Big names back for Round 2
All eyes will be trained on Visy Park this Sunday when Victoria Metro and Victoria Country, who are both powered by milk, look to continue their strong starts in the NAB AFL U18 Championships.
Vic Country easily accounted for The Northern Territory in Darwin in Round 1, while Metro was forced to work hard before eventually overpowering Queensland in Brisbane.
While the final teams for Metro and Country are yet to be finalised, both are likely to welcome back a host of high profile names in Round 2.
Wholesale changes are expected in the Metro side for its clash NSW/ACT, highlighting the depth of the squad this season.
Eastern ranges big man Tom Boyd is one key addition, backed up by the return of midfielders Jack Billings (Oakleigh Chargers), Nathan Freeman and Josh Kelly (Sandringham Dragons).
Northern Knights utility Marcus Bontempelli and Oakleigh Chargers swing man Tom Cutler will also be handy inclusions, desperate to play well and ensure selection in the remaining matches of the NAB AFL U18 Championships.
Victoria Metro High Performance Manager Anton Grbac said the team had a wealth of ability on paper but that would mean little when the ball was bounced.
“It’s an old fashioned cliché but a team that looks good on paper doesn’t always play that way,” he said.
“These guys have enormous talent but they’ll need to take their games to a new level to play well at this standard of competition and to be able to combine as a team.”
The Geelong Falcons are likely to be behind the influx of talent for Country’s Round 2 encounter with Tasmania, with AFL AIS Academy members James Tsitas, Lewis Taylor, Darcy Gardiner and Nicholas Bourke all set to make their first appearance at the championships this year.
The class of Taylor and Tsitas, combined with the addition of Dandenong Southern Stingrays speedster Billy Hartung, should ensure Country has the upper hand through the midfield, giving their exciting forward line every opportunity to hit the scoreboard.
Gippsland Power big man Josh Scott and Stingrays live-wire Clayton McCartney are tipped to pose problems for Tasmania’s defence while returning 19-year-old prospect Kyle Hendy’s ability to dominate the hit-outs will be crucial in the centre square battle.
Victoria Country and Tasmania will open proceedings at Visy Park at 12.00pm with Victoria Metro v NSW/ACT to follow at 2.30pm.