Metro forwards feast in big win over SA

THERE might be a foot between them in stature, but both Jordan Croft and Nick Watson had a hand in putting away South Australia by 68 points to open Vic Metro’s AFL Under 18 Championships campaign. In a one-sided contest at Thebarton Oval, the visitors overcame some early South Australian resistance to run away victors, 15.16 (106) to 5.8 (38).

Watson and Croft kicked seven goals between them as South Australia kicked five for the game. Coming off a loss to the Allies the week before, South Australia got up and about early weathering the first few inside 50s to get it down the other end and capitalise via Loch Rawlinson. The Sturt talent would kick both of his side’s opening quarter goals on his Double Blues home deck.

Unfortunately, opportunities would be far and few between for South Australia, as Will Lorenz snapped a clever one around his body and with a late free kick to Watson lunging forward in a contest, Metro took a 14-point lead into quarter time.

After missing several chances inside 50 in the first term, Croft came to the party, converting two goals and causing headache for the opposition with his size. But it was not just Croft who was hurting the South Australians, with 170cm Watson applying the pressure with two incredible long-rang set shot goals.

Though the likes of Luca Slade and Sid Draper were trying hard in midfield for the South Australians, the class of Vic Metro, and the ease of ball movement from one end to the other was the difference. Bottom-agers Josh Smillie, Levi Ashcroft and Jagga Smith were starting to get their hands on the ball to complement the hard running of Kynan Brown.

By the main break, the lead was out to a 33-point lead with Patrick Weckert’s set shot the only major of the term for the Croweaters after a nice pass inside 50 from Ashton Moir.

The Glenelg talent started the second half in defence, but while he won a few early touches, it was a similar quarter to the second term as Vic Metro again booted five goals and put the margin out to 68 points.

Inaccuracy was keeping the margin lower than it could have been, but Croft still joined Watson on three goals. South Australia started having injury concerns to compound its issues with skipper Will Patton going into the rooms to check on a shoulder injury, and Logan Evans landing awkwardly and had to be checked. Both returned to the play within the quarter.

To South Australia’s credit, it showed some fight in the final term, particularly early with a goal to Slade. Despite that major and a number of other set shots that either just missed or fell short, Vic Metro capitalised through Watson and then Brayden LaPlanche with his second pushed it out to beyond 70 points.

Despite the game done and dusted, Jed Dignan kicked a late consolation goal with a clever snap around his body. The siren sounded with Vic Metro victorious by 68 points, 15.16 (106) to 5.8 (38).

Watson and Croft did all the damage on the scoresheet, but the bottom-age contingent of Smillie, Smith and Ashcroft were ultra-impressive for the visitors in the win. Rawlinson’s two first quarter majors made him the only multiple goalkicker for the Croweaters, with Slade, Draper and Kane McAuliffe trying hard all game.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 2.1 | 3.3 | 3.4 | 5.8 (38)
VIC METRO 3.3 | 8.7 | 13.12 | 15.16 (106)


South Australia: L. Rawlinson 2, P. Weckert, L. Slade, J. Dignan.
Vic Metro: N. Watson 4, J. Croft 3, H. Johnston 2, B. Laplanche 2, W. Lorenz, J. Dattoli, M. Taha, L. Ashcroft

South Australia: L. Slade, S. Draper, K. McAulliffe, A. Moir
Vic Metro: N. Watson, J. Croft, J. Smillie, J. Smith, L. Ashcroft

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