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Billings the star as Metro win battle of the Vics

Billy Hartung of Vic Country (left) and Marcus Bontempelli (Vic Metro) contest the ball during their division one match at Etihad Stadium - ${keywords}
Billy Hartung of Vic Country (left) and Marcus Bontempelli (Vic Metro) contest the ball during their division one match at Etihad Stadium
POTENTIAL top-five draft pick Jack Billings has further strengthened his credentials with another standout display for Vic Metro against state rivals Vic Country at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Billings was a key factor in Metro's 19-point victory over Country, gathering 15 disposals and kicking three goals in his side's 9.7 (61) to 6.6 (42) win.

The clever half-forward typically found space with great ease and finished his work with aplomb.

With South Australia winning the division-one title earlier, neither side was a chance to take home the 2013 Championship. But that did not take away from what was a willing and competitive contest.


There was little real momentum early in the match, with the game stalled in the opening term after Vic Country's Darcy Lang went down with a serious left ankle injury.

Lang was carted off on a stretcher, with Country management confirming a fractured ankle for the likely draftee who was taken to hospital for scans.

After the delay, Metro's midfield, comprising likely high draft pick Josh Kelly (24 disposals and six tackles) and prolific on-baller Mitch Honeychurch (23 possessions, seven tackles and six clearances) managed to get on top.

Burly half-forward Ben Lennon presented well and skipper Luke McDonald, North Melbourne's father-son in waiting, controlled the back half for Metro.

Country battled manfully, but could not match the intensity of their Victorian rivals.

Midfielder Lewis Taylor did his best to kick-start Country with some damaging runs on his way to a game-high 32 touches, while Matt Crouch (27) and Nick Holman (19) were also among their side's best players.

Zac Merrett, the brother of Essendon's Jackson, also used his precision kicking to advantage on a number of occasions.

Vic Country    1.1     3.3      5.4     6.6 (42)
Vic Metro        2.1     5.4      7.5      9.7 (61)
 
GOALS
Vic Country: Willsmore 2, McCartney, Herbert, Nelson, Taylor
Vic Metro: Billings 3, Apeness, Lennon, Honeychurch, Sicily, Walker, Bontempelli

Best: 
Vic Country: Taylor, Crouch, Holman, Jones, Leslie, Impey
Vic Metro: Honeychurch, Kennedy-Harris, McDonald, Billings, Kelly, Bontempelli, Byrne-Jones, Ritchie 

Ben Guthrie is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_BenGuthrie