Under 18 Championships Preview: Vic Metro

VIC METRO enters the National Under 18 Championships as the short priced favourite to take out the title – but don’t be putting your house on it, with one unexpected result already taking place in the opening game of the carnival. After winning against the odds in 2016 – Metro will be fighting hard to go back-to-back but will need to be on their game to avoid a slip up in their opening fixture.

A deep midfield will allow them to float multiple players through the centre to find the best combination, with Eastern Ranges pair Adam Cerra and Joel Garner two such players who will likely have time in the guts, while Jack Petruccelle’s elite speed will provide a point of difference as he bursts from the packs getting the ball forward.

Medium forwards Cameron Rayner and Jaidyn Stephenson are elite marks overhead and as a bonus they can push into the midfield and win their own ball. Sandringham Dragons captain Hayden McLean will be one of the key targets infront of goal, while Will Sutherland and the tall King twins (Max and Ben) will have their opportunities through the latter stages of the carnival.

Noah Balta has seamlessly transitioned into a key defender and is looking the goods. His role will likely see him take the most dangerous opposition forward, where he can use his outstanding agility and big leap to his advantage.

Overall Metro will likely boast more of the top 20 than any other teams at this point in time – but as we have seen time and time again, the next four weeks are the make and break for players pushing their case in front of club recruiters.

Players to watch:

Jack Higgins – The midfielder/small forward averaged 20 disposals in his appearances for Vic Metro in last year’s carnival. Higgins is a very good goal sneak and is agile enough to get around opposition defenders. As a prolific ball winner, expect him to be one of Metro’s best performers in the championships.

Joel Garner – The captain of the Vic Metro team has had a solid start to the year at school and TAC Cup level. Has a long left foot and can play at all ends of the ground. Will mostly play as an outside midfielder, but his hands in close mean that he can be as damaging in the contest.

Cameron Rayner – The exciting midfielder can push forward and take excellent marks overhead. He has the ability to make things happen in a quick burst thanks to his power, and his X-Factor will appeal to clubs as a player who could content for the No.1 pick.

Jaidyn Stephenson – One of the better marks in the draft pool for a player sub 190cm. Stephenson will play as a target up forward and has a good burst of speed that adds another dimension to the marking forward. Played in Vic Metro’s game against Vic Country last year and looks set for a big carnival after showing midfield craft for the Eastern Ranges.

Will Sutherland – Sutherland won’t be running out for Vic Metro this weekend against Western Australia, but will likely line up when Metro play their games in Victoria. Sutherland is a good mark overhead and has pushed into the midfield for Scotch College using his great agility for a tall, attending multiple centre bounces. Clubs believe he could be worth an early selection should the talented cricketer choose the football pathway.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Ben King – One of the top talls alongside brother Max for the 2018 draft. Ben is a natural key defender with an athletic leap, who reads the play superbly in defence. He will miss the opening game of the championships, but expect him to make an impact at some point in the Under 18 Championships.

Max King – One of the top talls alongside brother Ben for the 2018 draft and is a contender for the number one pick in 2018. The key forward has an athletic leap and can clunk some super marks inside 50. He will play school footy & miss Metro’s first game against WA this weekend, but expect him impact up forward when given the chance.

Curtis Taylor – One of the 2018 eligible draftees who were stiff to miss out on AFL Academy recognition after putting on some superb displays at school football for PEGS last year. Has recently returned for PEGS and Calder Cannons after an injury, and is currently little known by some – but is a player I’d expect to leave a lasting impression should he play in the Under 18 Championships.

FIXTURES

Round 1: BYE
Round 2: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 18th 11.00am Domain Stadium
Round 3: v VIC COUNTRY – June 24th 2.30pm Punt Road Oval
Round 4: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 30th 4.40pm Etihad Stadium (FOX FOOTY)
Round 5: v ALLIES – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round Two team:**

B: Ethan Penrith, Harrison Nolan, Mitchell Podhajski
HB: Ryley Stoddart, Noah Balta, Nicholas Coffield
C: Joel Garner, Adam Cerra, Lachlan Fogarty
HF: Patrick Naish, Hayden McLean, Cameron Rayner
F: Jack Higgins, Tristan Xerri, Jaidyn Stephenson

FOLL: Sam Hayes, Jack Petruccelle, Thomas North
INT: Toby Wooller, Trent Mynott, Curtis Taylor, Dylan Moore, Angus Styles

** – The Round two teams will be publicly announced tomorrow afternoon.

Predictions:

Finishing prediction: 1st – Metro have all the class around the ground and are short favourites to go through the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships undefeated. However – as we’ve already seen in the opening weekend upsets do happen and Western Australia should be able to push them at least for the first half this weekend. Anything is possible in the Under 18 Championships results wise, but it is Vic Metro’s title to lose.

