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AFLW U18: Vic Country snares historic win

Holly Whitford (left) and Darcy Guttridge of Vic Country celebrate their win - ${keywords}
Holly Whitford (left) and Darcy Guttridge of Vic Country celebrate their win

VIC COUNTRY defeated bitter rival Vic Metro for the first time on Saturday as round one of the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships concluded. 

Country overcame a slow start to hold Metro scoreless in the second and third quarters, resulting in a 27-point victory.

Coach Scott Gowans said it was a great result for the hard work the team had put in. 

"Given the history some of the girls have had with Metro over the last two or three years (the Dandenong Stingrays academy was previously aligned with Metro), they worked really hard and they deserve it," Gowans said.

"We had a clear vision and they executed it well.

"It was a poor first quarter, so to rebound the way they did, was a sign of good composure and an ability to be relentless." 

Dandenong Stingrays has always been aligned with Vic Country on the boys' side of the competition, but was initially allocated to Vic Metro on the girls' level in the interests of balance. 

With the increase in playing numbers over the past few years, Dandenong has been realigned with Country for 2017, meaning some girls who previously represented Metro have changed sides. 

Gowans said captain and midfielder Darcy Guttridge, defender Rebecca Webster, Jordy Allen and winger Georgia Gee were players to look for in the future. 

All are members of the NAB AFL Women's Academy, with Guttridge and Gee eligible to be drafted at the end of this year.

Country now turns its focus to round two of the carnival, which will be held on the Gold Coast from July 10-14. 

Its opening match is against Queensland, which already has two wins on the board, over NSW/ACT and Western Australia.

"The girls will go back to their local leagues next week, we'll train at Arden Street (North Melbourne) the following week, and then head up to the Gold Coast the week after that," Gowers said. 

"As much as you can predict, Queensland appear to be the next side on the list to beat. They're a very tall side and they will want to do well in their home state." 

For Metro, 15-year-old Laura McClelland kicked two goals in the first quarter, while Madison Prespakis, Maddy Guerin and Georgia Patrikios were among the best.

In a rematch of last year’s youth girls’ final, reigning champions Vic Metro face Western Australia on July 10.