Match Reports, U18 TAC Cup Squad

Story thanks to Geordie Cowan, Whittlesea Leader
PHOTO: David Smith

Northern Knights survived a third last-quarter thriller in four weeks to overcome Gippsland Power by 14 points on Saturday.

Scores were tied at the final change at Morwell Recreation Reserve before the Knights kicked away with three unanswered goals to win 13.10 (88) to 11.8 (74).

Jack Petruccelle’s magnificent form continued with a five-goal haul in a best-on-ground performance, with four of his majors coming in the second half.

“We started the game well and just didn’t take our opportunities early,” coach Justin Wenke said.

“We had more inside 50s and scoring shots but missed a few we probably should’ve kicked.”

In what was a close contest throughout, a Kye Agosta goal at the 16-minute mark of the last quarter resulted in the lead changing hands for the seventh and final time.

Wenke said the most pleasing aspect of the win was the even contribution across the team, aside from Petruccelle being “clearly the best player on the ground”.

“We also went really well in the midfield, which is where we have been convincingly beaten in the past couple of matches,” he said.

Top-ager Sam Binion and Petruccelle swapped between the midfield and forward line during the match, combining to kick half the team’s goals.

“Petruccelle was probably matchwinning with his ability to find the ball and kick the goals that needed to be kicked,” Wenke said.

The coach praised the games of top-ager and vice-captain Anthony Fable and bottom-ager Braedyn Gillard, who were “both really strong around the ball in the midfield”.

Young defender Stefan Uzelac also impressed, with Wenke describing the 193cm-tall bottom-ager as “probably the most outstanding defender in the second half”.

The victory was the Knights’ fifth of the season, keeping the team in fifth spot.

“A pleasing thing for me was we clicked over our 49th player in the first eight rounds, so all the kids are getting a go and feeling as though they’re contributing to the team,” Wenke said.

“We are in a good position to strike, but we need to maintain that form over the next month.”

The Knights now have a week off but 10 players are expected to take part in the Vic Metro trial game next week.

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