SOUTH Australia have been defeated in their first of two trial matches in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, going down to a fierce Tasmanian team by 21-points at Football Park on Saturday.
The Mariners led at all the main breaks and their attack on the ball was stronger than SA, winning the contested ball and cracking in hard at the contest.
South Australia were at understrength missing a large contingent of their likely best 22 for the championships – with players such as Darcy Fogarty (Glenelg – League) and Mitch Crowden (Sturt – League) playing through the various SANFL levels.
Tasmania themselves were missing bottom-age AFL Academy member Chayce Jones who will likely miss the rest of the season after a nasty ankle injury last weekend. Allies squad member Thomas Mundy (foot) also didn’t play.
In defence tall Harrison Petty was impressive for South Australia, able to mark the ball well inside defensive 50.
Eagles small James Rowe booted three goals up forward, at times working further up the ground through the midfield at the contests.
Possible draftee Nathan Kreuger booted a sole goal in a quiet performance and it will be intriguing to see where on the ground he is played in the championships.
Inside midfielder Jakob Heitmann was SA’s best for the day, winning the ball in the centre of the ground and pressuring the opposition players.
For Tasmania, Jake Hinds was outstanding all day in a consistent four-quarter performance.
Speedy overager Harrison Pearce booted four goals and his return to form after having his 2016 season derailed by a broken leg has been impressive.
North Melbourne Next Generation 2018 Academy member Tarryn Thomas kicked three goals, continuing to put his hand up to receive a bid as a first round selection in next year’s AFL Draft.
Ruckman Tim Auckland also showed some good signs, while forward Zac Buechner booted two goals.
Tasmania have six representatives in the Allies squad, and will take on Vic Metro and Vic Country in next Sunday’s final practice matches in Melbourne, before announcing the final squad.
South Australia will have another hit out against North Adelaide on Friday evening, before their first game in the Under 18 Championships against Western Australia at Domain Stadium on Saturday 10th June.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.3 4.4 6.6 11.6 (72)
TASMANIA 2.3 7.5 11.5 14.7 (91)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Heitmann, Petty, Weideman, Rowe, Hately, Smithson
TASMANIA: Hinds, Auckland, Clifford, Tyrrell, Gadomski, Hanson
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rowe 3, Smithson 2, Kreuger, Charlton, Hately, Stidiford, Ballard
TASMANIA: Pearce 4, Thomas 3, Buechner 2, Gunther 2, Mansell, Cowen, Hanslow
More of Peter Argent’s images here