By ZAC MILBANK
A fleet-footed Western Australia proved too swift for the Torrens University SA U18 Team, earning a 20-point win in Game 4 of the NAB AFL National Championships in Perth on Sunday.
Seeking to respond to their 73-point loss to Victoria Metro in Game 3, the Croweaters made as many as seven changes as the likes of Sturt father-son Luca Slade and tall forward Tom Scully made their carnival debut.
And when the visitors had a goal kicked by Archie Lovelock within the opening 44 seconds, their intent to respond at Joondalup’s Pentanet Stadium was evident.
But the Sandgropers’ small forwards went to work, causing the SA defenders plenty of headaches as they continually found space inside their attacking 50m arc.
The hosts then kicked four of the next six majors to take a handy lead seven-point lead into the first change, which they extended out to 15 points by half-time.
Athletic forward Ashton Moir looked lively for SA, kicking the visitors’ only two goals for the second term while displaying the eye-catching traits which have him on the watch list for the 2023 AFL Draft.
It gave Tony Bamford’s charges impetus to outscore WA in the third term as they drew within seven points at three-quarter time.
Glenelg’s Moir was at it again early in the final term, using his body well to mark in the pocket before snapping from his set shot to keep his side within two goals.
But by the time he nailed his game-high fourth major after marking a neat pass from Jake Walker, the damage had been done as WA extended their advantage with four minutes to play.
Moir was fittingly adjudged as SA’s best player after finishing with 11 disposals, eight marks and three inside 50s to go with his four goals.
SA ruck Harry Barnett not only worked hard in the centre square but also around the ground as he tallied 14 disposals, four marks, 15 hit outs and four clearances while his captain Adam D’Aloia battled tirelessly for an equal team-high 23 disposals.
D’Aloia’s consistency throughout the tournament was rewarded after being named SA’s Most Valuable Player.
SA finished its campaign with a 1-3 win-loss record, defeating the Allies in Game 1 by 37 points before succumbing to Victoria Country by two points, Victoria Metro and Western Australia.
Western Australia 4.2 7.6 9.7 15.10 (100)
South Australia 3.1 5.3 8.6 12.8 (80)
BEST – SA: Ashton Moir, Tyson Walls, Harry Barnett, Adam D’Aloia, Will Patton, Jakob Ryan
GOALS – SA: Ashton Moir 4, Will Verrall 2, Adam D’Aloia, Kobe Ryan, Archie Lovelock, Mattaes Phillipou, Shaun Bennier, Isaac Keeler
At Pentanet Stadium, Joondalup, Perth
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