The 2018 AFL Victoria Community Cup has returned to regional Victoria, after WorkSafe AFL Victoria Country defeated Vic Metro by 25 points at MARS Stadium on Sunday.
Seven NFNL players featured in the Vic Metro side, including vice-captains Josh Grabowski and Brad Leggett, along with Jhye Baddeley-Kelly, Lucas Hobbs, Jordan Perry, Nick Riddle and Anton Woods.
After winning the toss, Vic Country kicked with the wind advantage and after a tough start, they capitalised on the scoreboard.
Vic Metro’s defence held up boldly for the first 15 minutes but the pressure from Country eventually broke through as they managed to kick four goals in the final 10 minutes of the term to take a 39-13 lead into the opening break.
The second term was a different story as Metro settled and turned the game into a tug-o-war.
The teams could not be split as they went goal for goal and finished with two goals apiece for the quarter with Metro producing some brilliant finishes.
Rowville’s Jackson McDonald slotted a goal on the run from 45 metres out while Dingley’s Lucas Walmsley slammed home a much-needed set shot from right on 50 to cut Country’s lead to 24-points at the half.
Country kicked two goals in the opening seven minutes of the third term to almost put the game out of reach, but Metro hung tough and responded with two goals of their own.
Caroline Springs’ Rex Hickman slotted a set shot from 30 metres to trim the margin back to four goals, but a late goal to Country off the boot of Steve Stroobants (Rochester) left Metro with an almost impossible task in the fourth.
A Shannon Beks (South Warrnambool) set shot early in the fourth term put Country in front by 33 points, a margin that would seem unreachable in the slippery conditions.
Metro kept fighting, with goals from Lucas Walmsley, Jayden Kroussoratis (Norwood) and Jhye Baddeley-Kelly (North Heidelberg) bringing Metro within 18 points with 15 minutes to play.
Despite Metro’s efforts, it was not to be as Sandhurst’s Andrew Collins held his nerve to kick his second goal to put the result beyond doubt in the final minutes.
Vic Country holding on to secure its first win under new coach Danny Frawley, the final score 12.17.89 to 9.10.64.
AFL VIC COUNTRY
Goal Kickers: R. Monaghan 2, S. Stroobants, J. Briggs, S. Beks, A. Collins, B. Symes, L. Wallace, S. Fox, A. Baird, J. Neagle, L. Bramble
Best Players: A. Baird, S. Fox, A. Collins, T. Stevenson, T. Ruggles, D. Van Berlo
AFL VIC METRO
Goal Kickers: L. Walmsley 2, J. Kroussoratis 2, J. McDonald, C. Carey, J. Grabowski, J. Baddeley-Kelly, R. Hickman
Best Players: C. Carey, L. Walmsley, L. Tudor, J. Fisher, F. Anderson, J. Grabowski