FLYNN Penry expects Vic Country to take confidence from its opening AFL under 16 championships game into interstate contests next month.
The Cobden teenager joined Koroit's Finn O'Sullivan - one of the most dominant players on the ground - in the Vic Country team which fell to Vic Metro by 27 points at Carlton's Ikon Park on Saturday.
Penry, who plays ruck-forward, was pleased with his contribution and praised O'Sullivan for his work rate in the midfield.
"He got about 30 touches I think and he really put on a captain's game," he told The Standard.
"He gave us a kick-start in the middle and has great instincts, just taking the ball and playing on.
"He got it in our forward 50 a fair few times."
O'Sullivan, who had 33 disposals, said it was pleasing to contribute but knew there were areas to improve.
"I thought I was pretty solid and found a fair bit of the ball," he said.
"I thought my decision-making was not too bad but my execution with the ball wasn't the greatest but you have them games."
Penry, a 200-centimetre teenager who attends Ballarat Grammar, switched between ruck and forward.
"I thought I went OK in the ruck. I didn't have as many opportunities going forward but it will come," he said.
"I gave some leads but there was other targets in the forward line and you take the team option. If you don't get it, and someone else does, you take it."
Penry was pleased with how the Vic Country ruck combination controlled the hit-outs.
"I thought throughout the day we were pretty dominant," he said.
"My and another bloke, Zac Harding, did pretty well as a duo."
Penry said Vic Country showed improvement from its two practice matches against Vic Metro.
"I thought we were a lot more competitive this time," he said.
"The other two times we were smashed by about 60 points and it always started from the centre but this time I think we beat them in clearances by about 10.
"We came within three points in the fourth quarter and we were a lot more competitive around the ground.
"Everyone played their role and we played a lot more like a team, giving first option."
Penry said the match gave Vic Country, which also has games against Western Australia at Queensland's Metricon Stadium on July 5 and South Australia at Therbarton Oval on July 9, a chance to work on its cohesion.
"Before the game we spoke about what we want to be seen as and what our values as a team are and we came up with three words - competitive, ruthless and united," he said.
"I thought everyone knew the last two times we'd been smashed and we just needed to compete better and show a bit more grit and determination and be a bit more physical around the contest and I thought everyone did that really well."
O'Sullivan believes Vic Country can make a mark in the next two games.
"I reckon if we keep wanting to improve and trusting in the system, we'll have a great crack against WA and a good shot of winning it," he said.
Penry will play for Cobden the next few weeks and hopes to be selected for Vic Country's final two games in the July school holidays as he strives to improve his football.
O'Sullivan, who attends Melbourne's Xavier College, has Associated Public School matches on his radar before the AFL under 16 championships resume.
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