Metro kicks away to claim win over accurate Allies
VIC METRO has opened its 2022 Under 18 National Championship campaign with a 16-point win over the Allies at Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday afternoon. The travelling side was jumped at the gun, but flexed its muscle in a brutal seven-goal third term to set up the 16.10 (106) to 14.6 (90) victory.
While top pick contender, and Brisbane Lions father-son candidate Will Ashcroft proved best afield throughout the contest, Harry Sheezel‘s three goals during the premiership quarter proved key to Metro’s decisive breakaway. He finished with four majors overall.
Having been sucked into a scrap early in the game, the visitors controlled the ball much more fluently after half time. They overturned a disposal deficit at the main break to finish ahead in that department (305-282), with 102 marks to the Allies’ 79, who looked to move the ball more by hand.
A fast-starting Allies side caught the travelling Metro members cold, booting four unanswered majors to start the match. Three of them came within seven minutes, with Gold Coast Suns Academy forward Jed Walter snaring two.
Metro began to turn the tide but were rushed in their attempts to convert on goal, before Alwyn Davey Jr got out the back of a pack and dribbled the Victorians’ first major after 16 minutes, running into the open square.
A moment of Nick Watson magic made it two within five minutes for the visitors, who had successfully arrested momentum and were right back in the contest. The crafty bottom-ager sharked an Allies handball inside forward 50, before steadying and snapping home. He let Brinn Little know about it too.
At the first break, the two sides combined for a total of 12 tackles, in a term where their aggressive intent in possession was not quite matched by their skills. Making the better of their chances, the Allies remained in front by eight points.
It looked as if the script would be flipped, with interest, at times during the second term, as Metro stormed ahead on the back of three consecutive goals. They had carried momentum from late in the first quarter, booting four majors within 15 minutes before Marlin Corbett steadied things for the Allies.
Having previously proven deadeye, the hosts’ first minor score came after 20 minutes, as Ethan Read put wide a chance to level the scores, and Jovan Petric made him pay up the other end. Crucially, Angus Anderson got the margin back to within a goal before the major break. Four points was Metro’s mere advantage.
Just when it seemed as if the Allies would not let Metro kick away, the Victorians put on a brutal display of scoring power in the latter stages of term three. Either side snared two goals early on, before Metro slammed through five unanswered to open up a game-defining buffer.
It was the Sheezel show throughout the 10-minute block of dominance, as he brought his tally up to four majors with three tidy finishes. A Ned Stevens set shot just before the three quarter time siren was a brief reprieve for the Allies, who trailed by 30 points at the final change.
Keen to make a game of it, Anderson booted another goal for the Allies early in term four, but his side could not make good of the territory they made. Six-point daggers from Blake Drury and Matthew Jefferson countered the hosts’ valiant final quarter fight, as two more majors from Walter helped keep things interesting until the dying stages.
Aforementioned Sandringham pair, Ashcroft and Sheezel, were closely followed by Dragons teammate Cameron Mackenzie, who was prolific in a Metro midfield which rotated over 10 players through it. Among them, Alwyn Davey and Blake Drury were also terrific.
Davey one of four Metro stars to finish with two goals, while at the other end of the ground defenders such as Lewis Hayes, Josh Weddle, and Callum Verrell were resolute when called upon – particularly under first half pressure.
The Allies were spearheaded by Walter, whose four goals matched Sheezel’s haul. Midfielders Anderson and Luke Lawrence and each bagged two majors while getting their hands on the ball, and Tasmanian Tom McCallum combined well with inclusion Lloyd Johnston as dynamic tall backmen.
Both sides continue their championships next week, with Metro completing a shorter turnaround to face Western Australia at Princes Park next Saturday. On the following day, the Allies will again play host to a Victorian team as Country comes to town for their clash in Aspley.
ALLIES 4.0 | 7.2 | 10.3 | 14.6 (90)
VIC METRO 2.4 | 7.7 | 14.9 | 16.10 (106)
Allies: J. Walter 4, L. Lawrence 2, A. Anderson 2, S. Campbell, S. Brain, M. Corbett, E. Grace, N. Stevens, R. Sanders
Vic Metro: H. Sheezel 4, A. Davey 2, O. Hotton 2, C. Clarke 2, M. Jefferson 2, N. Watson, J. Petric, D. Edmends, B. Drury
Allies: J. Walter, T. McCallum, L. Lawrence, R. Sanders, E. Read, A. Anderson
Vic Metro: W. Ashcroft, H. Sheezel, C. Mackenzie, B. Drury, C. Verrell, A. Davey