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U18s: Tiger cub thrills at Punt Road Oval

Callum Twomey  June 24, 2017 3:28 PM

U18: Cal Twomey's top-10 draft prospects Draft expert Callum Twomey looks at 10 of the best underage players in the land
AFL 2017 U18 Championship - Vic Metro v Vic Country

Patrick Naish celebrates a goal for Vic Metro on Saturday

RICHMOND father-son prospect Patrick Naish was one of a stack of draft hopefuls to star in Vic Metro's 22-point win over Vic Country on Saturday.

In a high quality game at Punt Road Oval, Naish gathered 24 disposals, nine marks and kicked two smart goals in Metro's 15.7 (97) to 11.9 (75) win as the reigning title holders remained unbeaten heading into the final two rounds of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

Naish, the son of former Tiger Chris, has spent plenty of time at Richmond's headquarters through the club's father-son program and continued his impressive season at the venue with his foot skills and hard running taking the eye. He shapes as a top-20 pick at November's NAB AFL Draft.

Under-18s hub: Every game, every result

But Naish wasn't the only player to boost his stocks, with Metro teammates Charlie Constable (31 disposals, six marks, six inside-50s) and Jack Higgins (30 disposals, two goals) also dominating through the midfield.

Smaller type Lachie Fogarty, in his first game back from groin soreness, was also terrific. The 178cm Western Jets product had 23 disposals and 12 tackles, and showed his neat and efficient ball use with two steady goals, while captain Joel Garner played perhaps his best game of the year with 24 disposals and nine marks across half-back.

Metro's Cameron Rayner did his No.1 pick chances no harm with a blistering display, with the half-forward/midfielder particularly damaging in the first half. Rayner finished with 21 disposals and three important goals, and again highlighted his powerful marking and long kicking.

Plenty of eyes were on Metro's Will Sutherland, the talented dual sportsman who came into the side for his first game at state level. Sutherland is weighing a potential cricketer career, but should be buoyed by his showing against quality Vic Country defenders.

The 17-year-old was probably the best performed key forward in the game, and kicked one goal from 10 disposals and five marks. He is athletic, marks well and is a good kick, and will be an early selection at the draft should he choose the football pathway over cricket, where his father James is the country's highest administrator.

Country also had plenty of good contributors in a tight encounter in front of a grandstand packed full of club recruiters and list managers. Co-captains James Worpel (25 disposals, 10 tackles, one goal) and Oscar Clavarino (six marks in defence) were excellent, while small forward Gryan Miers kicked two goals from 24 disposals.

Ben Paton rebounded well from defence with 19 disposals, while Lochie O'Brien overcame a quiet first half to finish with 18 disposals and showed his lethal left-foot kicking skills. Midfielder Paddy Dow was busy and gave Country some zip, while David Handley kicked two goals from 15 touches.

Likely early selection Luke Davies-Uniacke was instrumental early as Country went into quarter time tied with Metro, but was quiet thereafter and finished with 14 disposals and a brilliant running goal.

Metro will be expecting to maintain its unbeaten run in the championships next Friday when the carnival continues at Etihad Stadium with their meeting against South Australia. Vic Country will also host Western Australia on Friday at the Docklands venue.

VIC METRO          4.1   9.2   12.5   15.7 (97)
VIC COUNTRY      4.1   7.3   10.7   11.9 (75)

GOALS
Vic Metro: Rayner 3, Higgins 2, Naish 2, Fogerty 2, Moore 2, Cerra, Sutherland, Stephenson, M.King
Vic Country: Handley 2, Miers 2, Parish, Davies-Uniacke, De Koning, Williams, Johnston, Worpel, Daniels

BEST
Vic Metro: Garner, Naish, Penrith, Coffield, Constable, Moore, Higgins, Rayner
Vic Country: Worpel, Miers, Clavarino, Paton, Handley, Clark, Dow

Top draft fancies Patrick Naish and Will Sutherland played well. Picture: AFL Photos
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Vic Country's Sam Walsh is tackled on Saturday. Picture: AFL Photos
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Riley Jones takes control of the ball for Vic Metro. Picture: AFL Photos
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Nicholas Coffield is put uncder the pump by the Country defence. Picture: AFL Photos
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Joel Garner laid claims to being best on ground. Picture: AFL Photos
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