Allies on the board after downing plucky Black Ducks

FOUR unanswered final quarter goals have seen the Allies post the first win of their Under 18 National Championships title defence today, defeating Western Australia by 20 points at Blacktown International Sportspark.

Playing with a point to prove, the plucky Black Ducks fought hard and led by five points heading into the final break, but came undone against the breeze as the Allies kicked away to victory. In a tightly contested match, the margin exceeded no more than 11 points either way until the final five minutes.

Western Australia made the better start, booting the opening two goals at the scoring end before being reigned back to level pegging at quarter time. The Allies carried their momentum into term two and opened up a buffer, only to have it trimmed to under a goal just before the main break.

The visitors hit the lead immediately after half time, shooting out of the blocks with back-to-back majors. After parity was restored by Jobe Shanahan, both sides went on to score by ones until Will Hayes dobbed a six-pointer late in term three to put WA in front.

With a grandstand finish set up, Leonardo Lombard produced a stellar moment of class with his running goal to tie the scores for a fourth time. Keeping WA goalless to run out the match, the Allies finished emphatically to mark a strong turnaround from last week’s loss to South Australia.

Sam Marshall gets a kick away | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Lombard was clearly the best player afield, racking up 32 disposals, 10 inside 50s and two crucial goals for the victors. Fellow Queenslanders Samuel Marshall (28 disposals, six clearances) and Daniel Annable (21 disposals, one goal) were also prolific in midfield, along with defender Zeke Uwland (29 disposals).

The Allies had a number of players stand up in the second half, including Giants Academy skipper Josaia Delana, who thrived with a move on-ball. Tall defenders Joel Cochran and Cooper Bell were important, while Shanahan, skipper Joshua Murphy, and Lenny Douglas ran out the game strongly up forward.

Stand-in West Australian skipper Luke Urquhart did the job as his side’s best and most prolific player. He managed 19 disposals alongside bottom-age wingman Charlie Burke, while midfielder Blake Kelly (16 disposals) got stuck in all day.

Key defensive duo Cody Curtin and Clancy Dennis were resolute in the air and at ground level, as small forward Malakai Champion looked dangerous en route to 2.2 from 10 touches and five marks. Usual captain Bo Allan will return in WA’s next match, against South Australia in Adelaide on June 16.

The Allies will take the field for their third game against Vic Metro next Sunday at IKON Park, as part of a double-head which also sees Vic Country and South Australia lock horns. Both Victorian sides are yet to have turned out in this year’s carnival.

ALLIES 2.1 | 5.3 | 6.7 | 10.10 (70)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.1 | 4.4 | 7.6 | 7.8 (50)

Allies: L. Lombard 2, J. Shanahan 2, J. Harrison, Z. Uwland, O. Depaoli-Kubank, S. Marshall, D. Annable, J. Harrison
WA: M. Champion 2, B. Kelly, L. Urquhart, C. Angove, K. Gerreyn, W. Hayes

Allies: L. Lombard, Z. Uwland, S. Marshall, D. Annable, J. Delana, C. Bell
WA: L. Urquhart, B. Kelly, A. van der Struyf, M. Champion, C. Dennis, C. Curtin

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