IN the past week, we have seen young guns rewarded for their sensational form, and the power of youth at the AFL level, which made for some memorable moments.
Prespakis and Morrison claim joint MVP
The Under 18 Womens National Championships wrapped up last Friday with the Victorian sides proving strongest, losing just one game each. It was only fitting that number one pick contenders Maddy Prespakis of Vic Metro and Nina Morrison of Vic Country were crowned joint MVP’s, and slotted straight into the 48-player All Australian squad. On a successful final day at Bond University, Prespakis led Metro to a comfortable win over Central Allies with arguably her best showing of the carnival. The second game saw hosts Queensland grab their second-straight win with a solid showing against Eastern Allies, while Morrison and Sophie Van De Huevel helped set up a big win for Vic Country over Western Australia. If the talent of these girls is anything to go by, the future of Womens football is incredibly bright – and it will be on full show as the All Australian squad partakes in the curtain raiser to the EJ Whitten Legends game at Adelaide Oval on Friday, August 31.
SA continue domination
Friday also saw the conclusion of the Under 16 Boys National Championships, with South Australia defeating Vic Metro to claim the title outright. Corey Durdin was awarded the Kevin Sheehan Medal and South Australian MVP for his outstanding performances from midfield throughout each of the games. Others to catch the eye for SA were the small and tall forward duo of Isaiah Dudley and Kaine Baldwin, as well as potential Adelaide father-son Luke Edwards. Having been victorious in both the U16 and U18 carnivals, South Australian talent pathways seem to be having the desired effect, with the Western Australian team also looking ominous in a demolition of Vic Country on the final day in Brisbane. With Metro’s victory over Country in Round One the only Victorian win this year, it’s fair to say both sides their work cut out for them if they’re to catch the opposition in two year’s time.
Majak and Aliir steal the show
In a game that saw 31 goals and an abundance of momentum swings, it was Majak Daw and Aliir Allir who stole the show with their enthralling battle throughout Sunday afternoon’s fixture. Despite spending the majority of the game down back matched up against Daw, it was Aliir who stepped up to slot the winning goal for Sydney as they ran out six-point victors. The young Swan merely sweetened an outstanding display, collecting 23 disposals and 10 marks in an awesome display of defensive work rate. Not to be outdone, Daw, who has spent most of his season down back, booted four goals from his six marks (four inside 50) to almost pull North over the line. In an interview with Fox Footy’s Matt Balmer, Aliir said “I think if there were any African kids watching out there today, that was an example of it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can play at the highest level, you can do anything in this country”. Inspiring and important to say the least.
Young Lions continue to grow
A rejuvinated Brisbane side is reaping the rewards of entrsuting its youth with senior responsibility, claiming their third-consecutive win. Stars Hugh McCluggage, Cam Rayner and Jarrod Berry hit the back page of the Courier Mail this week on the back of their form, and an upset 33-point win over Hawthorn at their Tasmanian fortress. With fans and media-types alike showing faith in the battling side, material reward has finally been granted in the form of four points. The Lions now move on to a tough fixture at home against a surging Adelaide outfit, fresh off a season-reviving win over Geelong. It’ll be a good test for the young Lions to see whether they can maintain a month’s worth of good results.
Gasper hits Calder for six
Jake Gasper continued his impressive goalscoring form of late in the TAC Cup with a bag of six against Calder in Round 12 action at the weekend. His half-dozen comes after hauls of three and four against Metro opponents in the previous two rounds, bringing his tally to 27 for the season. Gasper collected 16 disposals, three marks and two tackles to go with his bag of goals. The impressive feat helped Oakleigh to an important 18-point win over fellow top eight contenders Calder, as the likes of bottom-ager Noah Anderson stepped up with three goals and likely Collingwood father-son Will Kelly also pitched in with 21 disposals and eight marks across the back half.