The QBE Sydney Swans Academy under-18s have steamrolled the GWS Academy, kicking 12 goals to two after half-time in their NAB League game to set up victory in Canberra on Saturday.
The Swans had a scratchy start and went into the long break eight points down in the UNSW Canberra Oval clash.
It was then that Academy head coach Jared Crouch sat the boys down in the rooms and showed them vision of several passages of play where they had given the GWS players too much space to run.
“We expected the Giants to come and challenge us. They’ve got some very good players and there is a real rivalry between the two clubs, which extends to the Academy,’’ Crouch said.
“In the first half we didn’t get our balance right and had too many guys trying to hunt the football.
“We were able to show vision of them getting sucked into the ball, and we were able to show how the Giants players were on the outside of the contest.
“When we got the balance right between guys hitting in, and guys being on the outside, we then played better football.’’
Crouch describes the current crop of Academy under-18s as a "very coachable" group, and his half-time tutorial hit the mark.
The Swans came out firing in the third quarter, kicking three goals in the space of a few minutes, and went on to beat GWS 16.14 (110) to 7.9 (51) in the battle for NSW bragging rights.
The Swans Academy under-18s are now undefeated after their first two games in the new NAB League competition.
The team’s youngest players – Marc Sheather, Braeden Campbell and Pierce Roseby – who are all eligible to play in the under-18s competition again next year, impressed Crouch.
Sheather attacked the contest with ferocity after half-time and helped create several scoring opportunities, while he also kicked two goals himself.
Classy midfielder-forward Campbell was also in the thick of action and bagged three goals, as did Harry Parker.
Key forward Hamish Ellem, who hails from Grafton on the north coast, returned from a knee injury and kicked two goals.
“It was great to see Hamish out there playing with some real presence up forward and attacking the ball,’’ Crouch said.
But the coach named small defender Max Geddes, a product of the East Sydney Bulldogs, as the Academy’s best player against GWS.
“Right from the start of the game Max was really switched on. He attacked the ball with intensity and everyone else down back jumped on board.
“Our midfielders Sam Thorne and Aidan Watling also hit in hard, and it was a great team performance. We didn’t have anyone with massive stats, they were pretty well balanced and the possessions and the goals were shared,’’ Crouch said.
The Academy under-18s will head to Melbourne on the weekend to play the Sandringham Dragons, who are currently on top of the NAB League ladder with three wins from three games.
The game is scheduled for 1:15pm on Saturday at Trevor Barker Oval in Sandringham, and it will be live streamed on the NAB League app.