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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

Croweaters get the better of the Black Ducks

A spirited comeback was not enough for Western Australia to overcome South Australia in the state game, with the hosts winning by 13 points at Adelaide Oval.

The Croweaters retained the Haydn Bunton Junior Cup for the fourth consecutive occasion in the 8.16 (64) to 7.9 (51) victory, with winning Jimmy Rowe (26 disposals, 1 goal) winning the Fos Williams Medal for the best player afield for the SANFL side and Angus Schumacher (19 disposals) claiming the Simpson Medal for the WAFL side.

Both teams opened their account through their key forwards, with three-time SANFL leading goal kicker Liam McBean kick-starting the hosts before two-time Bernie Naylor Medalist Ben Sokol answered back for the Sandgropers.

Fast ball movement was a feature for Cam Shepherd’s side but they failed to capitalise on their opportunities, with the hosts heading into quarter time with a 3.2 (20) to 2.6 (18) lead.

The Croweaters took the ascendency in the second term with goals to McBean, Connor Ballenden and James Rowe, going into the main break with a 6.6 (42) to 3.7 (25) lead, with a quick snap from Milan Murdock the only major score for the visitors.

The Sandgropers launched a spirited comeback in the third term, with Sokol kicking a goal from a set shot and following up by converting from a crumb off his own dropped mark before AFL mid-season draft hopeful Jack Buller converted a set shot from the paint of the 50-metre arc to tie up the scores.

Disaster nearly struck on the three-quarter time siren with Cam Eardley giving away an unrealistic attempt free kick to Rowe, but the normally accurate small forward hooked his kick, giving the hosts a 6.9 (45) to 6.8 (44) lead at the final break.

After Ballenden and Lachlan Hosie missed opportunities early in the final term, an end-to-end move led to a Buller mark in the goal square, with Mitchell Dobson taking the advantage to give the WA the lead for the first time since the opening quarter.

The SANFL side continued to pepper the goals but couldn’t make the most of their opportunities, with small forwards Josh Hone and Eamon Wilkinson combining to kick three behinds, before Martin Frederick kicked truly after a contentious high contact infringement to give them the lead back.

After Hone blew another chance, Ballenden bobbed up again, with his long-distance set shot the final goal of the game.

Alongside the medal winners, Bailey Darcy (28 disposals) and Mitch Hardie (25 disposals) impressed for the winners, while Toby McQuilkin (23 disposals) and Teia Miles (21 disposals) were excellent across half-back for the WAFL’s representatives.

IMAGE: WA Football

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