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Croweaters lose to Vic Metro

Reigning title holder Vic Metro has opened the division one section of the National AFL under-18 championships with a hard fought 21-point victory over South Australia.

The Metro 15.7 (97) defeated the Croweaters 10.16 (76) in the first of a double-header at the MCG on Sunday.

After trailing at quarter-time, Vic Metro hit back with seven goals-to-two in the second term, which was a crucial period in the overall context of the game, as the second-half produced seven-goals-to-five in favour of the home side.

Vic Metro had several fine players with Luke Herrington shining up forward with five goals, while Eddie Betts also chipped in with three majors. Brayden Shaw – the son of 1990 Collingwood premiership captain Tony – finished the mach with 17 possessions, while tall Chris Stewart and midfielder Linden Fredericks were others to impress.

But despite the loss, South Australian young gun Adam Cooney confirmed he would be one of the most sought after players come draft time, when he was arguably best-on-ground with 25 disposals. The classy blonde-haired midfielder showed plenty of strength and skill, while he also pushed up forward and booted two goals. Key ball-winners Brad Symes and Josh Willoughby were others to impress, along with 200cm ruckman Clint Dubieniecki for visitors.

However, South Australia began the match in a positive fashion booting three goals to one, to gain a 16-point lead at quarter-time.

The Croweaters extended the margin out to 23 points when impressive youngster Ryan Griffin kicked truly to open the second term, but Vic Metro fought back with five unanswered goals to hit the front.

Classy South Australian midfielder David Kellett posted one at the 19-minute to keep the Croweaters right in the match, but the Metro hit back with two more goals in time-on to gain a 12-point lead at half-time.

The third term proved to be an even contest, when the Vic Metro added four goals to three, yet when Herrington booted his fourth after the siren, the home side led by 16 points.

Although the margin was well within reach for South Australia in the final term, Vic Metro added three goals to two to hang on for its first victory of the championships.

VICTORIA METRO: 1.1 8.4 12.6 15.7 (97)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 3.5 5.10 8.14 10.16 (76)

GOALS: Victoria Metro: Herrington 5, Betts 3, May 2, Davis, McLean, Shaw, Stanton, Stewart
South Australia: Cooney 2, Miller 2, Pfitzner 2, Griffin, Kellett, Symes, Willoughby
BEST: Victoria Metro: Fredericks, Herrington, Stewart, May, Dyson, Shaw
South Australia: Symes, Cooney, Brakenridge, Kellett, Jordan, Willoughby, Dubieniecki
At the MCG