The U18 Male Academy finsihed their season 4-1, after beating Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 14 points at Southpine Sports Complex on Sunday.
Following the trend of their season to date, the SUNS showed intent early and linked well through the midfield to apply scoreboard pressure against the slow starting Rebels.
However, inaccuracy in front of goal left a window of opportunity for the Vics, after the SUNS kicked 3.6, only taking a 12-point lead into quarter time.
After the first break, an arm wrestle ensued, the visitors showed polish in their transition off half-back and found targets forward that were able to get them back into the game.
The last quarter was a nail biting finish as the Rebels came within four points with five minutes left to play. It looked as though the Vics were going to run away with it until Gold Coast’s Josh Gore snapped a goal over his shoulder to swing momentum the SUNS way, before finishing the game 14. 11 (95) to 12. 9 (81).
On his inspiring goal Gore was humble but said while he had a quiet game by his own admission, it was nice to be able to make the most of the opportunity to ice the game.
“Well I didn’t have the best game but if you get a moment like that you’ve got to make the most of it,” he said.
“We were nervous when they kicked a couple in a row so as a forward line we just wanted to lock the ball down if it came in and we knew one more goal should win it so it was nice to get that.”
Bottom ager, Max Pescud had his most influential game, kicking four goals and keeping the SUNS in the contest late. Meanwhile midfielders Ace Hewago Oea and vice-captain Ashton Crossley were prominent with 25 and 27 touches respectively, combining for nine inside 50s to cap off their impressive academy series.
Academy Head Coach Andrew Raines said while tensions were high in the coach’s box in the last quarter, he never doubted the U18 Male Academy’s ability to win the see-sawing game.
“I must admit in the coach’s box you can get a little nervous, you never know where the game’s going to head. But today I just felt a real composure from the boys and I knew they were going to get the points,” he said after the match.
“I suppose that comes down to the maturity of the group and they know that at times they have to stand up when teams come. They’ve learnt that we can’t always play our style of game and when the Rebels came at us, we stood up and our leaders really drove us home.”
The U18 Male Academy finish the series at an impressive 4-1 which will hold the team in good stead, with the coveted Allies squad to be named in the coming weeks.
Coverage of the Academy Series has ben possible thanks to the support of club partner Huawei and the impressive video and photographic capabilities of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.