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NSW/ACT breaks through

NSW/ACT has recorded its first win of the Under 18 National Championships, with a 30-point win over Queensland on day three of the carnival.

The blue and gold 9.11 (65) defeated the Scorpions 5.5 (35) in the third match of the division two section, at Skilled Stadium in Geelong on Tuesday.

NSW/ACT led at every change and controlled the majority of the game, despite never running away with the match.

Ryan Crawford – cousin of Hawthorn skipper Shane – was a stand out performer in the midfield for the NSW/ACT side, gathering 21 disposals (including 15 long kicks), while he sent the ball inside 50 on 11 occasions. Corey Brown, Shaun Daly and Brenton McAllister were other impressive ball-winners for the blue and gold.

James Meiklejohn was another fine player for NSW/ACT, showing plenty of agility and guile around the ground for a big-man. His battle in the ruck with raw, yet promising Queenslander Daniel Merrett was a feature of the game.

Queensland skipper Paul Shelton continued on from his impressive first-up match against Tasmania, with another fine performance for the Scorpions. He amassed 31 possessions (including 19 kicks and 12 handballs) and showed fine leadership for his side.

Vice-captain Tim Harders claimed 24 touches and Joel MacDonald (22 disposals) had greater influence as the game progressed.

NSW/ACT began the match in fine form, kicking three unanswered goals, before Harris posted Queensland’s first just on quarter-time.

But the highlight of the opening term was a brilliant snap from the pocket by Brown, who bent back a beauty from an-almost impossible angle for the NSW/ACT side.

Crawford was prominent from the word go, as was Shelton who had 11 touches in the opening term.

NSW/ACT led by 13 points at quarter-time and extended the margin when McAllister kicked truly to open the second term.

But Queensland fought back with two majors to trail by just four points, yet a Daly set-shot on the siren gave the NSW/ACT side a 10-point lead at the main break.

Crawford, Daly, Brown and McAllister were shining lights in the first-half, racking up over 50 possessions between them by half-time.

NSW/ACT peppered the goals in the third term, but managed just 2.6 from their return, while holding Queensland goalless for the quarter. And it wasn’t until the 15-minute mark when Meiklejohn – who starred during that period – posted NSW/ACT’s first for the second-half.

Brad Cross was the only other goalscorer for the blue and gold, when he kicked truly with his first kick of the game.

NSW/ACT gained a 28-point advantage heading into the final hit-out, but when Queensland banged two in succession to kick-start the last quarter, the Scorpions reduced the margin to three goals.

Harris had an opportunity to reduce NSW/ACT’s lead even further when he sprayed a kick on the full, while running into goal.

But a Peter Dugmore major and Bo Nixon’s second gave the blue and gold some breathing space and in the end the four points.

NSW/ACT 3.1 5.1 7.8 9.11 (65)
QUEENSLAND 1.0 3.3 3.4 5.5 (35)
GOALS: NSW/ACT: Nixon 2, Brown, Cross, Daly, Dugmore, McAllister, Meiklejohn, Murray
QLD: Constable, Harris, MacDonald, Merrett, Pask
BEST: NSW/ACT Crawford, Meiklejohn, Brown, Daly, McAllister, Dugmore, Staker
QLD: Shelton, Harders, MacDonald, Merrett, Harris, Pardew