MVP prediction: Jack Higgins – Higgins was a good contributor in the 2016 Under 18 Championships as a bottom ager and will likely play a key role through the midfield & as a small forward inside 50. Expect him to push forward and hit the scoreboard using his smarts around goal. Should be a key player in Vic Metro’s attempt of winning back-to-back titles.

2017 VIC METRO SQUAD

No. Name
DOB
HT(cm)
WT (kg)
Club
1 Dylan Moore 4/08/1999 175 66 Eastern Ranges/Rowville/Caulfield Grammar
2 Jack Higgins 19/03/1999 178 76 Oakleigh Chargers/ East Malvern
3 Ethan Penrith 24/10/1999 179 76 Northern Knights/West Preston
4 Lachlan Fogarty 1/04/1999 179 75 Western Jets/Spotswood/St Kevins
5 Patrick Naish 15/01/1999 180 69 Northern Knights/ Ivanhoe Grammar
6 Dylan Landt 18/11/1999 180 74 Calder Cannons/Sunbury
7 Rhylee West 12/07/2000 180 80 Calder Cannons/Strathmore/St Kevins
8 Joel Garner 21/05/1999 183 81 EasternRanges/Wandin/ Scotch College
9 Andrew Brayshaw 8/11/1999 183 80 Sandringham Dragons/Hailebury College
10 Max Dreher 12/04/1999 183 75 Northern Knights/Ivanhoe Grammar
11 Ryley Stoddart 15/10/1999 183 73 Eastern Ranges/Blackburn/Yarra Valley
12 Callum Searle 12/10/1998 185 81 Oakleigh Chargers/Waverley Blues
13 Trent Mynott 4/10/1999 185 73 Eastern Ranges/Caulfield Grammar
14 Jack Petruccelle 12/04/1999 184 73 Northern Knights/Epping
15 Angus Styles 3/05/1999 185 76 Sandringham Dragons/Caulfield Grammar
16 Thomas North 14/02/1999 186 87 Eastern Ranges/Heathmont FC
17 Adam Cerra 7/10/1999 186 85 Eastern Ranges/Wesley Grammar
18 Curtis Taylor 6/04/2000 186 74 Calder Cannons/Keilor FC/ PEGS
19 Cameron Rayner 21/10/1999 187 88 Western Jets/Essendon Doutta Stars/ PEGS
20 Jack Bytel 14/03/2000 188 79 Calder Cannons/Aberfeldie FC
21 Buku Khamis 24/03/2000 188 81 Western Jets/St Albans
22 Riley Jones 5/04/1999 191 79 Oakleigh Chargers/Beverley Hills FC
23 Jaidyn Stephenson 15/01/1999 189 76 Eastern Ranges/Ferntree Gully FC
24 Charlie Constable 18/05/1999 190 83 Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College
25 Nicholas Coffield 23/10/1999 190 83 Northern Knights/Eltham FC
26 Mitchell Podhajski 4/01/1999 190 82 Calder Cannons/Aberfeldie FC
27 Toby Wooller 16/03/1999 193 90 Oakleigh Chargers/Old Scotch
28 Noah Balta 23/10/1999 194 92 Calder Cannons/Essendon/Doutta Stars/ St Bernards
29 Harrison Nolan 11/06/1999 195 93 Eastern Ranges/Mt Evelyn FC
30 Hayden McLean 20/01/1999 197 93 Sandringham Dragons/Beaumaris/St Bedes
31 Will Sutherland 27/10/1999 195 90 Scotch College
32 Joel Grace 23/06/1999 199 90 Northern Knighs/Sth Morang
33 Ben King 7/07/2000 201 79 Sandringham Dragons/ Haileybury College
34 Max King 7/07/2000 201 82 Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College
35 Matthew Harman 2/06/1998 200 87 Northern Knights/Marcellin O.C.
36 Tristan Xerri 15/03/1999 201 93 Western Jets/ Caroline Springs FC
37 Sam Hayes 9/06/1999 203 93 Eastern Ranges/Ferntree Gully FC
38 Alex Federico** 26/09/1999 184 77 Northern Knights/Marcellin College
39 Marcus Lentini** 5/06/1999 183 74 Northern Knights

** – Emergencies

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