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Wingard leads SA to big win

Chad Wingard picked up 18 first-half possessions against NSW/ACT

SOUTH Australian captain Chad Wingard has delivered on his promise as a potential top-five pick at this year's NAB AFL Draft, guiding the Croweaters to a comfortable 75-point win over NSW/ACT in week two of the Under-18 Championships at AAMI Stadium on Saturday.

Wingard picked up 24 possessions against the Rams, including 18 in a dominant first-half display to help set up the 19.19 (133) to 9.4 (58) win.

The Sturt onballer, who also won five clearances, was shifted out of the midfield when the floodgates opened in the second half, and finished the game on the bench.

SA's 'bottom-aged' forwards also played starring roles in the win.

Woodville-West Torrens forward Matt McDonough (five goals), Glenelg star Ben Kennedy (four goals) and lively Port Magpies utility Sam Mayes (four goals) combined to kick 13 of the team's 19 goals.

Mayes' performance equalled his four-goal haul in the team's win over Queensland last weekend.

Kennedy, 17, and McDonough, 17, are both ineligible to be drafted, but either (or both) can be listed by Greater Western Sydney as one/two of four 17-year-olds, who can then be on-traded to an interested club.

Kennedy, who was playing his first game of the championships, is the shortest player in the team (174cm) but his poise, pressure skills and neat left foot have already seen him become a star at SANFL level.

Mayes, who only turned 17 last month, doesn't fall into GWS' January-April , 1994 window and can't be drafted by an AFL club until next year.

The 187cm utility kicked the opening two goals of the game, displaying strong marking skills and also agility to win the ground ball.

Midfielder Mitch Grigg (23 possessions and six clearances), attacking defender Alex Forster (22 possessions and nine marks) and Rory Laird (19 disposals) were also instrumental.

Ashley Morris was lively across half-forward for the Rams, amassing 25 touches, six marks and a goal.

Defender Matt Lodge also gathered 25 possessions and showed great courage, taking an inspirational pack mark in the first quarter.

Collingwood scholarship holder Jarrod Witts (17 hit-outs and 18 possessions) enjoyed a good battle with Brodie Grundy (14 disposals and 20 hit-outs).

David Coward (17 possessions) also displayed good speed and poise.

The margin was only 19 points at quarter-time, but the home team doubled the visitors' score after the first change, kicking 14 goals to the visitors' seven to record its second win of the championships.

South Australia     5.4  10.9  14.14  19.19 (133)
NSW/ACT            2.3  5.4  6.4  9.4  (58)

South Australia: McDonough 5, Kennedy, Mayes 4, Murdoch 2, Forster, Neale, Simpson, Toumpas
NSW/ACT: Flagg, Cunningham 2, Milne, Potter, Ryan, Morris, Moller

South Australia: Forster, Laird, Wingard, Raikiwasa, Toumpas, Grundy, Mayes, McDonough
NSW/ACT: Morris, Coward, Witts, Taylor

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs