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FUTURE father-son draft prospect Will Ashcroft stamped himself as one of the brightest stars in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft class as he steered Victoria Metro to an impressive 34-point win over Victoria Country in its opening match of the NAB AFL Under-17 Championships

Leading narrowly at every change, the Victorian Metro team kicked four goals to nil in the final term to run out comfortable winners at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday. 

Ashcroft, the son of former Brisbane Lions triple-premiership star Marcus, was outstanding in collecting 33 disposals (12 clearances) and kicking two superb goals in a stunning best-on-ground performance.

Will Ashcroft in action during the U17 clash between Vic Country and Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on June 26, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Hard-edged midfielder George Wardlaw (22 disposals) and creative forward Harry Sheezel (three goals) also shone for the Metro team, who gave former Collingwood champ Travis Cloke a win as coach to kick off its championship campaign. 

Victoria Country’s best included Oliver Hollands, brother of 2020 Gold Coast draftee Elijah, whose 22 disposals caught the eye.

Bottom-aged defender George Stevens was also impressive, his clean hands and clever ball use placing him among his side’s better players. 

Oliver Hollands gets his handball away during the U17 Championships match between Vic Country and Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on June 26, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Earlier, in the first match of the series, Jack Delean’s three goals helped South Australia to a heart-stopping three-point win over Western Australia at Hisense Stadium in Adelaide. Adam D’Aloia (30 disposals) was the Croweaters’ best player on the day.

For Western Australia, defenders Jedd Busslinger and Daniel Curtin were among their team’s best.

Matches are scheduled to continue in the championships in Queensland next month.

VICTORIA METRO 12.8 (80) defeated VICTORIA COUNTRY 7.4 (46)

GOALS

Victoria Metro: Sheezel 3, Ashcroft 2, Harvey 2, Jefferson, Harvey, Windsor, Wardlaw, Tsatas.

Victoria Country: George 2, Long, Moodie, Duursma, Ronstanty, Fogarty.

BEST

Victoria Metro: Ashcroft, Sheezel, Wardlaw, Tsatas, Hayes, Pascu.

Victoria Country: Hollands, Van Es, Moodie, Szybkowski, Clark, Clohesy.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 8.8 (56) defeated WESTERN AUSTRALIA 7.11 (53)

GOALS

South Australia: Delean 3, Keeler 2, Slade, Phillipou, Barnett. 

Western Australia: Sanchez 2, Williams 2, Cleaver, Scaife, Brown.

BEST

South Australia: D’Aloia, Sadler, Walls, Delean, Patton, Michalanney.

Western Australia: Busslinger, Curtin, Cleaver, Sanchez, Condon.