IN what is seen as an annual scratch match for the Allies and two Victorian sides, the double header at Ikon Park treated spectators to two close contests. The Allies came from the behind in game one to run over the top of Vic Country, while in the second game, Metro did enough to hold off the Allies to get the job done.
Allies 15.12 (102) defeated Vic Country 11.9 (75)
In a game where it was the Sam Walsh show early, the Geelong Falcons midfielder and potential top five pick did everything he could to help Country to an early lead. Walsh missed the last TAC Cup game so was named to only play half the match, which he did with style. He controlled the midfield against the likes of Chayce Jones, Mitchell O’Neill, Ethan Jackson and Josh Stern, leading the way for his side.
Along with Walsh, Gippsland Power captain Xavier Duursma was huge off half-back, combining with Laitham Vandermeer to provide some run and carry from defence. Duursma won plenty of the football in the back half and along the wing, as did Murray Bushrangers’ Lachlan Ash who started forward and booted the opening goal of the game. Dandenong Stingrays’ tall Bailey Williams had a quiet first half before exploding in the third term, taking some clean one-handed pick-ups off the deck and finishing the game with two goals. Scott Carlin also had some laser passes throughout the match, while Zac Foot continually used his speed to worry the Allies side.
For the Allies, Connor McFayden was arguably their best by the end, providing a target up forward and finishing with four goals – and could have had a couple more. He was the go-to target up there with Murray Bushrangers’ Jacob Koschitzke who just had the one goal, but also had multiple attempts. Through the midfield, it was O’Neill, Jones and Jackson that got the Allies on top late in the game, while Jeromy Lucas bobbed up every 15 minutes for a goal. Jones finished the game with two classy goals and a strong effort. Connor Budarick and Keidean Coleman were others who showed some classy moments at times.
Allies: McFayden 4, Lucas 3, Jones 2, Mummery, Sloan, Koschitzke, Kelly, Jackson, Stern.
Vic Country: Walsh 2, Williams 2, Ash, Brownless, Vandermeer, Flanders, Schlensog, Bowman, Garoni.
Allies: McFayden, O’Neill, Jackson, Jones, Koschitzke
Vic Country: Walsh, Duursma, Ash, Williams, Vandermeer
Vic Metro 10.10 (70) defeated Allies 6.11 (47)
In the second match, an understrength Vic Metro side got the job done against a Tarryn Thomas and Matthew Green inspired Allies team. Metro chose to rest all of its top-age AFL Academy members, with the Metro squad still yet to be reduced – the trial acts as the catalyst for cutting down the numbers. Metro always seemed to be a step ahead of the Allies, but both teams put in a contested effort.
On the day, Oakleigh Chargers’ Riley Collier-Dawkins (two goals) and Western Jets’ Xavier O’Halloran were huge through the middle, combining well with Chargers’ big ball winner James Rowbottom. In defence, Stefan Radovanovic provided plenty of run in tandem with potential Collingwood father-son Will Kelly, who also spent the early quarters forward. Jack Evans was one of the better players in the second half playing forward, while talls Mark Baker and Joe Griffiths provided some aerial strength around the ground. Sandringham Dragons’ forward James Rendell popped up to be a target throughout, while Joe Ayton-Delaney and Tom McKenzie were others who showed class.
For the Allies, it was no surprise to see Under 18 Academy Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) Tarryn Thomas at the top of the best for the Allies. While he found the going tougher than at the division two level, he still stood out, combining with fellow AFL Academy member Matthew Green who, sporting a new hairstyle, was prominent on the outside. Along with key targets Thomas Green and Liam Delahunty, and the work of GWS GIANTS MVP winner Kieren Briggs, the Allies put up a good fight against the Metro side. Izaak Wyatt booted the first two goals of he game and was the only multiple goal kicker in the end for the Allies, while Guy Richardson, Kyle McKellar and Ryan Gilmore were others who impressed.
Vic Metro: Collier-Dawkins 2, Griffiths, Sholl, Radovanovic, Baker, McKenzie, Evans, Jeka, Hanrahan
Allies: Wyatt 2, Thomas, Auckland, Delahunty, McDonald.
Vic Metro: Collier-Dawkins, Rowbottom, O’Halloran, Radovanovic, Kelly
Allies: Thomas, M Green, Richardson, Briggs, Delahunty