After a scintillating contest between the U18s, it was the U16s chance to impress, as many of Saturday’s large Punt Road crowd got their first chance to look at some of the potential 2019 Draft class. After a nervous opening skirmish, which saw a number of errors and costly turnovers by both sides, the young players settled and delivered another good contest. The bigger bodies of Vic Metro arguably made the difference in the end, as they ran out the victors, winning 12.11 (83) to 9.8 (62).
Here are the players that caught the eye.
Emerson Jeka | Key Fwd | 196cm | 85kg
A well built, mobile, key forward, Jeka simply looked too big for the Country defense to handle at times. Although he didn’t hit the scoreboard as much as could have been reasonably expected, he was instrumental in Metro’s forays forward. He lead into space well to provide a target, and looks to have a great set of hands. A big one to watch over the next couple of years.
Fischer McAsey | Key Fwd | 194cm | 83kg
Another of Metro’s dominant tall timber in the forward half, McAsey could have done little more to impress the onlookers. Great set of hands, good overhead, and worked his man expertly inside 50, McAsey was the big scorer on the day with five majors. What was promising was that he didn’t rely on set shooting, kicking a great goal round his body from a contest outside the goal square. Could have had eight if not for a couple of wayward efforts, but a very impressive outing.
Noah Anderson | Mid | 188cm | 83kg
With a game that was defined by it’s nervousness and scrappy play early on, Anderson was one of the first to stand out with a level of calmness and poise. Smooth moving and composed, he was a main driver through the centre for Metro, distributing the ball with precision off the boot. He’s a really good size for a modern day midfielder, and will no doubt be one to keep an eye on as he develops. Classy.
Darcy Cassar | Utility | 186cm | 77kg
While although playing predominantly forward, Darcy Cassar performed roles all over the ground on Saturday. He consistently put himself in good positions, intercepting and breaking up Country attacks. He has a good set of hands, looked clean with his ball use, and when rebounding out of the backline looked to have impressive acceleration and closing speed. A very interesting prospect.
Liam Witts | Def | 188cm | 74kg
Witts was another to impress, specifically with a couple of very nice contested intercept marks in the backline. His reading of the flight looked superb, and he held his marks well. He’s another good sized mobile player that could develop nicely into that rebounding defender role.
Brodie Kemp | Def | 189cm | 73kg
Kemp was undoubtedly Country’s best on the day and would have been in the mix for BOG. In a defence that was outsized substantially by it’s opponent, he was huge in his work to repel the Metro entries inside 50. He read the ball better than anyone, and took a number of key intercept marks – including a couple of courageous grabs running back with the flight. He’s very mobile, with the acceleration to create separation from his man, and certainly looks to have plenty of nice attributes.
Caleb Serong | Mid/Fwd | 176cm | 69kg
While Kemp was Country’s best, Serong certainly looked their most dangerous. Busy at the contest, Serong consistently got his hands on the ball at ground level, before feeding it out to team-mates. He complemented his work in the midfield with a strong showing forward, providing a target despite his height – including taking a great hanger inside 50 going back with the flight. looks to have stacks of talent, and will no doubt be one name we’ll be talking about over the next two years.
Sam Flanders | Mid/Fwd | 182cm | 73kg
Serong’s Gippsland team-mate Flanders, performed a great role at half forward – with his forward pressure a highlight. Flanders worked hard to not allow Metro easy transition from their defensive half, and laid a number of great tackles, including a beauty inside 50 which lead to one of his two deserved goals. Looks a likely big midfielder in time.
Reece Orchard | Mid | 179cm | 64kg
Orchard spent the majority of his time on the wing for Country, and although being outsized by a lot of the bigger bodied Metro players, impressed with his composure and ball use. His decision making was good with ball in hand, and he rarely missed his targets with neat kicking. He also showed his agility late on, with a deft spin through traffic. Very keen to see how develops over the next few years.
Hayden Young | Def | 184cm | 72kg
Young was deployed as rebounding defender, and although struggling against a powerful Metro forward line, he demonstrated a number of traits that could see him become of the top players of his year. Quick, agile and a ‘one touch’ player, Young demonstrates great awareness and footy smarts, and is a great user of the footy. He looks like he would be the type to move into the midfield as he develops, and would certainly be one to keep an eye on if he does.
Other notable performances:
VM – Jack Mahoney, James Ross, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Jamieson Rossiter
VC – Keidan Rayner, James Schischka, Aaron Gundry