Bushies show glimpses for Vic Country

June 12, 2018

Euroa's Rob Paradzayi impressed in his Murray Bushrangers debut.

Murray Bushrangers stood up in Victoria Country’s opening match of the AFL under-18 championships.

The Allies took the win against the Victorians 10.11 (71) to 6.12 (48) at Blacktown in Greater Western Sydney, but Laitham Vandermeer made an impression.

The Mooroopna talent produced sleek ball skills and rebounded well off half-back as the over-age player looks to again catch the attention of talent scouts.

In contrasting stages of their time at the Bushrangers, bottom-age player Lachie Ash produced an impressive first half in defence as Vic Country edged two points clear at the main break.

Shepparton United’s Zane Barzen played out of his natural forward position by moving up to the wing as Geelong Falcon’s Sam Walsh showed himself as the best player for Vic Country.

●With regular Murray Bushrangers coach Leon Higgins helping with Victoria Country, assistant coach Mark Brown stepped into the top job.

But with staples of its side competing at the under-18s championships, Murray was unable to register a win against Oakleigh Chargers.

Oakleigh caught the Bushrangers off guard in the first quarter, piling on seven goals to leave the Bushies with plenty to chase at Norm Minns Oval in Wangaratta.

While the Bushies had an improved second term on the scoreboard, they were never able to catch up and the Chargers headed into half-time on the back of two late goals, giving them a 38-point lead.

The final margin increased to 102-52, but there remained plenty of positives in the Bushies’ line-up.

Euroa’s Rob Paradzayi staked a claim for a permanent spot on debut, going hard at the contested football and hitting targets, with Benalla’s Mark Marriott on fire.

The tall has produced an impressive year and was Murray’s best player, although Shepparton’s Jordon Butts was strong up forward in the absence of Barzen.

Shepparton United’s Kyle Clarke and Nathalia’s Tom Boyd were solid in the loss as the side looks to a match against rivals Bendigo Pioneers on Sunday.

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