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U18: No.1 hopeful, son of Dog stars for Metro

Ben King lays a strong tackle during this year's AFL Academy v North Melbourne VFL clash - AFL,Under-18s
Ben King lays a strong tackle during this year's AFL Academy v North Melbourne VFL clash

POTENTIAL No.1 draft pick Ben King and some sons of guns ran riot as Vic Metro kicked off their NAB AFL Under-18s Championships campaign with a hard-earned 18-point victory over a gallant Western Australia on Sunday. 

In a head-turning display, athletic tall King slotted five goals from 15 disposals in the 14.10 (94) to 12.4 (76) triumph at Optus Stadium.

While it was tough conditions for big men, with a howling breeze all match and slippery conditions in the first half, King showcased his competitiveness in the air and ground-level smarts to lead Metro to victory. 

King could have had an even bigger bag, but put one shot out on the full and booted two behinds – including one set shot from the pocket which hit the post.

The 202cm tall, thrown forward from defence after his brother Max went down with a ruptured ACL in April, was the focal point for Metro but the visitors had numerous threats.

Noah Anderson, the son of Hawthorn dual premiership player Dean, was electric across half-forward, slotting four majors, with 20 disposals and five inside 50s.

Anderson is not eligible as a father-son for the Hawks, however the Bulldogs have first dibs on Rhylee West, the son of club great Scott.

West racked up 25 touches, extracted nine clearances and slotted an audacious checkside running goal in a standout midfield display.

Lively small Jack Mahony booted two goals for Metro and exciting onballer Bailey Smith (28 disposals, 10 tackles) worked hard. 

The only downside for the visitors was an apparent leg injury suffered by likely first-round pick Curtis Taylor in the opening half.

While WA suffered its second loss in a row, it was a vastly-improved effort from the Black Swans after their 89-point thumping from South Australia last weekend.

Metro burst to a 27-point lead during the second term after piling on five unanswered majors and looked like running away with the contest, but the Peter Sumich-led home side never gave up.

Hard-running midfielder Luke Foley was in everything early, kicking the opening goal out of nothing from the pocket and finished with 17 touches in a strong performance.

Dillon O'Reilly, whose dad Stephen played 98 games for Fremantle – just shy of the eligibility as a father-son – also showed some signs with three goals and five marks.

Jeremy Sharp produced an excellent four-quarter display, gathering a team-high 26 touches and kicking a goal, while Sydney Stack (23 disposals, four clearances) worked his way into the game.

Possible top-10 draft pick Ian Hill had some nice moments as he slotted two clever goals.

The second-cousin of Fremantle stars Stephen and Bradley was clean in the conditions and did his draft chances no harm, while Brad Oldfield put his name forward after kicking a couple of majors from 17 possessions.

WA has the bye next round, while Metro travels to Southport to face the Allies, who defeated Vic Country by 23 points on Saturday. 

Western Australia    2.1   5.2   7.3    12.4 (76)
Vic Metro                   3.2   7.5  10.7  14.10 (94) 

GOALS
Western Australia: O'Reilly 3, Hill 2, Oldfield 2, Foley, English, Cameron, Sharp, Hansen
Vic Metro: King 5, Anderson 4, Mahony 2, West, O'Halloran, McKenzie 

BEST
Western Australia: Sharp, Foley, Oldfield, Stack, Hill, O'Reilly
Vic Metro: King, Anderson, West, Smith, Rowbottom, Quaynor