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U18s: Returning prospect Darcy Parish stars as Vic Country downs Metro

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - MAY 24: Kieran Collins of Vic Country runs with the ball during the U18 Championship match between Vic Metro and Vic Country at Simonds Stadium on May 24, 2015 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Kieran Collins was best afield for Vic Country on Sunday

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DARCY Parish's first kick of this year's NAB AFL Under-18 Championships was a dribbling, right-foot checkside goal that skipped through from the pocket. 

It turned out to be the first of 25 disposals for the dashing and damaging midfielder, who returned from a thumb injury to play an important role in Vic Country's 35-point win over Vic Metro at Simonds Stadium on Sunday.

His goal was one of six that Vic Country slammed on in a dominant opening term, which helped them to a 42-point lead at the first change and established the lead that their Metro counterparts could never draw back in the 14.14 (98) to 9.9 (63) victory.

Parish started the season in brilliant form for the Geelong Falcons and NAB AFL Academy before injuring his thumb in April, which required surgery and seven weeks on the sidelines.

"I was a bit toey early but once I got the jumper on the nerves settled a little bit, and a few early touches settled me down," Parish said. "The thumb's pulling up all right – I'm still wearing a guard and taping it up. It's pretty sore now after the game, but I got through it."

Parish was one of a number of Vic Country players to impress as his team went a step closer to winning the division one title.

Kieran Collins continued his excellent Under-18 Championships across defence by collecting 21 disposals, 10 marks and eight-rebound 50s. He has pushed himself up the draft board with three consecutive strong games.

As a rebounding half-back, Darcy Tucker added some poise and drive and found 26 disposals, while Rhys Mathieson continued his consistent championships by finding 23 disposals and kicking a goal.

After booting eight goals last week, Josh Schache kicked 2.2 from 18 disposals and even spent some time in defence as Country controlled play.

Over-ager Dan Capiron (22 disposals) and Jarrod Berry (26), who is eligible for next year's draft, were others to contribute in Country's third win of the carnival.

After their goalless opening quarter Metro won the next three terms, led by solid displays from Matthew Perry (23 disposals) and Fraser Pearce, who gathered 21 touches.

Nick O'Kearney kicked two goals from 18 touches, while bottom-aged player Jordan Gallucci also booted two to be Metro's other multiple goalkicker.

After a quiet first half, Ben Crocker had nine disposals in the third quarter before injuring his ankle. He was taken from the field and didn't return, moments before Country ruckman Ryan Hearn also suffered an ankle concern.

Country can go a long way to securing the division one title when it plays second-placed South Australia next Sunday at AAMI Stadium.

"We've bonded really well. New players have come into the side and played their role, and that's all you ask for as a team," Parish said.

"We're just going each game at a time, and all our focus was on today's game. Now we've gotten through that, next week will be a big game. I can't wait for it."

VIC COUNTRY  6.7    9.7  12.12  14.14  (98)
VIC METRO       0.1   3.4     6.7     9.9     (63)

GOALS
Vic Country: Schache 2, Simpkin 2, Ainsworth 2, Parish, Mathieson, Capiron, Brodie, Cole, Mutimer, Johnston, Weitering
Vic Metro: O'Kearney 2, Gallucci 2, Cuningham, Crocker, Kerbatieh, Hardwick, McLarty

BEST
Vic Country: Collins, Parish, Berry, Tucker, Mathieson, Capiron, Schache
Vic Metro: Perry, Pearce, Gallucci, O'Kearney, Morgan, Cuningham