FROM Under 16s to AFL stars, there were plenty of memorable moments from the weekend.
Future AFLW talent on show
The 2020 AFL Women’s draft crop gave spectators a glimpse of their potential on the weekend, when Vic Metro and Vic Country had respective wins over South Australia and NSW/ACT in the National AFLW Under 16 Championships. Eastern Ranges’ Olivia Meagher and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Renee Saulitis were named their respective games’ best on grounds, while Abbie Ballard and Natalie Sligar were the Most Valuable Players (MVPs) for South Australia and NSW/ACT respectively.
Performance fit for a King
In the absence of brother Max who will miss the season with an ACL injury, Ben King was the star of the show for Vic Metro in their victory over Western Australia in Round 1 of the National Under 18 Championships. King booted five goals and was a dominant force up forward, reminding draft watchers of what he is capable of. There’s no doubt many cannot wait for Vic Metro to face South Australia with King up one end and Jack Lukosius up the other. Both are genuine number one contenders and King could well find himself leap frogging quite a few names come November.
Allies’ early win
Bringing together six different teams to form one is always difficult when it comes to team cohesion, but the Allies got on the board early with a victory over Vic Country. The visitors were two players down by half-time with injuries to inside midfielder Jye Caldwell and Mitch Riordan, as the likes of Chayce Jones took control and helped the home team to an opening round victory. It will get tougher from here on, but they have the top-end talent of other sides, and will enjoy the return of key forward Nick Blakey.
Hot Pies/Freeze MND
Collingwood fans have not had a great deal to smile about the last few years, but if their 2018 form so far is anything to go by, they will have plenty of reasons this season. They still have a long way to go, but they tore in-form Melbourne to shreds on Queens Birthday in front of a huge crowd. The Freeze MND cause is fantastic, and the pre-game ‘Big Freeze’ with the 18 AFL coaches was a great stance of solidarity. On the field, the American Pie Mason Cox, and the gun-and-run youngster Jaidyn Stephenson were terrific up forward in a new-look Magpies outfit in 2018.
Under 16s start their National Championships
The Division 2 National Championships kicked off on the weekend, with Tasmania and NSW/ACT getting victories over Queensland and Northern Territory respectively. There were plenty of highlights across the two games, with the three-game series run similar to the old-style Under 18s National Championships – with NSW/ACT and Queensland in lieu of the four academies. No doubt the academies staff will be keeping a close eye on proceedings to see how their players perform against the country’s best.