By Beth Newman
The Brisbane Lions Academy finished strong, to take out the second match over the Gold Coast SUNS Academy, 11.11 (77) – 6.6. (42), at Southport today.
The match was a far cry from their first hit-out a fortnight ago, with both sides showing greater defensive efforts in their last chance to impress selectors before the initial Queensland squad is named.
Both sides kicked smaller totals than the first Academy match, with a clear focus on defensive acts and laying pressure on the ball carrier, in both the forward and back halves.
It was the Lions’ ability to capitalise on scoring chances which made the difference in the end, led by bottom-ager and new face, Ben Glover, who kicked the first goal of the game and finished with four.
Small forward, James Rayner, was also impressive, finishing with two goals.
The Gold Coast took the upper hand in the second and third quarters, with their midfielders’ strong two-way pressure, but they couldn’t take advantage on the scoreboard.
Brisbane kicked away in the final term, turning a 14-point game into a 35-point one, with 4 goals to one in the last quarter.
Surfers Paradise pair, Dylan Mutu and Cassidy Haberfield were strong in the midfield, laying plenty of tackles and stopping the Lions’ run.
North Queenslander, Glendon Woosup, continued his good form from the first Academy match
Aspley’s Jacob Watson stepped up in the second half for the Lions, generating some vital run from half-back and through the midfield.
AFL Queensland Academy and High Performance coach, Adrian Fletcher, said players did their best to impress the state selectors for the last time before the first squad is named.
“I think all of the guys made the most of the opportunity to push their names forward for possible selection and there were some very good match-ups out there today,” he said.
“It’s going to make our jobs very hard this week.”
“It is only the first step in the selection process and with a lot of the guys playing top-up in the NEAFL, we want to make sure they get every opportunity.”
Fletcher said he was happy with the quality of play from both sides, in the final Academy match.
“I thought it was a really tight hit-out, and there was a lot of contested play all throughout the game,” he said.
“It was played in really good spirits.”
The initial 30-man Queensland U18 squad will be announced on aflq-new.fspdev.com on Tuesday Match 18, at 2pm.
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 0.1 2.4 5.5 6.6 (42)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 2.4 5.5 7.7 11.11 (77)
BL: Glover 4, Rayner , Wagner 2, Quigley, Keays, Andrews 1
GC: Haberfield, Hay 2, Trask, Woosup 1
BL: Bertoli-Simmonds, Stevenson, Watson, Cameron-Reeves, Miller, Keays, Andrews