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U18s: Sharpshooting Swan gets Academy home

Dinny Navaratnam  May 6, 2017 3:34 PM

TAC Cup 2016 Rd 03 - Calder Cannons v NSW/ACT

Jack Hardman (left) has kicked four goals for the Swans Academy

A FOUR-GOAL performance from Sydney Academy small forward Jack Hardman has helped the Swans deliver a clean sweep of the NAB AFL Under-18 Academy Series with victory over Tasmania in Launceston on Saturday. 

Hardman booted his side's only two goals in the final term to help pip the Mariners. The 173cm prospect is a bottom-age player with serious pace and an ability to read the play.

Chayce Jones helped set the Tasmanians alight in the first quarter, when he kicked all three of his goals. It was an impressive solo performance which continued his recent good form.

Jones was part of the Australian under-17s side that went to New Zealand to face an open-aged side that included former Brisbane Lions champion Simon Black. 

Luke Skrivanic again showed his class for the Swans, this time as an onballer. He has played as a half-forward in previous games and can win the ball in the air or on the ground.

The Tasmanian defence helped keep its side close in a low-scoring game. Full-back Thomas Donnelly and half-back Nicholas Hutchinson were important, while Matthew McGuinness was named among the best players for his effort at centre half-back.

Jarrod Osborne, a determined left-footed midfielder, again contributed well to the Swans' side and won the MVP for his team's best player of the Academy Series. 

Hugh Dixon took out that award for Tasmania. The 195cm key forward booted two goals on a windy Saturday morning and provided a lead-up target for the Mariners. The booming left-footer is strong overhead and was a consistent presence.

For Swans Academy coach Jared Crouch, the title in the inaugural division two series came 22 years after he captained South Australia to the under-17s championships win in 1995, the final year that competition was held.

Exciting bottom-age Sydney forward Nick Blakey has recovered from his concussion suffered against the New Zealand team but didn't play on Saturday as part of his management program ahead of a long season. As the son of former Fitzroy and North Melbourne player John, Nick Blakey can be drafted at a discount by the Swans, Brisbane Lions or Kangaroos.

Similarly, talented Tasmanian Tarryn Thomas didn't play. The 17-year-old has a minor knee injury but should be fine to return next week. He was also part of the team that went to New Zealand in April.

An Allies side will selected from the Academy Series and will be the fifth team in the division one championships that start next month. 

SYDNEY ACADEMY              2.2       4.7       6.9       8.12 (60)
TASMANIA                            5.3       6.4       7.6       8.10 (58)

GOALS
Sydney Academy: Hardman 4, Carr, Stern, Skrivanic, Maze
Tasmania: Jones 3, Dixon 2, Norton, Gunther, Pearce 

BEST
Sydney Academy: Loone, Osborne, Rogers, Stern, Hardman, Skrivanic
Tasmania: Jones, Donnelly, Auckland, Tyrrell, M McGuinness, Hutchinson