South Australia bound for AFL Under 18s National Championships title decider | PHOTOS

Countering a potent second quarter by the Allies, South Australia regained the momentum after half time and when on win its third successive AFL Under 18s National Championships game by 24 points.

This sets up a title fight in the final round of the championship with Victorian Metro.

 After the Allies kicked 5.6 in the second quarter and led by 13 points at half-time an inspired third-quarter set up this victory at GNHBA Stadium (Kadinia Park) in Geelong, last Friday, June 29. 

In the third term ‘Showman’ Izak Rankine lit up the game and SA kicked 6.4, to take a 20-point lead into lemons. 

The final score was South Australia 13.12 (92) defeating the Allies 9.12 (66).

“Clearly they had a great second quarter,” SA coach Tony Bamford said.

“But the coaching group was confident that the boys would respond.

“They are a proud bunch and were disappointed with their work rate and effort in the second term.

 “Our first quarter was pretty dominant, with the only disappointing part being we didn't convert this in attack.

 “This group has an intriguing ability to take a hit, get back into the game and keep fighting.”

 Inspiring leader Luke Valente and three-goal small forward Izak Rankine vied for best on ground honours.

In an interesting piece of coaching number one draft prospect Jack Lukosius started on a wing. He took seven marks and 18 possessions, covering plenty of territory across the contest. 

In defence, Lucindale lad Will Gould continues his outstanding championships and vice-captain, Tanunda’s Jez McLennan as impressive, especially with a number of strong intercept marks.

 Finn Betterman worked hard both offensively and defensively finishing with 10 tackles, 16 disposals and 1.1

Other Croweaters who were noteworthy  included returning defender Aaron Nietschke, the hard working Jacob Kennerley on a wing, indigenous small forward Hayden Sampson and undersize ruckman/forward  Ben Jervis who had five scoring shots and kicked 2.3.

South Australia now face-off against the only other unbeaten team this campaign, Victorian Metro in the Championships decider on Wednesday afternoon at Etihad Stadium. 

The match will be televised live on Fox Footy. 

South Australia has only previous won the Under 18s championships twice since in the concept moved from the Teal Cup to the current format in the mid 1990s. 

They won Back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 with Brenton Phillips as coach and Luke Dunstan as captain in ‘13 and Jake Johansen as skipper the following year.

This story South Australia under 18s bound for title decider | PHOTOS first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.