The year that was 2015
VIC Country might have won the battle, but Vic Metro teams won the war.
In a year where the top four teams comprised of those from regional Victoria, the penultimate match would still be decided between two metropolitan teams.
The Oakleigh Chargers emerged victorious over the Eastern Ranges by 12 points in an entertaining contest.
It was their third flag in four years, with the Ranges taking the other one.
Kade Answerth was judged best on ground in the win, but unfortunately the overager missed out on landing at an AFL club again.
Despite finishing top two, the North Ballarat Rebels and Dandenong Stingrays fell at the final hurdle and suffered the same fate as their country allies Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers the week before.
Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons rounded out the top eight in 2015, but the dominance of the top six teams last year showed in the first round of the finals with victories to the Chargers and Ranges.
As for the remaining four teams, Sandringham Dragons escaped dropping below the NSW/ACT Rams, by finishing ninth, however the Northern Knights were not as fortunate, winning one less game than the Rams despite playing 10 more matches.
The Western Jets and Bendigo Pioneers had years to forget, both falling below the aforementioned teams as well as Tasmania and Queensland despite the division two sides playing four and five games respectively.
The Jets and Pioneers did however finish above Northern Territory, but the Thunder only played two matches for one win.
As for the national draft, four of the top five draft picks hailed from Vic Country, capping off a fantastic year.
Murray Bushrangers produced two top five picks with key forward Josh Schache heading north to the Lions, while draft bolter Clayton Oliver went from an omission in the Vic Country side to a potential round one starter for Melbourne.
Dandenong’s Jacob Weitering headed to Carlton as the number one pick in the draft, while Geelong’s Darcy Parish donned the red and black.
NSW-ACT’s Callum Mills found his way to the Swans after Sydney matched the highest bid on record for a player.
Across the borders, South Australia did not live up to its pre-championships hype, finishing equal with Vic Metro and Western Australia, winning two matches (one against each).
Western Australia and Vic Metro recorded their two wins with one against each other and one each against South Australia.
Vic Country had no problems whatsoever, winning all six matches, with a few close ones.
Despite the amount of talk over a number of Giants and Swans academy members, NSW-ACT Rams managed just one win at the Under 18s Championships due to injuries, defeating the winless Northern Territory.
Overall, Queensland took out the honours with three wins from its three matches, while Tasmania finished a respectable second with two wins and one loss.
South Australia had just one player drafted in the top 10 (Aaron Francis), while Jacob Hopper joined Mills as two draftees from NSW/ACT Rams.
Callum Ah Chee was the only West Australian to find a home in the first 10 picks of the national draft, while Eastern’s Sam Weideman and Gippsland’s Harry McKay rounded out the top 10.