Vic Metro Head to South Australia
The 17th year of the NAB AFL U18 Championships goes up a gear this weekend when Division One sides South Australia and Vic Metro go head to head.
The contest promises to be a tight battle with both South Australia and Vic Metro having played the same sides leading into Round 3 with varying results. South Australia defeated Tasmania by 144 points and the Northern Territory by 29 points. Conversely, Vic Metro lost their initial game against Northern Territory by 18 points and beat Tasmania by 96 points.
Vic Metro Coach, Rohan Welsh has mixed things up in previous games by giving some bottom age players a run.
“The preliminary rounds are a great opportunity to give players a game that would not necessarily get a game if you had a reduced squad of approximately 25 players.
“This gives 36 players the opportunity not only to play for their state but to showcase their skills against the best kids in the country and in front of all the AFL recruiters. So I feel that playing these games early on in the carnival is a great change to the system,” Welsh said.
“The two games we have played have given us the chance to play some players in roles that they would not normally play therefore adding that flexibility to their skills,” Welsh said.
Vic Metro will now be selecting a more mature bodied and experienced side to face South Australia.
“We will be looking at playing our strongest team to date with the inclusion of approximately 6 new players. We will be looking at injecting a bit of leg speed along with a couple of tall marking forwards to really pressure the SA defence.”
Welsh and his coaching team have done their due diligence leading into what could be their hardest contest of the Championships.
“South Australia has a very talented group of players and they are very highly skilled. They use the ball well and can be very dangerous if given time and space to use the ball carriers and time to hit up tall forwards. They also use the handball very effectively and it will be a great challenge for our players to test themselves against the best team in the country. They have a lot of avenues to goal and they always have a lot of goal kickers.”
The NAB AFL Under 18 Championships for many players will be the first time they have travelled interstate in a group for football. Vic Metro were handed a test in Round 1, travelling to Darwin for their contest against the Northern Territory.
“This was a challenge for our group as we took approximately seven bottom age players to get the experience of travel for next season. It’s hard when you go to a place like Darwin where the weather is 30 degrees and the place you are staying looks like a resort. It was difficult to keep the players focused on the reason we were there, but in the end NT played a very hard running style of play and fully deserved their win.”
Welsh believes that his side will respond very differently this weekend in comparison to their Round 1 contest.
“We are only away for one day as opposed to four days and we are taking a more mature squad that has some very good leaders that will keep the playing group very focused. I think the win against Tassie has given the players some real confidence and the game against SA should be very physical and highly skilled game.
“The players are very excited about the challenge ahead; taking on the best team in the country and being the under dogs I think will give us a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality and that is the way we will approach this game,” Welsh said.
South Australia takes on Vic Metro at 12pm on Saturday 16th June at Alberton Oval in Adelaide.
Follow the game via @TACCup or follow #nabaflu18s
Click the link below for the Vic Metro side to take on South Australia.