ISAAC Heeney did as he has done all year, powering through the midfield to help New South Wales/ACT claim the division two Under-18s title with a 13-point win over Queensland.
Heeney, an explosive, strong and competitive midfielder, gathered 21 touches and helped turn the game his side's way in the second and third terms as they ran out 8.10 (58) to 6.9 (45) victors at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old's consistent NAB AFL Under-18 Championships – he averaged 24 disposals across the three games – saw him win the Harrison Medal as the best player of division two, and underlined why the Sydney Swans will need to pay top price for the academy recruit.
After a tight first term, it was the Rams' midfielders who gave their side the edge, with Tyler Roos (20 disposals) and Jack Steele (16 and two goals) also impressing.
Queensland was wasteful early but continued to fight to the end of the game, with Matt Hammelmann continuing his impressive championships in attack. Hammelmann took five marks but couldn't convert his chances, ending with 1.3.
Captain Darcy Cameron-Reeves was busy with 23 disposals, while bottom-aged midfielder Ben Keays showed he will be a player to watch next year when eligible for the draft, finishing with 21 disposals and two quality goals.
This game presented an interesting situation for the countless recruiters in the crowd, with most of the standout players already tied to clubs under the northern clubs' academy system.
Of the winning Rams team, Heeney, athletic forward Abe Davis and hard-working midfielder Jordan Foote are with the Swans, while Steele, mobile forwards Jeremy Finlayson (17 disposals) and Nick Coughlan, and wingman Liam Griffiths are members of the Greater Western Sydney academy.
Tall trio Hammelmann, Matthew Uebergang, Nick Jackson and the injured Liam Dawson – who will miss four-to-six weeks with a fractured scapula – are among the prospects already with the Brisbane Lions academy.
Other clubs can bid for the players at October's father-son and academy bidding meeting, and as the northern clubs won't use all of their selections on their academy players, it means some may fall through the NAB AFL Draft.
Isaac Heeney receives the Harrison Medal from Brad Johnson at Etihad Stadium. Picture: AFL Media
QUEENSLAND 0.6 1.7 4.8 6.9 (45)
NSW/ACT 1.1 3.5 7.7 8.10 (58)
Queensland: Keays 2, Bertoli-Simmonds, Hammelman, Weller, Andrews
NSW/ACT: Steele 2, Hodgson, Carroll, Davis, Finlayson, Griffiths, Mattingly
Queensland: Keays, Cameron-Reeves, Mosley, Trask, Jackson, Hammelmann
NSW/ACT: Heeney, Mills, Steele, Finlayson, Roos, Mattingly