By ZAC MILBANK
The Torrens University SA Under-18 team has kick-started its campaign with a hard-fought 11-point win against Western Australia in Perth on Saturday.
Despite trailing the Sandgropers in several key statistic categories, the Croweaters displayed great resilience and efficiency to break clear of the hosts during the third term.
Booting four goals to WA’s one during the premiership quarter, Tony Bamford’s charges were able to hold on during the tense final term at the new Optus Stadium.
SA captain Will Gould led a valiant defensive unit which was forced to absorb a mountain of pressure as WA engineered 11 more inside 50 entries.
North Adelaide talls Dyson Hilder and Karl Finlay did their bit with Hilder taking some intercept marks while Luke Edwards was impressive with his composure in rebounding the ball from the back half.
Eagles midfielders Harry Schoenberg and Lachie McNeil did plenty of heavy lifting, with 38 disposals between them as the former set up the sealing goal with a handball over the top to under-ager Corey Durdin.
McNeil also showed off the defensive side to his play by laying a game-high 12 tackles.
Norwood’s Dylan Stephens was SA’s leading disposal winner with 23 as he ran into the right spaces to find the ball while his Redlegs’ team-mate Cam Taheny helped break the game open with two goals in the third term.
Excitement machine Kysaiah Pickett showed off his skills with a remarkable left foot snap goal from the boundary line during the third quarter.
The Torrens University SA Under-18 team will now turn its attention to facing Victoria Metro in Game 2 at Alberton Oval next Saturday afternoon.
GAME 1 – Optus Stadium (Perth)
SA 1.1 2.2 6.3 7.4 (46)
WA 1.2 2.4 3.6 4.11 (35)
LEADING DISPOSALS – SA: Stephens 23, Gould 21, Edwards, Schoenberg 20, McNeil 18, Shute 17, Finlay, Mead 16, Hilder, O’Brien, McEnttee 15.
GOALS – SA: Taheny 2, Park, Pickett, Tucker, Durdin, Mead.