WA win AFL U18 National Championships

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - 3:12 PM by Lenny Fogliani

For the first time since 2009, Western Australia won the NAB AFL U18 Championships.

They secured the title after a five-point victory over Vic Country. Regan Clarke was the hero for Western Australia kicking a goal with 10 second to go. 

Deven Robertson continued his excellent campaign with 28 possessions, eight tackles, six clearances, and six inside 50s to claim the WA U18s MVP.

Liam Henry (25 possessions, six marks, five rebounding 50s, five tackles and four inside 50s), Chad Warner (22 possessions, six inside 50s, five tackles an four clearances), Nathan O’Driscoll (21 possessions and six tackles), Jeremy Sharp (20 possessions and a goal) and Trent Rivers (20 possessions and four tackles) were prolific for the Sandgropers.

Up forward Logan McDonald kicked two goals, while Regan Clarke, Jai Jackson, Callum Jamieson, Jeremy Sharp and Tyrone Thorne each kicked one.

Western Australia stamped their authority early in the match. In the second minute, Liam Henry intercepted a Vic Country rebound out of defensive 50, before finding Elijah Taylor inside 50. Taylor then centred the ball to Jeremy Sharp, who duly converted his set shot from 45 metres out on a slight angle. In the sixth minute, Callum Jamieson stole the ball off a Vic Country defender before banging through the Sandgropers second goal. A few minutes later, Jai Jackson took a strong contested mark before kicking his first goal of the game. Unfortunately in the 16th minute, Riley Garcia went down with what looked to be a serious leg injury. At quarter time, the Sandgropers led by 18 points.

The Sandgropers continued their ascendancy in the second quarter. In the ninth minute, Regan Clarke was able to find Logan McDonald inside attacking 50. McDonald then converted his set shot from about 35 metres out on a slight angle. Three minutes later, McDonald dribbled the ball out of a pack to kick his second goal. In the 16th minute, Vic Country’s Ned Cahill won a free kick for being taken too high. The Dandenong Stingrays’ product then converted for Vic Country’s first goal. At half-time the Sandgropers led by 25 points.

After the main break, Vic Country got off to a great start when Cody Weightman snapped through his first goal in the fourth minute. Tyrone Thorne snappes through his first goal soon after. In the fifteenth minute, Vic Country transitioned the ball out of the defensive zone exceptionally well. Brodie Kemp took a strong mark. He then duly converted his set shot from about 30m out. Late in the quarter, Kemp kicked his second goal to reduce the margin to just 11 points.

The final quarter proved to be incredibly tense. In the sixth minute Jai Jackson produced a goal-saving tackle. In the fifteenth minute, Luke Jackson gave away a costly 50 metre penalty that saw Charlie Comben kick his first goal and to reduce the margin to just five points. Ned Cahill then soccered through his second goal to put Vic Country in front. However in the dying stages, Regan Clarke took a mark inside 50 and then proceeded to kick the winning goal.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA        3.3    5.5    6.5    7.9    (51)
VIC COUNTRY            0.3    1.4    4.6    6.10    (46)

2: Logan McDonald, 1: Regan Clarke, Jai Jackson, Callum Jamieson, Jeremy Sharp, Tyrone Thorne

2: Ned Cahill, Brodie Kemp, 1: Charlie Comben, Cody Weightman