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U18: Inside mid leads Giants to big win

Jack Powell in action for the AFL Academy - ${keywords}
Jack Powell in action for the AFL Academy

HIGHLY regarded inside midfielder Jack Powell has steered the Greater Western Sydney Academy to a comfortable 51-point win over Northern Territory in the NAB AFL Under-18 Academy Series on Saturday. 

The Canberra teenager, who forms part of this year's NAB AFL Academy squad, gathered 24 disposals, a game-high eight clearances, seven marks and seven tackles. 

Standing at 180cm, Powell showed his ability to cover the ground well in the 17.14 (116) to 9.11 (65) win at Blacktown International Sportspark, setting up his teammates by hand and foot despite receiving close attention from the opposition.

Fellow Giants midfielder Laine Fitzgerald continued his recent run with another strong performance, finishing with a match-high 27 disposals, seven marks, seven rebound 50s and a goal. 

Big-bodied ball-winner Nick Shipley was equally impressive with 25 possessions, seven tackles, six marks and three goals, with his pressure around the contest often worrying his opponents. 

Bottom-ager Riley Corbett, who is ineligible for this year's draft, used his 195cm, 97kg frame to great effect up forward by taking the ball cleanly and kicking three goals, which included some long-range efforts.

For Northern Territory, talented onballer Zac Bailey picked up where he left off by being named his team's best player. 

Bailey, who missed NT's last match due to his school commitments in Adelaide, accumulated an equal team-high 18 touches – 13 of them handballs – five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. 

The 180cm midfielder is a smart decision-maker who can also push higher up the ground and contribute on the scoreboard.

Utility Rodney Baird was also kept busy with 18 possessions and a goal of his own, while 174cm prospect Xavier Cubillo booted two of NT's nine goals from his 11 touches. 

Big man Tony Olango returned to the side after overcoming a persistent knee injury, accumulating 23 hit-outs to go with his eight disposals.

The Giants registered back-to-back victories after defeating Tasmania by 11 points last round, while Northern Territory remains winless after four matches. 

GWS ACADEMY                     6.2     9.8    15.11   17.14   (116)
NORTHERN TERRITORY       2.2     3.5     5.8      9.11     (65)

GOALS
GWS Academy: Corbett 3, Shipley 3, Briggs 2, Peatling 2, Pollock 2, Fitzgerald, Highmore, McInnes, Stevens, Walker
Northern Territory: Cubillo 2, Bailey, Baird, Bricknell, Foster, Hampton, Lawrence, Scrutton 

BEST
GWS Academy: Fitzgerald, Powell, Gaynor, Peatling, Shipley, Corbett
Northern Territory: Bailey, Baird, Scrutton, Green, Holt-Fitz, Cubillo