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U18: Future Swan unable to lift Allies over the line

Nick Blakey played a scintillating second half for the Allies against WA - AFL,Under-18s,Draft
Nick Blakey played a scintillating second half for the Allies against WA

SYDNEY-BOUND academy prospect Nick Blakey has underlined his class with an instrumental showing in the midfield for Allies, although his efforts were not quite enough to drag his team over the line against Western Australia at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Blakey, the son of former Kangaroo and current Swans assistant John, has nominated Sydney over North Melbourne as his preferred destination, with the 18-year-old able to join either club.

After trailing by 27 points to the Sandgropers at half-time, Allies coach Adrian Fletcher shifted Blakey into the midfield early in the third term where he sparked a comeback that ultimately fell just short.

Western Australia – led by Jordan Clark and Luke English – held on for a 12.6 (78) to 10.11 (71) victory, claiming its second successive win of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

Blakey, who missed his team's first game of the carnival with a viral infection, finished with 17 disposals, five inside 50s, four clearances and goal, demonstrating his strength in the contest and leadership capabilities.

Fellow father-son and academy prospect Bailey Scott – who is eligible to be drafted by Geelong, North Melbourne and Gold Coast – was the Allies' most consistent player across four quarters, amassing a game-high 30 disposals.

With top WA draft prospect Ian Hill receiving a two-game ban for a sling tackle on Vic Country's Laitham Vandermeer in last Friday's match, half-back flanker Clark and midfielder English were critical in stepping up in their team's win.

Clark was sensational off half-back with 29 disposals and 11 rebound 50s, while English's elite endurance came into play the longer the game went as he racked up 25 touches.

Medium-sized forward Tom Medhat (three goals) and 16-year-old Mitchell Georgiades (two goals) did the damage on the scoreboard for WA as it powered out to a match-high 27-point half-time lead.

Led by Blakey and Scott, with important cameos from Fraser Turner (24 disposals) and Chayce Jones (20 and seven tackles), the Allies closed the gap to just seven points with less than five minutes remaining.

Ruckman Kieran Briggs (29 hit-outs) was also central in his team's fightback, while Mitchell O'Neill's finishing ability was also important.

But WA's defence held firm in the dying stages of the game and when it took the football forward it was able to control possession and prevent the Allies from finding that all-important goal.

ALLIES                                                   1.1          4.1          7.5          10.11 (71)               
WESTERN AUSTRALIA                    3.3         8.4          10.4       12.6 (78)

Goals
Allies: Turner 2, Blakey, Reinhard, McFayden, Quint, Turner, Scott, O'Neill, Thomas
Western Australia: Medhat 3, Georgiades 2, Moore 2, O'Reilly 2, Oldfield 2, Stack 

Best
Allies: Scott, Blakey, Turner, Jones, Briggs, O'Neill 
Western Australia: Clark, English, Oldfield, Stack, Foley, Spooner, Medhat