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U18: Bottom-ager Hill impresses in WA's win

Ian Hill (left) flies for a mark - AFL,Draft,Under-18s,Ian Hill
Ian Hill (left) flies for a mark

SMOOTH-MOVING West Australian bottom-age prospect Ian Hill has proved why he is considered a likely early pick in next year's NAB AFL Draft with an eye-catching performance in his state's 29-point win over Vic Country in the Under-18 Championships at Etihad Stadium.

The indigenous youngster has regularly starred at under-17 level and recruiters and fans watching on Friday got another glimpse of his special talent against players who will be on AFL lists next year.

Hill, 17, (25 disposals and five inside 50s) covered the ground with class and precision, providing plenty of dash and drive as Western Australia held off a fast-finishing Vic Country 12.10 (82) to 7.11 (53).

Nicknamed 'Bobby' by WA teammates, there is a certain grace about the way Hill moves – he ran away from opponents with speed and stopped them in their tracks with a clever 'goose step'. 

Brayden Ainsworth, a 19-year-old product from Subiaco via Esperance, and Jake Patmore won plenty of the football for Western Australia, regularly burrowing into the bottom of packs and feeding the ball out to teammates. 

Patmore finished with a game-high 32 disposals, while Ainsworth (26 disposals, seven tackles, eight clearances and one goal) was WA's most consistent four-quarter contributor.

Bottom-age forward Jarrad Fazioli, a late inclusion into WA's team, kicked a match-high four goals. Rangy forward Oscar Allen – one of the state's top prospects in this year's draft, nailed three majors and continues to impress.

Western Australia was in full control of the match in the first half, kicking six goals to Country's two and not allowing their opponents to have many meaningful possessions in their forward half.

But after a flat opening, Country found life in the third term as they booted four goals to WA's two, and, when potential No.1 draft pick Luke Davies-Uniacke marked and goaled on the three-quarter time siren, the margin was cut to just 15 points at the final change.

WA steadied in the final term, after two misses from Vic Country's Gryan Miers in front of the big sticks, and scooted out to a 29-point buffer as the final siren sounded.

Davies-Uniacke took a while to work into the match but demonstrated his ball-winning ability and vision in traffic to collect an equal team-high 23 disposals.

Cassidy Parish, the younger brother of Essendon's Darcy, finished with 21 touches, while midfielder Sam Walsh (22 touches), eligible for next year's draft, was also prolific.

Paddy Dow (23 touches and six clearances) Lochie O'Brien (18 touches and seven inside 50s) are others who can hold their heads high from Country. 

VIC COUNTRY                         1.1       2.2      6.5       7.11 (53)        
WESTERN AUSTRALIA           3.4      6.7       8.8      12.10 (82)

VIC COUNTRY: Daniels 2, Quigley, O'Brien, Dow, Davies-Uniacke, Williams
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Fazioli 4, Allen 3, Stack, Ainsworth, West, Cramer, Young

VIC COUNTRY: O'Brien, Walsh, Davies-Uniacke, Dow, Parish, Daniels
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Ainsworth, Hill, Patmore, Boullineau, Naughton, Allen