Metro comes up clutch to claim Vic bragging rights

VIC METRO came up clutch at the death, earning the 2022 Under 18 National Championship title with a dramatic seven-point win over Vic Country. Though the sides were met with ideal conditions under the Marvel Stadium roof, it was not always pretty, but a nine-goal final quarter set the contest alight.

With plenty of top-end AFL Draft prospects on show in the carnival’s deciding fixture, it was no surprise to see Metro co-captain Will Ashcroft produce another outstanding performance and take out this year’s Larke Medal before lifting Metro’s prize.

The first half was a case of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’. It took 17 minutes for the first goal though, before they came in bunches. Max Gruzewski clunked a screamer and nabbed two majors in as many minutes, only for Aaron Cadman and Noah Long to hit back for Country.

In a similar vein, a 50-metre penalty for either side looked like being all the scoring in term two, until Bailey Humphrey finally put one of his several shots through the big sticks to extend Country’s half time advantage to nine points.

The sense of deja vu was only compounded in term three, with much of the scoring again done late. Harry Sheezel drew Metro back within a kick in the first couple of minutes, but it took another 15 until Matthew Jefferson took an advantage in the goalsquare to sneak his side ahead. With a goal apiece to draw the quarter to the close, the stage was set with Metro one goal clear at the last break.

With the National Championship up for grabs, both sides went blow for blow in an enthralling final term. Two goalsquare specials from Jovan Petric and Harley Reid headlined the goal for goal action, as the heat of the contest cranked up a notch.

Metro needed something special to shake off their adversaries, and Sheezel’s second goal looked like being it. Although, Reid continued his audition for the role of spoiler at the other end, giving Lewis Hayes nightmares one-out in the square to keep his side in it.

Cadman’s set shot meant Country momentarily snatched the lead, only for Jefferson to pop up with a snap to rectify it, before Cooper Harvey sealed the game and championship with a minute left to play.

Larke Medallist Will Ashcroft | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

VIC METRO 3.3 | 4.4 | 7.8 | 12.8 (80)
VIC COUNTRY 2.4 | 5.7 | 6.8 | 10.13 (73)


Metro: M. Gruzewski 2, C. Clarke 2, H. Sheezel 2, M. Jefferson 2, K. Windsor, J. Petric, C. Harvey, N. Watson
Country: A. Cadman 3, H. Reid 2, N. Long, J. Binns, B. Humphrey, J. Konstanty, C. Burgiel


Metro: W. Ashcroft, E. Tsatas, M. Jefferson, J. Weddle, L. Hayes, A. Davey Jr
Country: O. Hollands, H. Reid, J. Clark, A. Cadman, J. Konstanty, O. Murdoch

Larke Medal: Will Ashcroft (Vic Metro)

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