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SA's Luke Partington stars in close loss to WA in U18 Champs

Luke Partington in action during the AIS-AFL Academy Training at Goschs Paddock, Melbourne on December 11,  2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Luke Partington starred for South Australian in the Under-18 Championships on Saturday

20 players to watch during the 2015 NAB AFL Under-18 Champs
• Under-18s news, fixture & results

A STANDOUT performance from midfielder Luke Partington wasn't enough to lift South Australia to victory in the opening game of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, with Western Australia claiming a one-point win.

Partington, a ball-winner from Norwood and member of the NAB AFL Academy, gathered 28 disposals and six clearances in an explosive display through the midfield for South Australia.

He also pushed into attack to kick a goal and sent the ball inside the forward 50 on nine occasions, but Western Australia held on to claim the 11.7 (73) to 9.18 (72) win.

The victors got off to a strong start at Lathlain Park in Perth, booting the first three goals of the game against the South Australians, who have won the past two division one titles.

In an exciting game in good conditions, South Australia steadily pegged back the deficit and when Cameron Hewett (the younger brother of the Sydney Swans' George) kicked a goal at the 23-minute mark of the last term, they were within one point.

The siren soon sounded, with the South Australians left to rue their inaccuracy in front of goal after kicking 18 behinds to Western Australia's seven.

Hard-working midfielder Tom Bennett was the most prolific for the winners, gathering 21 disposals and kicking a goal, while exciting youngster Brayden Hackett continued his lively year in finding 19 disposals and six marks.

Key forward Dylan Smith has caught the eye of recruiters at colts level in the WAFL, and again the 198cm prospect showed his athletics traits by picking up 16 disposals and eight marks.

He also booted a goal and was dangerous in attack alongside medium forward Marshall Jones, who kicked four goals.

Although ineligible for the draft until 2016, bottom-aged West Australian pair Sam Petrevski-Seton and Sam Powell-Pepper showed why they will be among the most entertaining players to watch during the national carnival.

Petrevski-Seton started well and finished with 18 disposals, while Powell-Pepper kicked an important goal in the final term.

Half-back Riley Bonner was classy in delivering the ball down the wing, collecting 24 disposals and nine rebound-50s, while Hugh Haysman kicked two goals in the second term and finished with 21 touches.

Captain Will Snelling (19 disposals) and over-ager Oleg Markov (18 disposals, six marks) were other good contributors in the defeat.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA   3.2  6.3   9.7   11.7  (73)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA        1.2  5.6  7.13  9.18  (72)

GOALS
Western Australia: Jones 4, Ridley 2, Waterman 2, Bennett, Powell-Pepper, Smith
South Australia: Haysman 2, Milera 2, Dew, Hewett, Francis, Partington, Quinn

BEST
Western Australia: Hackett, Bennett, Watson, Jones, Waterman, Florenca, Petrevski-Seton
South Australia: Partington, Francis, Haysman, Markov, Milera