WA pair cream in the 18s carnival
WA midfielder Jack martin takes a screamer against NSW-ACT. Picture: Bill Hatto / The West Australian.

WA's Jack Martin and Jesse Hogan last night stepped closer to confirming their AFL futures with standout efforts in a 24-point loss to Victoria Metro in their last game of the under-18s championships.

AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan said the gun pair, if they nominated, would be strong contenders for the two remaining 17-year-old selections available under concessions given to Greater Western Sydney.

The Giants have the right to trade with rivals for two 17-year-olds born from January to April in 1995.

Martin was in scintillating form at Etihad Stadium last night, particularly in a third and fourth-term run where WA kicked seven unanswered goals to give the eventual champions a scare.

He was later named WA's player of the carnival.

While Hogan spoiled his performance with wayward kicking at goal, he impressed with his overhead marking and smart forward movement.

Essendon and Melbourne father-son selections Joe Daniher and Jack Viney showed why the clubs had already committed to taking them in this year's draft.

Victoria Country's Lachie Whitfield, widely tipped to be this year's No.1 draft selection, won the Larke Medal as the carnival's best player.

Sheehan said Dayle Garlett, who made a searing run down the wing early in last night's match, was in calculations for this year's national draft, while captain for the day, Adam Carter, would also be strongly considered.

Josh Thomas, who set the crowd alight with a high marking attempt in the second quarter, also put in another strong performance and forward Laine Wilkins clearly enhanced his prospects with four goals.

WA coach Michael Pratt, who has coached at different levels for the past decade, said Martin and Hogan were the best young talents he had managed.

"For me, they're as good as I've seen," Pratt said.

"They're ripping kids and it's hard to say anything negative about them at all, from their overall personalities and the overall way they go about things, to how professional they are with their footy.

"They've got the X-factor and can do the special thing, but they're also so prepared to work hard and composed under pressure. They really want to succeed and they're doing their best to do that."

Speculation among AFL recruiters had suggested the WA team lacked the depth of talent of recent seasons, but Pratt urged them not to dismiss players he believed would be late developers, especially in the mental facet of the game.

Carter, whose brother Mitch is on Carlton's rookie list, said he was hopeful of also getting his chance later in the year. He said he was proud of the team for last night's fight-back after up-and-down performances through the carnival.


  • ¬∑SCOREBOARD *P43

The West Australian

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