Defending champions Vic Metro began their 2017 U18s campaign in impressive fashion with a 38-point victory over Western Australia at Domain Stadium.
The match began at a cracking pace with players flying into the contest in all directions.
WA kicked the first goal of the contest courtesy of a soccered goal from co-captain Oscar Allen.
The visitors responded in kind thanks to a goal through Cameron Rayner which was set up by key defender Noah Balta.
The highly rated Jack Higgins was very lively for Vic Metro and his good work led to another goal, this time to Hayden McLean.
Conversely, Jarrod Cameron was involved in everything positive for the home side, and he set up Allen for a shot at goal which he missed.
As good players usually do, the WA Centre Half Forward responded when the next opportunity arose, kicking his second goal for the quarter from close range.
Vic Metro went into the quarter time break with a slender four point lead but it was the second quarter where they were able to break the game open.
After WA kicked their third of the game courtesy of the influential Cameron, the visitors got their game into gear.
Curtis Thomas delivered a pinpoint pass to McLean for his second of the game, and that was quickly followed by a goal to Higgins.
Both teams went through a sloppy phase with Vic Metro wasting some clear cut opportunities, but WA were just as happy to give them more chances as they were repeatedly turning the ball over in their defensive 50.
Higgins scored his second for the quarter as the bigger bodies and cleaner skills of Vic Metro were proving to be the main difference.
Trailing by three goals, WA needed a major of their own to stem the tide and that came through some very clever play by Ian Hill to set up Christian Ameduri for a set shot from close range which he duly converted.
However, Vic Metro were not in the mood to let WA get a run on, and Dylan Landt kicked their fourth goal for the quarter.
With the likes of Balta and Harrison Nolan resolute in defence for the visitors, it was proving extremely difficult for WA to get a clean forward 50 entry.
Vic Metro went into the half time break with momentum leading by 21 points and it was up to the home team to keep in touch.
To WA’s credit they started the third term with a great sense of purpose, managing to make repeated forward 50 entries and again it was Cameron at the heart of the good work.
He set up Allen for another shot at goal which he missed and unfortunately for the home side it was to prove costly.
Exemplary teamwork by Vic Metro through the middle of the ground was able to set up Patrick Naish (son of former Richmond star Chris) who snapped truly from 35 metres.
The visitors were in full stride once again as a powerful run from defender Ethan Penrith set up Adam Cerra to push the lead beyond five goals.
The running fleet of Cerra, Naish, Rayner and Higgins were finding the vast width of Domain Stadium very much to their liking.
Another standout was Jack Petruccelle who seamlessly interchanged between half back flank and wing, and his dashes from the defensive 50 and clean delivery by foot were a real highlight of the Vic Metro performance.
WA midfielder Callan England had a very impressive five minute spell midway through the term when he used his pace to set up Ben Miller for a very important goal.
Vic Metro managed to come up with the instant answer once again, with Dylan Moore crumbling a goal.
England used his power running ability once again to generate a shot at goal, this time hitting the post when his efforts certainly deserved full points.
Just before three quarter time, there was an outstanding effort by Connor West where he won the ball in traffic on the wing and delivered a lace out pass to resting ruckman John Frampton who scored the goal on the siren.
The margin was 32 points which was around the margin that WA held over South Australia at the same stage of the game the week before.
The big question was could WA produce a storming fightback in the same fashion that the Croweaters did.
Vic Metro looked to extinguish any hope early in the quarter when more slick ball use ended with Nicolas Coffield finishing nicely from 45 metres.
Louis Miller answered for WA with a long bomb from outside 50 which eluded all in sundry and bounced through for a goal to keep the flame flickering ever so faintly.
Toby Wooller, who had his colours lowered by the again excellent Aaron Naughton, finally put the game out of reach of the home side with a goal of his own from 50 metres.
Although they were outgunned, WA showed admirable spirit by never throwing in the towel and Allen who was one of WA’s best once again kicked his third goal courtesy of a 50 metre penalty.
Quick goals by Sam Hayes and a second for Landt saw the lead tick over 40 points.
A great tackle by Ameduri set up Brandon Starcevich for his first goal which proved to be the final major of the game.
Both teams will certainly get a lot out of the contest.
For Vic Metro, they would be delighted with their first hit out of the carnival and the amount of consistent contributors they had.
An added element to their impressive victory was that it was against a team full of confidence on their home turf.
For WA, although defeated, they were far from disgraced and that level of commitment will serve them well as they move forward onto their final two games of the carnival.
VM 2.4 6.9 10.11 14.12 (96)
WA 2.0 4.0 6.3 9.4 (58)
VM: goals: Higgins 2, McLean 2, Landt 2, Naish 1, Rayner 1, Cerra 1, Moore 1, Taylor 1, Wooller 1, Hayes 1, Coffield 1.
VM best: Higgins, Petruccele, Cerra, Landt, Rayner, Naish
WA goals: Allen 3, Ameduri 1, Cameron 1, L. Miller 1, B. Miller 1, Frampton 1, Starcevich 1.
WA best: Naughton, Allen, L. Miller, Cameron, T Joyce, C England
For detailed scouting notes click here