Vic Metro wrapped up the 2017 U18 Championships title with a game to spare, defeating an extremely disappointing South Australian outfit by 67 points. A seven goal to one first term set the tone, as the Croweaters struggled to get the ball inside its attacking arc. Teams coached by Brenton Phillips generally are competitive from the first bounce to the final siren, but unfortunately, the South Australians had too few contributors. Metro went into the competition as strong title favourites and are a worthy winner.
Here are the most notable players from the day:
JAIDYN STEPHENSON | VIC METRO | MID/FWD | 15/01/1999 | 189CM | 76KG
Having entered the season as one of the highest rated prospects in the land, Stephenson hadn’t quite met those lofty expectations on the field for either Eastern or Vic Metro throughout 2017. But he gave everyone a stern reminder of the attributes he possesses at Etihad on Friday evening, kicking five goals and gathering 28 disposals on his way to a best on ground performance. He destroyed South Australia on the outside with his electrifying pace and willingness to take the game. His confidence appeared to spike with every disposal he won and it is a performance like this that will help set him nicely for big finish to season at the Ranges.
NICK COFFIELD | VIC METRO | DEF/MID | 23/10/1999| 190CM | 83KG
Nick Coffield just continues to look more and more comfortable with every game he plays at this higher level. He started the game superbly by running off half back and hitting Will Sutherland with precision inside 50 in the opening minutes. He continued to hit targets and make outstanding decisions for the rest of the evening, but his defensive output was just as impressive. He manned Darcy Fogarty for periods and restricted him to near irrelevance. The Northern Knights skipper is storming toward top 10 contention.
CHARLIE CONSTABLE | VIC METRO | MID | 18/05/1999 | 190CM | 83KG
If you weren’t on Charlie Constable after last week’s effort, you certainly would have been after another quality performance on the big stage. He just knows how to win the ball in tight, collecting 23 disposals of which 10 were contested. He is so clean below his knees and finds a way to extract the ball to outside runners by hand from difficult situations. He is defensively minded too and laid seven tackles, but also provides blocks to release his teammates into space. Constable is a modern sized midfielder who is gathering many admirers.
CAMERON RAYNER | VIC METRO | FWD/MID | 21/10/1999 | 187CM | 88KG
It was another powerful performance from Rayner, who spent most of his time forward to finish with a five goal haul. He was just too strong and dominant for the South Australians inside 50 and beyond, taking three contested marks which included a courageous effort running back with the flight of the ball. He also created impressive pressure inside 50, causing South Australia to turn the ball over on multiple occasions. He still has work to do on his endurance, but is a bona fide No.1 contender.
JACK HIGGINS | VIC METRO | MID/FWD | 19/03/1999 | 178CM | 76KG
Higgins just continues to rack up enormous amounts of possessions and most importantly, his touches have been influential. He gathered another 29 disposals on Friday to stay well and truly in contention for the Larke Medal. 18 of his disposals were contested and while he didn’t hit the scoreboard like usual, his selflessness and attitude deserved applause. A smart footballer who clubs will be tempted by using a single digit pick on.
ANDREW BRAYSHAW | VIC METRO | MID | 08/11/1999 | 183CM | 80KG
The younger brother of Angus and Hamish has had a prolific 2017 season to date and showed recruiters that he was capable of performing against higher standard opposition on Friday night. He only played 57% of game time, but won a lot of the ball in a short period of time. His 20 possessions were mostly on the outside, but he spread with intent and got involved in scoring chains. He isn’t as big as his siblings, but is more athletic and a better user of the ball.
WILL SUTHERLAND | VIC METRO | FWD | 27/10/1999 | 195CM | 90KG
For the second time in six days Will Sutherland was the talk of the town and it is fair to say that he has dealt with the expectation superbly. He started on fire with two goals in the first quarter, which included running down the highly touted Darcy Fogarty and be rewarded with a free kick. He didn’t trouble the goal scorer’s category after that, but still produced some impressive moments with his attack on the ball and proved he is capable of running through the midfield. There is absolutely no doubt that he has the talent and is a near certain first round prospect if he decides to enter the draft.
HARRISON PETTY | SOUTH AUSTRALIA | DEF | 12/11/1999 | 194CM | 81KG
The Norwood tall has been a shining light for South Australia throughout its entire campaign and was again impressive, despite the overall poor team performance. He makes brilliant decisions in the air and isn’t afraid to go for his marks, making him an excellent interceptor. Three of his seven marks were contested, but he also won the ball at ground level and used it very well. 18 disposals is an outstanding return for a player his size. He also went forward to show some flexibility and present with purpose. His reputation has lifted dramatically.
IZAK RANKINE | SOUTH AUSTRALIA | MID/FWD | 23/04/2000 | 178CM | 74KG
There is absolutely no doubt that the West Adelaide and Henley High prospect is a top ten talent, clubs will just need to hold their excitement and wait for next year’s draft. Rankine possesses serious tricks, especially in traffic where his side step and agility make opposition players look silly at times. He is a brilliant user of the Sherrin and generally finishes off his work with a touch of class. There is no better example than his check side goal in the second quarter, which was the highlight of 22 very enjoyable possessions.
NATHAN KREUGER | SOUTH AUSTRALIA | FWD | 25/06/1999 | 196CM | 86KG
Kreuger entered the season highly touted by many respected South Australian scouts, but had dropped off the radar a little as the season has grown older. Although an eye catching outing at Etihad has many excited once again. He proved to possess some genuine x-factor by flying for his marks and produced some memorable efforts at ground level. His left foot snap in the second quarter was brilliant and three contested marks athletic. He was a rare target for his midfield and refused to drop his head despite the lopsided scoreboard.
ALEX MARTINI | SOUTH AUSTRALIA | MID/DEF | 30/03/1999 | 181CM | 78KG
Alex Martini is just one of those players you want on your team. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, you know he is going to fight and compete until the final siren. He fought hard in a midfield that was getting a touch up, winning 20 disposals, 13 contested possessions and five clearances. He also went behind the ball in the second half and defended admirably. Despite the game being done and won, he selflessly went back with the flight of the ball to take a courageous mark in the final term. He has played plenty of senior football for Glenelg this year and wouldn’t be the worst selection later in the draft.
Other Notable Performances:
Dylan Moore (VM), Trent Mynott (VM), Adam Cerra (VM), Riley Stoddart (VM), Angus Styles (VM), Jackson Edwards (SA), Isaac Hewson (SA), Stefan Giro (SA), Brad McCarthy (SA), Mitch Crowden (SA).