Vic Metro opened their AFL U18 Championships account with a solid 18-point victory over Western Australia at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
While it was a relatively even contest, Vic Metro’s class and composure proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Below were the best players for each team.
The only over-ager in this year’s WA State Academy showcased why he was such a highly rated prospect leading into this year’s Championships. Against the Big V, Foley collected 17 possessions, won six clearances, laid five tackles and kicked a great goal from the boundary. His tough inside work combined with his excellent outside game make him an outstanding prospect.
IAN HILL/PERTH/SMALL FORWARD/175cm/76kg
Arguably WA’s best prospect come draft night, Hill was simply electric in the forward half for the Sandgropers. He finished with 11 possessions, six tackles and two goals, but it was his ability to create a spark for his team that stood out. This was evident when he danced his way around three Victorian players and kicked a miraculous checkside goal.
DILLON O’REILLY/EAST FREMANTLE/KEY FORWARD/194cm/89kg
The son of former Geelong, Fremantle and Carlton player Stephen, O’Reilly was at his imposing best for WA. He accumulated 13 possessions, won nine hit-outs, grabbed five marks and kicked three goals in a powerful display. He is clearly the best key position prospect from Western Australia this year.
JEREMY SHARP/EAST FREMANTLE/WING/185cm/72kg
Arguably the best player for Western Australia, Sharp was simply phenomenal. A bit like former St Kilda and North Melbourne champion Nick Dal Santo, Sharp is classy, composed, aware and has brilliant vision for someone who is only 16-years-old. He finished with 26 possessions, two clearances and a goal in a dazzling display.
The Northam product demonstrated why he is such a highly rated prospect. He was often in the middle of packs trying to rip the ball out, but also displayed a silky outside game and his skills in the wet were exceptional. He finished with 23 possessions and four clearances in what was an excellent performance.
NOAH ANDERSON/OAKLEIGH CHARGERS/FORWARD/190cm/83kg
The son of dual Hawthorn premiership player Dean, Anderson was sizzling in the forward half for the Victorians. He finished with 20 possessions, five inside 50s and four goals in a performance that was simply electrifying. His ability to weave through traffic given his size would have clubs salivating over him.
BEN KING/SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS/KEY FORWARD/202cm/85kg
Without doubt the most valuable player on the ground, King enhanced his draft prospects even further. He produced an excellent all-round game for a key forward – he led well, and he was not afraid to crunch his opponents. He finished with 15 possessions, five marks and five goals (he could’ve had more had he kicked straighter).
JAMES ROWBOTTOM/OAKLEIGH CHARGERS/MIDFIELD/185cm/78kg
A draft bolter since the start of the year, Rowbottom continued his excellent form with a stunning display against Western Australia. He gathered 22 possessions and did a mountain of grunt work in the middle for the Victorians. His ability to win his own contested ball, but also to know when to play outside is outstanding for someone his age.
BAILEY SMITH/SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS/185cm/82kg
The exciting on-baller from Sandringham displayed why he is one of the better midfield prospects in this year’s draft. Against the Sandgropers, Smith racked up 28 possessions and also laid 10 tackles which highlights his endeavour to win the ball back for his team.
RHYLEE WEST/CALDER CANNONS/MIDFIELD/180cm/80kg
The son of former Footscray/Western Bulldogs’ great Scott, West showcased why the Dogs will be keen to snap him up as a father-son prospect come draft night. Despite being a smaller midfielder, he was not afraid to put his head over the ball.