SOUTH Australia has kicked off its 2018 National AFL Under 18 Championships in superb style with a comprehensive 89-point victory against Western Australia. Lead by star-bound talent Jack Lukosius, the Croweaters were dominant across all areas, as South Australia’s top-end talent was formidable throughout the match.
South Australian captain Luke Valente heavily justified his selection as state captain with an extremely tidy performance. As he lead from the front in the midfield by kicking the first goal of the match from just outside the 50 metre arc. The result was almost sewn up by quarter time as South Australia kicked away to a five goals to one lead at quarter time, as Lukosius kicked two goals and Izak Rankine saw plenty of it across the midfield and half-forward.
South Australia easily brushed aside Western Australia’s best run of play from the start of the second quarter, as midfielders Jackson Hately and Tom Lewis continued to dominate in the centre square as Western Australia struggled to get many significant clearances all game.
Western Australia rallied somewhat in the third quarter as they aimed to make the incoming loss as respectable as possible on the scoreboard. Distinguished by his light blue helmet, Luke English was relentless for his side as his effort throughout the game may impress recruiters with his team high 25 disposals and seven inside 50s underlining his influence.
Despite Western Australia pulling the margin back to 32 points late in the third quarter. South Australia displayed its ruthless nature by booting five more majors in the final quarter to Western Australia’s solitary point and extend the margin out to 89 points.
For South Australia there was no shortage of star performers, as the most impressive aspect of their crushing win was the even contributions across the board as all the top end talent performed exceptionally. This was also conveyed through the raft of goal kickers as South Australia boasted 10 individual goal scorers.
If there was one player to pick out for best on ground honours for South Australia Lukosius would be the pick of the bunch. Booting four goals and taking a game high 14 marks, the key forward moved across the ground effortlessly as Western Australia didn’t have an answer for the star forward all game. On multiple occasions South Australia’s forward line pressure resulted in many Western Australia turnovers inside the Croweaters forward line, as on more than one occasion Jason Carter miskicked straight to an intercepting Lukosius.
Lukosius was not the only dominant forward for South Australia as his key forward partner Hugo Munn was also impressive bagging four goals. The twin towers combination of Lukosius and Munn will be destructive throughout the championships. Athletic tall forward and pinch-hit ruckmen Ben Jarvis was also damaging up forward by kicking three goals for the match as he primarily was used as back up ruckman for James Braidwood. Rankine may have only accumulated 14 disposals but with every touch he impacted the game, his highlight of the day was evading two defenders and kicking across his body to find Lukosius alone in the forward line.
Midfielders Hately (28 disposals), Valente (26 disposals) and Lewis (18 disposals) controlled the centre square clearances with ease, despite the South Australian ruckmen giving away a lot of height to Luke Jackson. Hately superbly read the play of both ruckmen as he lead with 10 clearances. Hately also finished with a team-high 28 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50’s and a goal in the final term. Wingman Jacob Kennerley was also prolific with 22 disposals and nine marks culminating in five inside 50s as he provided the link from defence to attack.
South Australia’s defenders were crucial in their slingshot attack from poor Western Australia forward entries. Central Districts rebounding defender Jez McLennan was integral with his run from half-back, as Robert Irra also had four rebound 50’s to join Martin Frederick and Mihail Lochowiak on taking the game on from half-back. Glenelg’s Will Gould was also was fundamental to stopping a potent Western Australia forward line.
For the disappointing Black Swans, ruckman Jackson was best for his side as his follow up work was admirable outlined by five clearances. Unfortunately most of his good work in ruck was profited by the South Australian onballers as Jackson finished with 29 hit-outs and 15 disposals.
English (25 disposals) and Damon Greaves (23 disposals) were the busiest for their side as English continually found the ball across most contests all game. Regan Spooner was lively for his side across half-back, as Ian Hill had glimpses of brilliance that included an unbelievable one handed mark in the second quarter.
In the next championship match ups South Australia prepare to host Victoria Country at Adelaide Oval on Sunday June 17, as Western Australia will host Victoria Metro at Optus Stadium on Sunday June 10.
South Australia 19.10 (124) defeated Western Australia 5.5 (35)
South Australia: Lukosius 4, Munn 4, Jarvis 3, Chapman 2, Tarca, Hately, Valente, Nietschke, Rankine, Sampson.
Western Australia: Moore 2, English, Clark, Hill.
South Australia: Lukosius, Valente, Jarvis, Hately, Rankine
Western Australia: English, Jackson, Greaves, Spooner