WA suffered a gut-wrenching loss to SA in the AFL under-18 championships at Medibank Stadium on Saturday, with two late goals to medium forward Jackson Press sealing a five-point win for the visitors.
The home side went into the game as massive underdogs after a thrashing at the hands of Vic Metro last week, but went toe-to-toe with the undefeated SA all day.
A goal to Jarrod Pickett shortly after three-quarter time gave WA a hard-fought 16-point lead and they were able to hold it for some time against a strong challenge.
However SA captain Jake Johansen and Press combined late to find a way through the staunch defence and steal the 10.11 (71) to 9.12 (66) win.
Pickett was outstanding for WA, gathering 21 disposals and kicking three goals in the kind of game many had been waiting for him to produce.
Defender Dylan Winton (22 disposals) was also solid in his first game back from a quad injury, working alongside impressive Claremont defender Frances Watson (19 disposals) to provide good attack from defence.
Melbourne father-son prospect Billy Stretch (19 disposals) set up countless plays off the half-back line for SA, with Johansen impressing again with 32 disposals and seven clearances in the midfield.
The result leaves WA winless from its first three games with a must-win game against Vic Country at Fremantle Oval next week.
SA will return home to face Vic Metro at AAMI Stadium.
|GOALS - SA: Press 3; Johansen, Neal-Bullen, Burton 2; Hone. WA: Pickett, Keitel 3; Stewart, Cripps, Bevan.|
BEST - SA: Johansen, Stretch, Press, Gore, Neal-Bullen, Wigg. WA: Pickett, Winton, Watson, Lim, Stewart, Walsh.