Torrens University SA U18 Team defeat Victoria Country

Torrens University SA U18 players Jack Delean (left) and Luca Slade (right) celebrate with Tyler Welsh (No.42) after he kicked the opening goal against Victoria Country at the AFL National Championships. Picture - Graham Denholm (AFL Photos)


The Torrens University SA U18 team hit top gear as it cruised to an impressive 19-point win against Victoria Country in Game 3 of the AFL National Championships in Melbourne.

Playing with as many as six underage players eligible for the 2024 AFL Draft, the Croweaters were fuelled by standout displays from two of those players in midfielder Sid Draper and fey forward Tyler Welsh.

Draper, who has arguably been SA’s best in losses to the Allies and Victoria Metro, was again classy through the centre square with 29 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s as his team weathered an early storm in conceding the opening four goals.

Playing his first game of the Championships, Welsh – the son of former Crow Scott Welsh – looked completely at ease at the level, kicking a game-high five goals.

”I was bit nervous before the game as I tried to get int the zone but I came and let everything out and focused on the team –  it was really fun,” Welsh told Fox Footy after the match.

”He (father Scott) tells me to work hard and play with intensity by leading hard up the ground while going for my marks.”

Confronted with a 25-point deficit inside the opening 11 minutes of the match, the Croweaters showed plenty of spirit to work their way back into the contest by using the ball nicely via foot to register 30 more marks than their opponents.

Welsh and athletic small forward Jack Delean went to work in stemming the tide as SA trailed by just seven points at the opening change before hitting the front two minutes into the second stanza thanks to Delean.

Kicking four goals for the morning, Delean’s second was a beauty as he snapped over his shoulder from a tight angle while using all of his natural goalsense.

”It was a much better effort than in the first two game, we came out with a lot of effort and intensity so I was really proud of the boys,” Delean told Fox Footy after the match.

”I prepared well, stayed confident in my ability. I like a celebration, it helps get the boys pumped up.”

High-flying Ashton Moir also sprang to life early in the match, using his body well to kick his first major before playing on from a sliding chest mark to wheel around on his left successfully from beyond 50m.

Two more bottom-agers in Louie Montgomery and Phoenix Hargrave hit the scoreboard with consecutive goals to regain the lead heading into half-time.

From there, the visitors were never headed as they banged on 7.3 to 5.1 in the second half to claim a well-earned victory at Ikon Park, the home of Carlton Football Club.

Eye-catching defender Bodie Ryan (14 disposals, six rebound 50s) did an excellent job of curtailing potential No.1 pick Harley Reid after he kicked the opening three goals of the game while promising ruckman Taylor Goad was a fine performer for SA with eight disposals, 23 hit outs and a clever snap goal along the ground in the third term.

The Torrens University SA U18 team will now aim to end its campaign on a high with a second win in its last outing against Western Australia in Perth next Saturday.

Torrens University SA U18 coach Tony Bamford. Picture – Graham Denholm (AFL Photos)


Sunday June 18
Game 3 – AFL U18 National Championships
Ikon Park, Melbourne

South Australia  3.1  8.1  12.3  15.4 (94)

Victoria Country  4.2  6.8  9.9  11.9 (75)

BEST – SA: Bodie Ryan, Tyler Welsh, Jack Delean, Taylor Goad, Sid Draper, Phoenix Hargrave

GOALS – SA: Tyler Welsh 5, Jack Delean 4, Ashton Moir 2, Phoenix Hargrave, Louie Montgomery, Taylor Goad, Tom Luck

Torrens University SA U18 forward Tyler Welsh celebrates one of his five goals. Picture – Graham Denholm (AFL Photos)

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