Livewire South Fremantle speedster Jarrod Pickett is firming as a first-round pick at this year's national draft after almost dragging WA across the line against South Australia in the AFL under-18 championships.

WA went into Saturday's fixture as underdogs after being thrashed by Vic Metro last week but produced easily their best effort of the championships to come within five points of ending SA's unbeaten three-game run.

The home side was on top going into the final term at Medibank Stadium, but failed to hold off the fast-finishing Croweaters in a disappointing 10.11 (71) to 9.12 (66) loss.

Plenty of players lifted for WA but none more so than Pickett, who shrugged off a quiet start to the championships to give his side some much-needed spark around the ball.

Utilising his game-breaking pace, Pickett gathered 21 disposals and five clearances in the midfield and went forward to kick three goals, one of which brought WA back within a kick of the lead in the dying minutes of the game.

"He was breathtaking, exciting, thrilling, whatever adjective you want to throw in there for really showcasing brilliant ability," AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan said.

"You were hoping for that, with that ability, that he would put it all together one day.

"That's pretty close to it and I think he can even do better again.

"He nearly inspired them to victory … it turns around their championship a little bit."

WA's form reversal was evident early in the game as forwards Tyler Keitel and Jack Cripps converted first-quarter goals to give them the advantage at the first break.

Dylan Winton, Frances Watson and Clayton Giblett combined brilliantly in defence, with midfielders Ryan Lim, Brad Walsh and bottom-aged player Kade Stewart also producing their best games.

Pint-sized South Australian captain Jake Johansen continued his blistering start to the championships with 32 possessions, seven clearances, 10 inside 50s and two goals.

Melbourne father-son prospect Billy Stretch, son of former wingman Steven Stretch, showed a mix of smarts and skill on the wing, while Jackson Press kicked the side's final two goals of the game to seal the win.

WA will play their final home game of the championships against Vic Country at Fremantle Oval on Sunday.

The West Australian

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