The Energy Safe Victoria Country Under 19s team has secured back-to-back wins against the Victorian Amateur Football Association, taking home the 2016 AFL Victoria Under 19s Challenge title by 44 points at Mernda Reserve.
Going down to Vic Country by 123-points last time they pair met in 2015, VAFA jumped out of the blocks early, utilising the wind conditions to snatch the opening goal of the day.
Ferocious tackling and contested ball made for a tight game in all areas of the ground, with both sides keen to earn first use of the ball.
VAFA’s effort around stoppages saw them keep the ball within its forward 50 for the majority of the first term, but was unable to capitalize in front of goal, trailing by two points at the first break.
Finding their feet in the second quarter, Vic Country began to control the ball and open up space to link up key passages of play in the middle of the ground.
Donald’s Sam Dunstan was unstoppable, providing a strong target up forward and slotting through his second major for the afternoon, opening up a 31-point lead for Vic Country at half time.
Kicking with the breeze in the third term, St. Bernard’s Chris Hughes set his team alight with his hard work setting up the opening goal of the quarter.
University Blues’ Matt Blair steadied the ship for the VAFA with his second goal, while teammate Alex Mastromanho provided a key target up forward to help close the gap to just 12-points going into the final term.
With the wind in their favour, Vic Country made the most of their opportunities to open up a game high lead of 45-points midway through the final term.
Despite the efforts of VAFA stars Lachlan Bryne-Jones, Andrew Scott and best on ground performer, Harry Hills, Vic Country’s forward pressure and ball use around the stoppages proved too strong.
Vic Country’s Paddy Anderson was vital in his role across centre-half forward and was well supported by teammates Jake Kelly, Matt Shannon and Zach Pallpratt.
The final score: Energy Safe Vic Country 16.11 (107) def VAFA 10.3 (63)
VC 2.2 8.8 10.8 16.11 (107)
VAFA 2.0 4.1 9.2 10.3 (63)
AFL Vic Country
Goals: Sam Dunstan 4, Paddy Anderson 3, Jake Kelly 2, Angus Byrne 2, Dom Brew 1, Cody Grant 1, Shaun Mannagh 1, Matt Shannon 1, Riley Sharp 1.
Best Players: Dean Smith (Peter Knights Medal), Dylan McMahon, Dom Brew, Tim Hanna, Sam Dunstan, Jake Kelly.
Goals: Alex Mastromanno 4, Corey Connelly 2, Chris Hughes 2, Matthew Blair 2
Best Players: Tom McKenna, Christian Carnovale, Joshua Tyquin, Alex Mastromanno, Harry Hill, Ben Dance