THE NAB AFL Australian under-17 team capitalised on strong second and fourth terms to defeat New Zealand's open-age side by 77 points at Marvel Stadium late last month.
The Australians established a 44-point half-time buffer off the back of a seven-goals-to-one second term, then kicked six of the seven majors in the final quarter to ram home the advantage.
New Zealand matched its younger rivals in the other two terms – losing them by a combined one behind – and the game was generally played at a high intensity.
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Among Australia's eye-catchers were vice-captain Elijah Hollands, who hails from country Victoria and is the son of former Sydney, Richmond and West Adelaide player Ben Hollands.
The athletic 187cm, 71kg forward-midfielder provided consistent drive for his team throughout the match, finishing with 24 possessions, seven marks, six inside 50s and three goals.
The only blemish on the 2020 draft prospect's polished performance was his four behinds, but he was still comfortably in the best players.
Elijah Hollands was one of the under-17 team's best players. Picture: AFL Photos
Wodonga Bulldogs product Hollands is an instinctive player, reads the game well, is strong in the contest and boasts a neat step through traffic.
A student at Caulfield Grammar, he is enjoying a promising start to the NAB League season, where he averages 17 disposals for the Murray Bushrangers.
Another to impress was 189cm midfielder Alex Davies, a 17-year-old from the Cairns Hawks and Gold Coast Suns Academy who's been compared to Scott Pendlebury.
His clean hands and composure with the ball stood out, along with his pace for someone of his size.
Davies, who has prioritised football after having a basketball background, amassed 20 possessions (nine contested), five clearances and four tackles.
New Zealand's leading light was its man-mountain up forward, Shem Tutupu, who kicked three of his game-high four goals in the third quarter.
The former Hawthorn rookie's strong contested marking and accurate kicking are his strengths.
Tutupu, now playing in the VFL for Frankston, added 17 disposals, seven marks, nine hitouts and five clearances.
His teammate Mykelti Lefau, a 195cm forward-midfielder, shone for the second straight week against an Australian underage line-up.
Lefau was prominent with three goals for Casey last week against the Australian under-18 team, and backed it up with 20 touches, seven marks and a goal to be one of New Zealand's better players on the Anzac weekend.
It is the eighth year the international match took place during the AFL's prestigious Anzac round and it served as a curtain-raiser to the St Kilda-Adelaide game.
The previous seven contests were played in Wellington or Auckland, and this year's clash came after players from both squads attended the Anzac Day dawn service at the War Memorial.
AUSTRALIA U17s 1.1 8.10 11.16 17.20 (122)
NEW ZEALAND 1.0 2.2 6.2 7.3 (45)
Australia: E. Hollands 3, W. Phillips 2, C. Durdin 2, Z. Trew 2, B. Campbell 2, E. Gulden 2, L. Edwards, A. Davies, O. Henry, L. McDonald
New Zealand: S. Tatupu 4, M. Lefau, M. Faimolo, M. Urwin
Australia: C. Durdin, W. Phillips, E. Hollands, A. Davies, N. Cox, C. Downie, B. Campbell, E. Gulden
New Zealand: S. Tatupu, M. Lefau, C. Ilett, M. Urwin, A. Sucu, A. Harris