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U18s: Stars shine as Metro seals win

Ben Guthrie  June 30, 2017 7:25 PM

AFL 2017 U18 Championships - Vic M v SA

Dylan Moore helps Cameron Rayner celebrate one of his five goals

EXCITING Vic Metro midfielder/half-forward Jaidyn Stephenson has given recruiters a timely reminder of his capabilities, kicking five goals in a starring role in his side's 67-point belting of South Australia at Etihad Stadium on Friday. 

Even with one round of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships to play, the dominant win will ensure Metro – which remains unbeaten – will win back-to-back Division One titles for the first time since 2012, coasting to a dominant 18.7 (115) to 6.12 (48) victory.

Stephenson, a candidate for the No.1 selection in the Draft at the start of the season based on the form he displayed last year as a bottom-aged player, gathered 28 disposals to complement the five goals he booted before three-quarter time, putting together his most promising display of the season.

The pacy and rangy wingman, who has been relatively subdued while playing for Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup, is a unique player and will appeal to plenty of AFL clubs looking for a prospect considered to have plenty of upside.

Possible No.1 draft pick Cameron Rayner also shone for Metro, nailing five goals and proving a constant threat playing predominantly as a permanent forward.

Rayner, who has drawn comparisons to Richmond's Dustin Martin, can also go through the midfield when tasked with that role.

Metro outclassed South Australia from the outset, skipping out to a 38-point quarter-time lead

Metro midfielders Charlie Constable (23) and Jack Higgins (29 and five clearances) were constant presences in the middle, while Andrew Brayshaw (20), the younger brother of Melbourne's Angus, also performed strongly.

South Australia was thoroughly beaten in all facets of the game, but would have taken great heart from the performance of bottom-ager Izak Rankine.

Rankine, a likely early pick in next year's Draft, was exceptional for the Croweaters, gathering a classy 22 disposals.

Rankine's ability to step around opponents with a swift sideways movement and his instinctive banana goal off a step in the second quarter underlined the exciting prospect's talent.

Jackson Edwards, the son of former Crow Tyson, who can taken as a father-son selection, tried hard for South Australia and gathered 21 disposals.

Harrison Petty (18 disposals and seven marks) stood strong in defence for South Australia, while Nathan Kreuger (16 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s and one goal) delivered a promising game after an injury-interrupted start to the season.

VIC METRO                 7.3    11.3  15.5  18.7 (115)                   
SOUTH AUSTRALIA    1.1    4.2    4.5    6.12 (48)            

GOALS
VIC METRO: Stephenson 5, Rayner 5, Sutherland 2, Constable, Petruccelle, Fogarty, Podhajski, Hayes, Xerri
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Crowden, Kreuger, Lukosius, Rankine, Denton, Hewson 

BEST
VIC METRO: Stephenson, Rayner, Constable, Higgins, Brayshaw, Coffield
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rankine, Petty, Kreuger, Edwards, Martini

Jaidyn Stephenson was outstanding in the win. Picture: AFL Photos
jaidyn stephenson.jpg

South Australia's Nathan Kreuger celebrates a goal. Picture: AFL Photos
nathan kreuger.jpg

Isaac Hewson feels pressure from Cameron Rayner at Etihad Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos
isaac hewson cameron rayner.jpg