The 2017 National AFL Male Kickstart & All Nations Championships have been completed at the Blacktown International Sportspark at Rooty Hill in Sydney’s west. For the second consecutive year the mighty Western Australian teams have won both titles. For the Kickstart program the result sees the state remain the only winners of the Kickstart Championships since its inception.
On a beautiful, sunny morning, the All Nations Grand Final kicked off. South Australia had performed well in the early stages of the carnival and were rated as a strong chance to upset the team from the west. Early signs were good as they held a narrow lead during the first half to go in tightly locked at half time.
The second half remained tight with barely any breathing room for either side. Western Australia kicked a couple of clutch goals, however, to steady and hold the South Australians at bay and take the championship.
Final Scores: Western Australia 3 6 24 d South Australia 2 4 16
The Kickstart final saw the Tasmanian team – their first time as a stand-alone entity at these championships – take on the Western Australia behemoth. They were going into the match as massive underdogs, but they had nothing to lose.
However, Western Australia had other ideas and played their trademark attacking brand of football, strangling the Tassie game plan and relentlessly charging into their Forward 50. By half-time the game was almost won – the WA boys hammering on 12 scoring shots to 2 to hold a 35 point lead.
Little changed in the second half as the Western Australian team continued to pour on the pressure. Each time Tasmania appeared to get a break, the boys from the West found another way to shut Tassie down. By the final siren, the Western Australian team had moved out to a big 67 point win.
Final Scores: Western Australia 11 8 74 d Tasmania 1 1 7
That wrapped up an excellent tournament which showcased some of the finest young indigenous and multicultural talent in Australia at Under 15 age. So many past players at this tournament have gone on to forge AFL careers and there is no doubt that the top players at this championship are destined for the same level of success. In an elite junior championship, with some of the finest coaches, support staff, recruiters and guest speakers available to them, all players will have benefitted enormously from this experience.
But for the time being, coaches will look at the pros and cons of the championships and look to the next crop of talent for 2018 – and possibly come up with a way to defeat the dominant Western Australian teams.