Three Northern Knights – Michael Hurley, Luke Stanton and David Zaharakis have lived the dream of so many junior footballers around the country by being part of the winning Victoria Metropolitan side at the 2008 NAB AFL U/18 National Championships.
All three played key roles in setting up the win in the final game against Western Australia at the Telstra Dome on Wednesday. Under the watchful gaze of hundreds of AFL recruiters Zaharakis was one of the top possession winners on the day with 18 disposals, which included two goals.
Stanton ended up with 14 touches and was particularly dominant in the second quarter as Vic Metro got out to a five goal half time lead, while Hurley was solid at full back all day and was rewarded for his consistent efforts by being named as the team’s Most Valuable Player for the Carnival.
In a format just introduced for 2008 the U/18 National Championships included six sides this year – the traditional four of Victoria Metropolitan, Victoria Country, Western Australia and South Australia, as well two qualifiers from the Division 2 series, which were Tasmania and NSW/ACT.
Vic Metro was Co-Captained by Hurley and Zaharakis (along with Sandringham’s Tom Lynch) and went undefeated in all five games on grounds such as the MCG, Telstra Dome, Bellerive Oval and Adelaide Oval.
Knights Region Manager Peter Kennedy couldn’t have been happier for his boys. “All coaches and staff at the Knights are very proud of the performances produced by our three state reps. We were equally thrilled when both David and Michael were named Co-Captains. It is a great achievement and testament to their leadership qualities.”
Zaharakis was still buzzing recalling that moment when the final siren. “It was an awesome feeling. I just felt on top of the world. Everyone joined in and celebrated the victory as a team. It started in January and obviously we became really close. We were talking about it on the way to the Telstra Dome how we really respect each other and as a group and everyone knows each other really well. We really bonded together and dubbed ourselves as the ‘Band of Brothers’.
“It was great being Co-Captain, considering you’re Captain of your state. It helped being Co-Captain, taking the weight off fully being Captain by having two other people by my side. We all supported each other and really respected one another.”
Victoria Metro 5.1 8.3 11.6 14.9 (93) def. Western Australia 2.1 3.4 5.7 9.10 (64)
Goals: Vickery 3, Zaharakis 2, Watts 2, Banner 2, McKernan 2, Blease 2, Lynch
Best: Vickery, Zaharakis, Banner, Blease, Hurley, Shuey, Scully, Gotch
Last Modified on 14/07/2008 18:04