VIC Metro claimed the points over a determined Western Australia in the second game of the day at Metricon Stadium in Round 2 of the AFLW Under 18 Championships after a fast start helped them get on the front foot. In tricky weather conditions Metro proved too good in the end prevailing by 17 points to claim victory. Both teams tussled hard competing for the ball and putting their body on the line in hope to claim the four points. But it was the usual suspects for Vic Metro that stood out with the likes of Gabby Newton, Georgia Patrikios and Ellie McKenzie lighting up the field while for Western Australia Roxanne Roux and Mikayla Bowen showcased their class.
It was a hot start to the game with both the Black Ducks and Metro going toe to toe in hope to claim a good start and carry that momentum throughout the match. Cleo Saxon-Jones opened the account for Metro taking a strong contested grab in the pocket and snapping truly. The ball spent plenty of time in Metro’s forward 50 with Isabella Grant getting on the board early while Emily Harley also chipped in on the scoreboard. Patrikios proved to be a real force to be reckoned with in the midfield with her tackling pressure and clean hands to work the ball out of congestion and to teammates. Newton and McKenzie showcased their talent using the ball well and laying strong tackles while Alyssa Bannan brought her bag of tricks running down the wing and shrugging off a tackle. Western Australia wrestled back some of the momentum trapping the ball inside 50 and applying pressure to create scoring opportunities but were unable to capitalise with the likes of Mikayla Hyde spraying a shot at goal from close range.
Down by 17 points at quarter time the Black Ducks came out with a real fire in the belly, hunting the ball and contesting hard to win the footy both in the air and at ground level but Patrikios and Newton continued their dominance with the two finding plenty of the footy. Metro found some good link up play through the midfield but Western Australia showcased their footy smarts clogging up the space and regaining possession. They slotted their first goal of the afternoon at the three minute mark thanks to Roux taking a strong grab in the goal square and converting. Victoria struggled to move the ball out of defence with the Sandgropers applying strong offensive pressure and covering all of the options. Nell Morris-Dalton showcased her footy skills leading up at the footy in the forward 50 and taking a clever grab, putting Metro’s first on the board in the second quarter. Roux continued to impose herself around the contest going up for a big contested grab but was unable to come down with it cleanly. Patrikios showed that she came to play winning a free kick just on the 50 metre line, sidestepping her opponent on the mark and streaming inside 50 for the ball to just fall short on the goal line with a goal saving punch from Sophie McDonald. Metro regained possession and momentum trapping the ball inside 50 allowing Bannan to take a strong contested grab and goal to kick their second for the term putting them 25 points up at half time.
After half time Metro upped their ante with Patrikios once again finding space and earning herself a free kick. She won a 50 metre free kick and nailed her first goal of the afternoon but was quickly answered by Western Australian excitement machine Roux who bombed it from about 45 out. Sarah Verrier and Bowen showcased their clean hands in tight for WA working the ball through traffic and applying strong tackles to regain possession. The game tightened up with both sides unable to penetrate through the defence forcing the ball to ebb and flow back and forth. Elisabeth Georgostathis lifted her intensity in the third quarter working her way into the game and creating scoring opportunities credit to her footy smarts while Newton and McKenzie also maintained their ball winning abilities.
After a relatively stagnant third term with both sides struggling to create scoring opportunities it turned out to an old fashioned shoot out. Western Australia came out hot with Lily Bird nailing a timely goal after a flurry of handballs along the boundary line to keep her side in it. Vic Metro answered quickly with a long booming kick inside 50 from Saxon-Jones with Bannan back heeling the ball through the big sticks to claim her second for the match. Mikayla Morrison and Bianca Webb imposed themselves in the forward 50 nailing a goal apiece for WA and looking ominous every time the ball came in their direction. Sarah Sansonetti and Felicity Theodore both lifted their intensity and defensive pressure around the contest for Vic Metro smothering the ball and applying strong tackles to try and regain possession for their side. Patrikios took control, standing up under pressure and nailing a pass lace out into the forward 50 to Saxon-Jones who slotted it straight through the middle. Bowen showcased her ability to influence the play reading the flight of the ball and using the footy effectively. Bannan took a strong grab in the dying seconds of the game and with a shot after the siren was unable to convert only registering a point but pushing Metro’s lead out to 17 points.
Patrikios finished with an impressive 21 disposals and five tackles while teammates Newton and McKenzie amassed 14 and 16 touches respectively. Nicola Xenos was a tackling machine for Metro with nine for the game with Georgostathis close behind with seven. For the Sandgropers, Verrier led the way with 15 touches and nine tackles while Bowen picked up 14 for her efforts. Mim Strom was a standout in the ruck with a massive 36 hitouts from her 13 touches and three tackles, as Roux ably assisted with 18 mostly in the final term, as well as 11 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and a two goals.
VIC METRO 3.0 | 5.2 | 6.2 | 8.3 (51)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.3 | 5.4 (34)
VM: C. Saxon-Jones 2, A. Bannan 2, E. Harley, I. Grant, G. Patrikios, N. Morris-Dalton.
WA: R. Roux 2, L. Bird, B. Webb, M. Morrison.
VM: G. Patrikios, G. Newton, E. McKenzie, C. Saxon-Jones, A. Barba, E. Georgostathis
WA: M. Bowen, R. Roux, M. Strom, S. Verrier, M. Hyde, E. Smith