By ZAC MILBANK
An inaccurate final quarter cost the Torrens University SA U18 victory against Victoria Country as the visitors escaped with a two-point win in Game 2 of the AFL National Championships at Thebarton Oval on Sunday.
Coming off an impressive 37-point win against the Allies in Game 1, the Croweaters worked hard to establish a nine-point lead at half-time after welcoming back important trio Kobe Ryan, Nick Sadler and Harry Barnett from Covid protocols in Game 1.
But this was soon whittled down when Oliver Hollands kicked truly to hand Victoria Country the lead 10 minutes into the third quarter, en route to taking a three-point edge into the final change.
Country’s Toby McMullin then kicked the only goal of the last term to push the break out to eight points with more than 15 minutes to play.
SA continued to surge throughout the fourth quarter as it registered a frustrating seven behinds, including four set shot misses.
Croweaters’ ruckman Phoenix Foster soared high for an outstanding overhead mark just inside the 50m arc to give his side one last chance but his behind in the 24th minute ensured SA would fall short.
SA captain Adam D’Aloia led the way on the statistics sheet with 28 disposals, eight tackles, seven clearances and five inside 50s while Jakob Ryan was constructive off half-back with 23 possessions and six tackles.
SA midfielders Mattaes Phillipou and Billy Dowling each had 21 disposals while Kobe Ryan logged 20 disposals and a goal upon his return.
Kelsey Rypstra was lively in attack for SA with 15 disposals and an eye-catching snap goal after spinning out of traffic while ruckman Barnett brought the crowd to its feet late in the second term with a huge overhead mark in the defensive goal square.
The Torrens University SA U18 team will now hit the road to face Victoria Metro in Geelong (July 17) and Western Australia in Perth (July 24).
Vic C 3.3 4.6 8.8 9.8 (62)
SA 2.0 6.3 8.5 8.12 (60)
BEST – SA: Harry Barnett, Adam D’Aloia, Shaun Bennier, Max Michalanney, Jakob Ryan, Archie Lovelock
GOALS – SA: Adam D’Aloia, Kobe Ryan, Kelsey Rypstra, Jake Walker, Isaac Keeler, Max Michalanney, Nick Sadler, Jack Delean
At Thebarton Oval