Metro comes up to claim Vic bragging rights
Image Credit: Rookie Me Central
VIC METRO came to the fore at the dead and earned the title of the 2022 National Under 18 National Championship with a dramatic seven-point victory over Vic Country. Although the matches under the roof of the Marvel Stadium had ideal conditions, it was not always beautiful, but a final quarter of nine goals set the game on fire.
With plenty of top AFL Draft prospects on display in Carnival’s deciding game, it was no surprise to see Metro co-captain Will Ashcroft put in another stellar performance, winning this year’s Larke Medal before he lifted Metro’s price.
The first half was a case of ‘everything you can do, I can do better’. However, it took 17 minutes for the first goal before they came into groups. Max Gruzewski clattered a screamer and took down two majors in as many minutes, only for Aaron Cadman and Noah Long to hit back for Country.
In a similar vein, a 50-yard penalty seemed to be the only score for both sides in term two, until Bailey Humphrey finally fired one of his several shots through the big sticks to extend Country’s halftime advantage to nine points.
The sense of deja vu was only exacerbated in the third period, with much of the scoring again being done late. Harry Sheezel pulled Metro back within a kick in the first few minutes, but it took another 15 for Matthew Jefferson to take an advantage in the goal square to sneak his side forward. With one goal apiece to bring the quarter to the end, the stage was set with Metro one goal clear at the final break.
With the National Championship up for grabs, both sides went battle for battle in an exciting final term. Two goalsquare specials from Jovan Petric and Harley Reid headlined the goal for action as the heat of the match kicked it up a notch.
Metro needed something special to shake off their opponents, and Sheezel’s second goal seemed to be it. Although, Reid continued his audition for the role of spoiler on the other side, giving Lewis Hayes nightmares of one in the square to keep his side in it.
Cadman’s set shot meant Country briefly took the lead, then Jefferson emerged in no time to straighten it, before Cooper Harvey sealed the game and the championship with a minute to go.
VIC METER 3.3 | 4.4 | 7.8 | 12.8 (80)
VIC COUNTRY 2.4 | 5.7 | 6.8 | 10.13 (73)
Subway: M. Gruzewski 2, C. Clarke 2, H. Sheezel 2, M. Jefferson 2, K. Windsor, J. Petric, C. Harvey
Country: A. Cadman 3, H. Reid 2, N. Long, J. Binns, B. Humphrey, J. Konstanty
Subway: W. Ashcroft, E. Tsatas, M. Jefferson, J. Weddle, L. Hayes, A. Davey Jr
Country: O. Hollands, H. Reid, J. Clark, A. Cadman, J. Konstanty, O. Murdoch
Larke Medal: Will Ashcroft (Vic Metro)