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South Australia wins back-to-back U18 championships

South Australia celebrates winning the 2014 NAB AFL Under 18 Championship match between VIC Metro and South Australia at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on July 03, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
The South Australian team celebrates a great championship win
SOUTH Australia has claimed back-to-back NAB AFL Under-18 division one championships, defeating Vic Metro in a nine-point thriller at Simonds Stadium on Thursday.

Despite the loss, Vic Metro’s Christian Petracca capped off his outstanding carnival by taking out the Larke Medal as the best player of division one.

The explosive 185cm midfielder-forward produced exceptional disposal under pressure, collecting a team-high 17 disposals (10 contested), four clearances and six score involvements.

The Croweaters’ 11.13 (79) to 10.10 (70) triumph was their fifth victory of the carnival from six starts, while Vic Metro ended the championships with three wins along with Vic Country.

Click here for all the results from the NAB AFL U18 Championships

On the back of his 27 touches against Vic Country last Friday, Caleb Daniel was again influential, providing his team with genuine speed and elusiveness.

The South Adelaide livewire, who stands at 167cm, collected 21 possessions at 86 percent efficiency, four inside-50s, five tackles, three goals and eight score involvements.

Daniel also provided strong rebound across half-back and through the midfield as he propelled his team into attack and looked composed under pressure all game.

Small forward Josh Hone underlined his capacity to take contested overhead marks, registering a game-high four goals, as well as six inside-50 marks.

Dean Gore won his own ball and proved he can have an impact going forward, courtesy of his strong frame and terrific hands, finishing with 21 disposals (11 contested).

The inside midfielder, who stands at 183cm and weighs 86kg, was superb at the stoppages and possessed an uncanny ability to keep his feet, with eight clearances, eight inside-50s and seven score involvements.

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Another player who impressed for the Croweaters was potential Melbourne father-son recruit Billy Stretch, son of Steven (164 games for the Demons), who proved he’ll be a valuable commodity at AFL level.

Stretch provided plenty of run through the wings with his excellent decision-making abilities, collecting 16 disposals.

SA’s quick transition from defence into its attacking end proved the difference, with Alex Neal-Bullen playing his best game of the carnival, gathering a game-high 23 possessions (13 contested), four clearances and five tackles.

James Rose presented well at the contests all match and kicked the sealer from an accurate set shot at goal in the final minute of play.

Jayden Laverde was the key focal point in attack for Metro, kicking three goals to go with 11 possessions (eight contested) and seven score involvements.

The versatile midfielder, who started the match on the wing before pushing forward, brought his teammates into the game courtesy of his brilliant pace and agility.

Versatile midfielder-forward Jordan De Goey, touted as a first-round prospect, was both creative and courageous with the ball, impressing with 14 touches and a goal.

Vic Metro skipper Touk Miller impressed with two majors, while fellow midfielders Angus Brayshaw and Damien Cavka had 13 disposals apiece.

Cory Gregson clears under pressure from a swag of Victorians. Picture: AFL Media

Vic Metro            1.3  5.6  7.9  10.10 (70)
South Australia  4.1  5.6  8.8  11.13 (79)

Vic Metro:
Laverde 3, Miller 2, Ahern, Moore, Payne, Castagna, De Goey
South Australia: Hone 4, Daniel 3, Carey 2, Read, Rose

Vic Metro:
Laverde, De Goey, Petracca, Ahern, Miller, Brayshaw
South Australia: Daniel, Hone, Neal-Bullen, Stretch, Rose, Carey