THE NAB AFL Academy have pulled off a stunning 43-point victory over North Melbourne’s VFL team on Saturday.
In the curtain raiser to the AFL clash between Melbourne and North Melbourne, the best players from the draft eligible group defeated their VFL opponents, in only the second time ever in the years of facing off against VFL sides.
The AFL Academy’s captain Sam Walsh put a stamp on his credentials as the best midfielder in the 2018 draft pool, booting through the opening goal of the game in the first few minutes.
Walsh worked hard through the midfield, finding targets by ease off his right foot, finishing the day with 22 disposals, nine marks and four clearances.
Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Rhylee West relished the competitive game, that was full of plenty of push and shove throughout the afternoon, with the Vic Metro midfielder throwing himself in the contest.
The 180cm/81kg West found plenty of the football, with nine disposals in the opening quarter – eventually finishing the contest with 16 disposals, nine marks and five inside 50s.
Fellow Calder Cannons teammate, Jack Bytel was also among it early, winning the football in the centre of the ground.
After coming off a bag of eight goals last weekend, Max King begun the match with two marks in the first quarter – but similar to last Saturday, his three early shots on goal only resulted in a sole goal. King finished the day with 2.2 in a solid showing inside forward 50.
Twin brother Ben held down a key-post in defence, marking well overhead and spoiling when required. His consistent performance throughout the day saw him earn the MCC President’s Medal as the best player from the AFL Academy side.
Jack Lukosius, the player considered by many to be the front runner for the 2018 number one pick, started the game in defensive 50, before moving forward after half time, where he looked far more comfortable.
Lukosius finished the game with 12 disposals and two goals, while fellow South Australian Jackson Hately booted two goals and was in the best handful of players.
West Australia’s best draft prospect Ian Hill, livened up the second quarter, booting two goals as the small forward started to work into the contest. Tasmanian draft prospect Chayce Jones (15 disposals) also looked impressive in the AFL Academy’s big win.
For North Melbourne, Braydon Preuss’ physicality was on show – where he won majority of the hitouts against his smaller and less experienced under 18 opponents. Running defender Sam Wright was the Roos’ best, while Mason Wood booted two goals from his 15 disposals.
NAB AFL ACADEMY 5.3 9.6 12.10 17.12 (114)
NORTH MELBOURNE VFL 3.3 7.3 9.6 10.11 (71)
NAB AFL Academy: Taylor 2, Hately 2, Thomas 2, Hill 2, Lukosius 2, Mummery 2, M.King 2, Walsh, Blakey, Rozee
North Melbourne VFL: Wood 2, Holmes 2, Larkey 2, Narrier, Zurhaar, Xerri, Baker
NAB AFL Academy: Walsh, Hately, B.King, West, Jones
North Melbourne VFL: Wright, Preuss, Hibberd, Holmes, Wood