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South Australia downs Vic Metro in U18s led by flying Francis

Luke Partington of South Australia poses for a photograph during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships headshot session at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 1 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Luke Partington was among South Australia's best on Saturday

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TALL defender Aaron Francis has produced an aerial master-class to lead South Australia to a 25-point win over Vic Metro at AAMI Stadium on Saturday.

The highly rated backman, who has already played several senior games at SANFL level, took 12 marks, including 11 intercepts, to drive SA to its first win of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

Francis, who is 191cm and 88kg, also finished with 17 disposals and six rebound 50s in the best on ground display, reinforcing his great talent.

The Croweaters built a match-winning 34-point lead at half-time and were never seriously challenged, eventually winning 13.15 (93) to 10.8 (68).

SA forward Oleg Markov, whose father Dmitiri was a world pole vault champion, was the other star, booting five goals. His emergence would have been the big talking point for recruiters post-match after an injury-interrupted 2014 meant he missed out on his AFL opportunity.

Midfielder Luke Partington backed up his standout performance from round one with 24 possessions, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Will Snelling (23 possessions) impressed.

Metro made a short-lived rally in the third quarter after back-to-back goals from famous names Jack Silvagni and Jordan Matera, going into the final term trailing by 27 points. However, their midfield couldn't match it with SA, losing the clearances (39-29) and the inside 50s (52-38).

The margin could have been much greater given SA's inaccuracy in front of goal.

Metro's major ball-winners were Nicholas O'Kearney (28 possessions) and Jade Gresham (27), who each had six clearances as their team's leading midfielders.

Oakleigh Chargers forward Daniel Houston booted four goals and took six marks, while Harley Balic racked up 26 possessions.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA   4.4  7.8  9.13  13.15 (93)
VIC METRO                 0.3  2.4   6.4    10.8 (68)

South Australia: Markov 5, Redman 3, Allen 2, Nunn, Milera, Combe
Vic Metro: Houston 4, Matera 2, Leonardis, Crocker, Answerth, Silvagni

South Australia: Francis, Markov, Partington, Olekains, Snelling, Milera
Vic Metro: O'Kearney, Gresham, Houston, Gallucci, Balic, Leonardis