By ZAC MILBANK
The Torrens University SA U17 Team held its nerve to claim a thrilling three-point win against Western Australia at Hisense Stadium on Sunday.
Leading for the majority of the contest as the Sandgropers wasted chances in front of goal, the Croweaters suddenly found themselves behind for the first time when their rivals goaled 15 minutes into the final term.
But athletic forward Isaac Keeler produced a timely snap on goal two minutes later to quickly restore the lead for the hosts.
WA’s Luke Brown had an opportunity to pinch it back when he ran into an open goal but his costly behind in the 2oth minute would be the last score of the match.
SA captain Adam D’Aloia laid an outstanding tackle in defence in the final 20 seconds, ensuring his side would record a victory in its first match of the NAB AFL U17 National Championships.
The Croweaters’ skipper finished with an eye-catching stats column of 30 disposals, nine clearances and nine inside 50s as he provided plenty of impetus from the centre square.
Vice-captains Nick Sadler (22 disposals) and Tyson Walls (19 disposals) also helped D’Aloia set the tone while Kobe Ryan was solid in defence with 17 disposals and seven rebound 50s.
Fellow defender Will Patton also snared five marks to display his willingness to intercept and control the tempo will also collecting 10 disposals and four rebound 50s.
Nippy goalsneak Jack Delean was a continual threat inside 50m for the hosts, booting three goals from his 13 disposals and four marks while high-flying Keeler finished with 13 disposals, five marks and two majors.
SA’s remaining two matches will be played in Queensland against Victoria Metro on Tuesday July 6 and Victoria Country on Friday July 9.
SA 3.2 4.4 6.6 8.8 (56)
WA 0.4 2.7 4.7 7.11 (53)
BEST – SA: D’Aloia, Sadler, Walls, Delean, Patton, Michalanney
MOST DISPOSALS – SA: D’Aloia 30, Sadler 22, McDonald, Walls 19, Blacker 18, Ryan 17, Magor, Phillipou 15.
GOALS – SA: Delean 3, Keeler 2, Slade, Phillipou, Barnett
At Hisense Stadium