Vic Metro’s first U16 national championship title in 11 years was delivered in Queensland last week.
And a number of young Dragons starred.
Seven featured for Vic Metro while one represented Vic Country – including the incredible achievement of both sides’ captains coming from the Dragons program.
Vic Metro & Sandringham Dragons assistant coach Jackson Kornberg says it was a “super effort for the club to have so many representatives” at the championships.
“We had a really successful week up at the Gold Coast. We were able to win our first national carnival since 2008 which is fantastic for the boys,” he said.
“The Sandringham boys really represented the club well. I thought across the week the boys really held their own, particularly on Monday at Southport, where it turned into a scrappy, contested game but the boys really adapted well.”
The Vic Metro squad was lucky enough to have former Dragon Ben King, now a Gold Coast Sun, speak to the team about his football journey through the junior talent pathway.
King emphasised that those who go on to excel in latter years are the ones who continue to work hard on their craft beyond U16 level.
“We were really lucky to have Ben King come and speak to the whole team on Wednesday morning,” Kornberg said.
“It was funny, he was mentioning that you don’t know it at the time but guys now dominating in the AFL were just normal names back in the U16’s.”
Jackson Kornberg’s thoughts on the performance of our boys throughout the U16 National Championships:
“Josh had a terrific carnival, where he played primarily as an inside mid and transitioned onto the wing later in the game v Western Australia. He was lucky enough to be elected captain of Vic Metro, which is a credit to the work he does from a leadership standpoint. I think he showed people, but more importantly, himself, that he has more than one side to his game with the contested work he did vs South Australia on Monday which is terrific for him.”
“One of the better performers down back throughout the carnival, Gus’ strength is reading the ball and intercepting. Probably wasn’t able to show this a whole lot on Monday at Southport due to the conditions, but across the entire carnival I thought he really showed what he is capable of as a hybrid defender.”
“Played as a lead up forward throughout the carnival and was a consistent performer across the board. Took some really strong marks and was a constant scoreboard presence across all the games. I think Blake’s work rate is really his strength, and being able to get up and down the ground to impact.”
“Traditionally has been playing down back, but the beauty about the development focus of this competition means Lachie was exposed to a role down forward and adapted really well by pressuring and hitting the scoreboard. His strength is his pace and I thought he really showed that throughout the week.”
“Primarily played as an inside midfielder and I think the Monday game in the wet really suited his contested game, which is his major strength as a footballer. Additionally, Lach was able to show he is able to hit the scoreboard as a midfielder, which in today’s game is incredibly important.”
“Dante played a number of roles, starting as a forward in our Round 1 fixture v Vic Country at Geelong, playing as a key defender Round 2 v South Australia and finishing playing in the ruck in the Grand Final v Western Australia. I thought he adapted really well across the board and showed he is a true multi-positional player, which is super important. Was really important for us in the ruck on Friday against a quality Western Australia midfield.”
“Caleb was an emergency for the carnival, but due to injury he featured in our Round 1 game vs Vic Country, where he primarily played ruck. He performed well in this game as a ruck and forward, and he is one we are really looking forward to seeing develop in the next few years as a tall who can play in the ruck as well as a key defender.”
“Was our representative in the Vic Country program, where he was lucky enough to be elected captain of the side. Campbell primarily played in midfield /wing roles because playing half back in the final game of the carnival. I thought he really showed his strength in the contest, and coupled that with his work rate on the outside to spread hard both ways, I thought he was able to have a pretty solid and consistent carnival.”