By ZAC MILBANK
The Torrens University SA U16 team has kick-started its 2022 AFL NAB National Championships campaign with a 42-point win against Western Australia in Game 1 at Thebarton Oval.
Spurred on by key forward Tyler Welsh and rebounding defender Dyson Sharp, the Croweaters were in complete control of the contest in establishing a 40-point lead at half-time.
Having only managed one goal in the opening half, the Sandgropers came out with plenty of vigor to start the third term brightly, kicking three of their four goals for the match.
But SA – with captain Sid Draper (18 disposals), Ned Atkinson (15 disposals) and Phoenix Hargrave (15 disposals) holding firm in the midfield – responded by keeping the visitors to just six behinds in the fourth term.
Welsh, the son of former Crow Scott Welsh, provided an outstanding target inside 50m to finish with four goals while also taking 11 marks to go with 14 disposals and five inside 50s.
Sharp was SA’s leading possession-winner with 28 but the Central District backman used his body wisely in playing from the front to also take six marks while also tallying eight rebound 50s and five tackles.
The only concern for SA was the sight of skipper Draper leaving the field clutching his hand in the final term, with the talented midfielder to be examined in the coming days.
Coached by Julian Farkas, the Croweaters will now prepare for their final two games against Victoria Metro on Tuesday July 5 at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast and Victoria Country at Thebarton Oval on Saturday July 9.
SA 5.1 7.7 9.10 11.12 (78)
WA 1.1 1.3 4.6 4.12 (36)
BEST – SA: Dyson Sharp, Tyler Welsh, Sid Draper, Will McCabe, Jacob Newton, Jett Hasting
GOALS – SA: Tyler Welsh 4, Beau Ryan 2, Benny Barrett, Lucas Camporeale, Louis Montgomery, PJ Carlin, Kade Herbert
At Thebarton Oval