Allies hold firm to break Black Duck hearts

THE ALLIES have got on the board at the third time of asking in this year’s Under 18 National Championships, holding firm to defeat Western Australia by an even two goals at Thebarton Oval. Meeting on neutral ground, the Allies looked fresher on the back of significant travel for both sides, breaking to an early lead and fighting to maintain it in the second half.

Opening quarter inaccuracy ultimately hurt the Black Ducks, who move to 0-2, having conceded four goals while only managing as many behinds. They were just under five majors behind at the main break and while they snuck ahead early in term four, saw a couple of decisive scoring calls go against them in the 11.7 (73) to 9.7 (61) defeat.

After the Allies shot out of the blocks, it was only a matter of time before the Black Ducks got going, but those four behinds was all they had to show for a strong amount of possession and good chances inside 50. At the other end, Liam Hude slotted the Allies’ fourth to make for a complete opposite scoreline at quarter time.

It looked like being a case of more of the same to start term two, as the Allies extended their lead with two more unanswered goals within 10 minutes. It took until 16 minutes of the second quarter for WA to nab its first major, through the agency of Corey Tregenza.

Having broken the dam wall, the Black Ducks began to turn the momentum and crafted much better control of transition, having looked sloppy previously. The Allies continued to be expansive and quick by hand, while holding up well enough down back.

A Darcy Jones set shot conversion meant WA was back in the hunt as half time approached, but Jed Walter popped up late to snap his second major of the day and extend the Allies’ lead back out to 28 points with the last kick of the half.

With its prime movers kept relatively quiet, Western Australia needed a spark and Tregenza was the man to provide it. The over-age Peel Thunder forward booted back-to-back goals to cut the margin to 15 points within 10 minutes, putting his side well within striking distance.

It was a scrappy contest at times and while the Black Ducks had turned the tide, they lacked a touch of polish in the final third. Walter made them pay for it momentarily with a steadying goal for the Allies, but WA’s pressure proved too much in the end.

After Jack Cleaver’s clutch snap, Jed Hagan popped up with a cool set shot to make it a 10-point game at three-quarter time. The likes of Jedd Busslinger and Jones were monumental in the fightback, as the Allies began to run out of puff.

It seemed that would again be a factor, as Western Australia surged ahead with two goals in within the first seven minutes of term four. Jaspa Fletcher sent a snap through the big sticks, but it was called touched off the boot and scores were level with 10 minutes on the clock.

Most of the play was in the Allies’ half, but a lack of ground level pressure inside attacking 50 saw WA swing it out each time. A crucial moment up the other end saw Tregenza scupper a chance for his fourth on the goalline, but Josh Cooper had no such issues for the Allies. It was a true momentum-swinger, with Shadeau Brain’s consecutive majors putting his side clear. Tregenza did end up with a fourth as consolation, after the final siren.

ALLIES 4.0 | 7.3 | 8.4 | 11.7 (73)
W. AUSTRALIA 0.4 | 2.5 | 6.6 | 9.7 (61)


ALL: J. Walter 3, B. Leary 2, S. Brain 2, F. Hart, J. Rogers, L. Hude, J. Cooper
WA: C. Tregenza 4, J. Hagan 2, D. Jones, J. Cleaver, M. Barron


ALL: J. Fletcher, J. Gillbee, T. McCallum, J. Walter, A. Anderson, S. Brain
WA: R. Ginbey, J. Busslinger, D. Jones, K. Tholstrup, L. Michael, S. Gilbey

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