Published on June 14, 2019 11:31 am

AFL U16 CHAMPS PREVIEW: Country vs Metro

We preview and reveal the team line-ups for the first match of the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships for Vic Country and Vic Metro – a clash between the traditional rivals at GMHBA Stadium from 12.30pm on Sunday.

After this encounter, both teams will travel to Queensland for rounds 2 and 3 of the Championships, when they’ll play against South Australia and Western Australia on Monday July 8 at Southport (Gold Coast) and Friday July 12 at the Gabba (Brisbane).

 

RECENT HISTORY

Vic Country will be seeking its first match win at the Under-16 Championships since 2015, when it won all three of its games en route to the title. Back then, former Dandenong Stingrays and current St Kilda player Hunter Clark won the team’s MVP award, with those to claim the award in subsequent years including Jye Caldwell (ex-Bendigo Pioneers/now GWS) in 2016, Hayden Young (currently Dandenong Stingrays) in 2017 and Tanner Bruhn (currently Geelong Falcons) in 2018.

Vic Metro prevailed in one Under-16 Championships match last year and came within a point of claiming the 2017 title when it narrowly lost to Western Australia in the deciding contest. Former Oakleigh Chargers and current Richmond player Jack Higgins (2015) and current Chargers top-ager Noah Anderson (2017) have both won the Kevin Sheehan Medal (Division 1’s best and fairest player) representing Metro in recent history, with Oakleigh’s Will Phillips named the team’s MVP in 2018.

Metro has defeated Country in their last three Under-16 Championships clashes – by eight points at Ikon Park in 2018, by 21 points at the Swinburne Centre in 2017 and by 20 points at GMHBA Stadium in 2016. Country’s last win against its Victorian rival was in 2015, by 19 points at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.

 

* CLICK HERE to see the full Vic Country squad for the 2019 NAB AFL Under-16 Championships and CLICK HERE to see the full Vic Metro squad.

 

KEY COMMENTS

WHAT TO EXPECT

Victorian Talent Pathways Manager Lee Fraser (commenting on Vic Country): “We’re hoping they’ll be a competitive group. We have a group of players that can win their own ball and we want them to play some really fast footy, whether defensively or taking the game on when they get the chance. It’s just about keeping the game simple and allowing them to showcase their skills – and, importantly, enjoying themselves and enjoying the challenge of playing against some of the best young footballers in the country.”

Vic Metro head coach Heath Black: “We think we have a squad that will be very competitive across the board. We feel the list goes quite deep, with an abundance of midfielders playing outside roles on the wings and at half-back and half-forward. I think you can expect Sunday’s game to be free-flowing and full of a run-and-gun style. It’s really hard to educate young men to actually slow the game up – which you need to do at times – but we’re just going to tell them to show us what they’ve got and play on instinct. We also want them to have their enjoyment levels right up – to celebrate goals and celebrate being out there with mates having a bit of fun.”

 

THE LEADERS

Lee Fraser: “Our co-captains are Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons – local club is Wodonga) and Joshua Rachele (Murray Bushrangers). Both boys have been in good form through the trial games and the way they’ve conducted themselves both with the playing group and the staff has been exceptional. They’re very mature young men and highly motivated to be the best they can be. Campbell will likely play as a half-forward and through the midfield, while Josh comes from an elite soccer background and will play through the midfield and a little bit up forward.”

Heath Black: “Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons) is our captain and Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers) is our vice-captain. Youseph is an ‘older’ sort of 16-year-old; his body is quite mature. He’s a small pressure forward who’s always up and about at training and a bit of a natural leader because of that maturity. Josh is a very talented player, a running defender/winger who gets up the ground and kicks goals. He’s really damaging by foot and can already kick the ball 50 metres. You might not say he’s a natural leader, but after being voted in by his peers he’s already stepping up.”

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LF: “Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) has been in good form and is one to keep an eye on. He’s a really strong-bodied midfielder and also has the ability to go forward and win some one-on-one contests. Justin Davies (Dandenong Stingrays) has shown some good signs playing as a key forward and also in the ruck. We’re hoping he’ll have a big influence as the Championships unfold.”

HB: “I’m pretty keen to see our full-forward Jack Rossimel (Northern Knights) in action. He presents at the footy really well and is a good mark and a really good kick for goal. Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers) can play as a key back, but he naturally comes off his man and intercept-marks really well. Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers) is just progressively getting better as a back pocket/half-back who’s damaging by foot. His on-field leadership is very good too. Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges) is a pretty gifted kick on both feet. He’s flashy and has X-factor, and I’m really keen to see him and Josh Sinn in action together.”

 

SELECTED TEAMS

VIC COUNTRY

B: 19. Angus Bade 24. Oscar Morrison 7. Sam Breuer
GWV Rebels Geelong Falcons GWV Rebels
HB: 8. Cooper Hamilton 22. Benjamin Bath 21. Joshua Gibcus
Bendigo Pioneers Murray Bushrangers GWV Rebels
C: 6. Kai Lohmann 13. Joshua Rachele (C) 5. Mitchell Moschetti
GWV Rebels Murray Bushrangers Gippsland Power
HF: 1. Judson Clarke 25. Justin Davies 16. Lincoln White
Dandenong Stingrays Dandenong Stingrays Bendigo Pioneers
F: 12. Blake Scott 27. Josh Rentsch 9. Hugh Hamilton
GWV Rebels GWV Rebels Bendigo Pioneers
R: 28. Toby Conway 2. Campbell Chesser (C) 3. Ben Hobbs
Geelong Falcons Sandringham Dragons GWV Rebels
Int:
17. Charlie Molan 4. Oskar Faulkhead 10. Benjamin Green
GWV Rebels Bendigo Pioneers Gippsland Power
11. Connor Macdonald 18. Tom Brown
Dandenong Stingrays Murray Bushrangers
Emg:
26. Patrick Gerdan 20. Bode Stevens 15. Sam Butler
Dandenong Stingrays Bendigo Pioneers GWV Rebels
14. Indy Parish
Geelong Falcons

 

VIC METRO

B: 14. Angus McLennan 23. Jed Rule 10. Lachlan Rankin
Sandringham Dragons Oakleigh Chargers Oakleigh Chargers
HB: 13. Lachlan Benton 24. Ingo Dammersmith 17. Josh Sinn (C) 
Sandringham Dragons Oakleigh Chargers Sandringham Dragons
C: 15. Joshua Goater 21. Tyreece Lieu 2. Zac Taylor
Calder Cannons Eastern Ranges Calder Cannons
HF: 18. Braden Andrews 30. Dante Visentini 3. Henry Brown
Oakleigh Chargers Sandringham Dragons Oakleigh Chargers
F: 1. Youseph Dib 22. Jack Rossimel 16. Jack Newitt
Oakleigh Chargers Northern Knights Calder Cannons
R: 27. Caleb Lewis 11. Tyler Sonsie 5. Jake Soligo
Sandringham Dragons Eastern Ranges Eastern Ranges
Int:
8. Lachlan Brooks 4. Brock Jacobsen 19. Blake Howes
Sandringham Dragons Western Jets Sandringham Dragons
28. Alex Lukic 7. Darcy Wilmot
Oakleigh Chargers Northern Knights
Emg:
12. Scott Beilby 25. Ned Long 9. James Nadalin
Oakleigh Chargers Northern Knights Northern Knights

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