By ZAC MILBANK
The Torrens University SA U18 Team has succumbed to a powerful Victoria Metro outfit by 73 points in Game 3 of the NAB AFL National Championships at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.
Having defeated the Allies in Game 1 and losing to Victoria Country by just two points in Game 2, the Croweaters were outclassed by their fierce rivals who thrived with an efficient brand of football amid the heavy rain in Geelong.
SA captain Adam D’Aloia pounced on a loose ball in the goal square to kick the first goal of the game in the 11th minute of the first term.
Despite dominating this opening period of the match, the Croweaters then conceded the next six goals in succession until talented utility Mattaes Phillipou goaled on the run from 45m.
But by the time Phillipou’s eye-catching major, coming after a nice pass from teammate Nick Sadler, sailed through in the 23rd minute of the final term, SA suddenly found itself behind by 31 points heading into half-time.
The inside 50m count during the pivotal second quarter illustrated the hosts’ dominance as they made the most of their 18-4 advantage.
SA’s Archie Lovelock and Harvey Pedler kicked two of the first three goals of the third term to give their side a spark after the main change but any momentum was soon snuffed out by the Navy Blues, who then kicked the next three in a row.
Torrens University SA U18 coach Tony Bamford changed things up to start the fourth term, moving key defender Shaun Bennier into attack while shifting tall forward Harry Lemmey deep into defence after also having a run in the ruck.
Bennier was quick to make the most of his move, snapping a nice goal from a tight angle in the pocket on his left foot.
But that would be SA’s last major of the day as they were laden with a 1-2 win-loss record after three matches in the NAB AFL National Championships.
SA’s prime midfielders Billy Dowling (28 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s, three rebound 50s) and D’Aloia (27 disposals, 11 clearances) worked hard across the four quarters.
Defender Max Michalanney was fierce with his five tackles while also collecting 11 disposals while fellow backman Jakob Ryan provided plenty of dash and creativity with his 22 disposals, eight marks and five rebound 50s.
Bennier and Lovelock were lauded by SA’s coaching panel for their efforts in trying to drag their team back into the contest, Lovelock kicking a nice goal after keeping his feet on the goalline in the third quarter.
SA will now prepare for its final game of the carnival against Western Australia in Perth on Sunday July 24.
Victoria Metro 2.3 6.8 10.12 16.15 (111)
South Australia 1.1 2.1 4.3 5.8 (38)
BEST – SA: Max Michalanney, Jakob Ryan, Shaun Bennier, Adam D’Aloia, Billy Dowling, Archie Lovelock
GOALS – SA: Adam D’Aloia, Archie Lovelock, Harvey Pedler, Mattaes Phillipou, Shaun Bennier
At GMHBA Stadium, Geelong