who all missed due to Covid protocols.

With the breeze at their backs, the Croweaters kicked away early with the first three goals of the game, and carried a 19-point lead into quarter time after Phoenix Foster steadied the ship late in term one. The Allies were strong in midfield at that stage, but lacked polish with their skills around the ground.

Almost in a complete reversal of the opening stanza, the visitors hit back strongly with a trio of long-range goals to kick off term two. With just eight minutes down, the margin was back within a goal. That was until Jaiden Magor became the first multiple goalkicker for the day, helping South Australia restore its previous buffer.

The Allies would hit back again through Harry Rowston and Seth Campbell, who each converted their second majors to make it a one-point ball game, but a slick snap from Mattaes Phillipou extended the hosts’ ascendancy to eight points as the half time siren blared.

It only took five minutes for South Australia to skip away once again in term three, with Phillipou and key forward Harry Lemmey proving the cream which rose to the top. Their scores sparked SA’s definitive five-goal quarter, which just about wrapped the result up as the Allies fell 39 points adrift at the final break.

Jed Walter, who tried his heart out all day for the Allies, broke the Croweaters’ string of six unanswered goals to start the fourth quarter, though the two sides shared a pair of majors apiece to see out a game which quickly lost its intensity. A 50-metre penalty allowed Kelsey Rysptra to put the cherry on top of his side’s win, with the final kick of the day.

Four of South Australia’s nine goalkickers snared multiples, fronted by North Adelaide key forward Isaac Keeler. He booted a game-high three goals, which was matched by Rowston for the Allies. Walter and Campbell booted two in a losing effort, as a couple of their side’s better players.

Winning skipper Adam D’Aloia shouldered plenty of responsibility in midfield, while Eagles teammate Phillipou did his rising draft stocks no hard with a couple of goals, alongside Magor and Archie Lovelock. Stand-in ruck, Foster also played an important hand for the Croweaters, as Jakob Ryan and Alex Holt got going off half-back.

On a tough day in the Allies’ defence, the likes of Christian Webster, Jason Gillbee and Lachlan Cowan found plenty of the ball, while Colby McKercher got busy in the forward half and Angus Anderson proved reliable with his contested work on-ball.

Both sides will again be in action next week as the Under 18 carnival rolls on. South Australia backs up its win with a tough test against Vic Country in the same time slot on Sunday, after the Allies lock horns with Vic Metro in Blacktown on Saturday.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 4.3 | 7.5 | 12.8 | 14.9 (93)
ALLIES 1.2 | 6.3 | 6.5 | 8.8 (56)


South Australia: I. Keeler 3, J. Magor 2, M. Phillipou 2, A. Lovelock 2, P. Foster, J. Delean, H. Lemmey, J. Walker, K. Rypstra
Allies: H. Rowston 3, J. Walter 2, S. Campbell 2, J. Fletcher


South Australia: M. Phillipou, I. Keeler, A. Lovelock, A. Holt, J. Ryan, K. Rypstra
Allies: H. Rowston, C. McKercher, A. Anderson, J. Walter, C. Webster, S. Campbell

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