THE VICTORIAN sides asserted their dominance on the opening day of action in round two of the NAB AFLW Under-18 championships on the Gold Coast.
Three games were played in slippery conditions at Metricon Stadium, with Vic Country comfortably accounting for Queensland by 42 points and Vic Metro holding off a fast-finishing Western Australia by 17.
Central Allies won its first game since entering last year, holding firm against an inaccurate Eastern Allies to win by four points.
QUEENSLAND 0.0 0.1 2.1 3.1 (19)
VIC COUNTRY 2.1 4.4 6.7 9.7 (61)
Queensland: D'Arcy, Farquharson, Smith
Vic Country: Barber 4, McEvoy 2, Saulitis, Simmons, Moloney
Queensland: Hampson, Watson, Moore, D'Arcy, Hickie, Farrar
Vic Country: Barber, Smith, McEvoy, Lesosky-Hay, McDonald, Moloney
Vic Country tall forward Olivia Barber (pictured above) is still a year away from being drafted but troubled the Queensland defence with her height (182cm) and pace and finished with four goals.
The Queenslanders recovered after a slow start, with Gold Coast pre-listed defender Kitara Whap-Farrar impressing with her constant pressure and close checking, while Belle Dawes provided strong run through the middle of the ground.
Ellie Hampson is another Suns pre-listed player and played across half-back. She's not the tallest player but her strong frame won her plenty of contests.
Country utility Lucy McEvoy has long been touted as a top draft pick and was tough both around the ball and then up forward when moved there in the last term.
VIC METRO 3.0 5.2 6.2 8.3 (51)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 0.1 1.1 2.3 5.4 (34)
Vic Metro: Saxon-Jones 3, Grant, Harley, Morris-Dalton, Patrikios, Bannan
Western Australia: Roux 2, Bird, Morrison, Webb
Vic Metro: Patrikios, McClelland, Morris-Dalton, Gutknecht, Saxon-Jones, Xenos
Western Australia: Strom, Morrison, Verrier, Roux, Buckley, Pescud
Vic Metro's tall forwards – including Cleo Saxon-Jones, Nell Morris-Dalton and potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter selection Isabella Grant – were dominant early, with the Vics piling on three quick goals.
Georgia Patrikios starred around the ball, her agility and pace setting her apart, while Ellie McKenzie and Gabby Newton were strong on the wings.
Western Australia responded in the second half, outscoring the Vics by two points and threatening to take the lead late.
Roxy Roux – playing both up forward and in the ruck – was instrumental in the comeback, ruck Mim Strom was influential throughout, while the clean skills of Mikayla Morrison stood out.
EASTERN ALLIES 1.1 3.2 4.3 4.8 (32)
CENTRAL ALLIES 1.2 3.3 5.6 5.6 (36)
Eastern Allies: Doyle, Edwards, Jolliffe, Evans
Central Allies: Hart-Aluni, Freeman, Healy, B. Smith, Tabb
Eastern Allies: King, Pease, Crelley, Garnett, Favell, Whelan
Central Allies: Charlton, McKinnon, Tabb, Lee, Usher, Freeman
The final match of the day was an absolute armwrestle, with the two combination sides playing together for the first time and getting used to their new teammates.
Eastern, led by Tasmanian Mia King, were strong around the contest and gradually wore down Central's defence. They peppered the goals late but were unable to kick straight.
South Australian small forward Tayla Hart-Aluni was dangerous, while Jaimi Tabb was fierce on the ball and Montana McKinnon dominant both in the ruck and around the ground.
Paris Crelley ran hard out of defence for Eastern, while teammate Jordyn Jolliffe marked the ball well overhead.
Tuesday is an education day for all players at Metricon Stadium, with parents also invited for their own information session. Select players will then take part in a media afternoon.
From there, the action moves to Southport Football Club on Wednesday, with Queensland taking on Vic Metro, Vic Country playing Eastern Allies and Western Australia facing off against Central Allies.
Thursday will be a rest day, with the final day's action to be played at Bond Uni on Friday.