Round 18 Review
Aspley power away from a gallant Brisbane outfit, Canberra beats the defending premier in one of the matches of the season, and Gold Coast end Redland's finals hopes.
See all the Round 18 match reviews and Champion Data statistics below.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Brisbane Lions v Aspley Hornets at the Gabba
ASPLEY 2.5 5.8 10.10 16.15 (111)
BRISBANE 2.4 6.5 9.5 11.8 (74)
GOALS – Aspley: J Nelis 3 G Grose 3 E Mallan 3 J Ainsworth M Payne J Daye W Wolbers H Joyce R Toye E Sansbury. Brisbane: B Sloan 2 S Cormick 2 J Freeman 2 J Allison L Mason B Evans T West C Ballenden.
BEST – Aspley: M Payne J Ives J Allen E Mallan D Lawrence J Nelis. Brisbane: J Jansen T West J Allison B Aston J Clayton C Pershouse.
Aspley moved a step closer towards sealing second spot when they ran away from a gallant Brisbane Lions outfit to win by 37 points in an AFL curtain raiser at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions fielded just six AFL-listed players but took it right up to last year’s Grand Finalists before the Hornets booted six goals to two in the last quarter to win 16.15 (111) to 11.8 (74).
Brisbane went toe-to-toe with Aspley in a scrappy opening quarter, where only a point separated the sides.
Aspley opened up a 16-point advantage with back-to-back goals to co-captains Joey Daye and Eddie Sansbury, but the Lions kept fighting back.
Top-up Ben Sloan and Jono Freeman combined for four of the next five goals of the quarter as the Lions hit the front by three-points at half-time.
Again, Aspley broke away for a 23-point lead midway through the third, and this time is was another top-up Soul Cormick who booted two in a row in the shadows of three-quarter time keep Brisbane in touch.
Leading by 11 points at the last change, Aspley kept the Lions at bay for most of the quarter before booting four of the last five to seal the result.
2014 NEALF MVP Matt Payne (36 disposals, 12 marks, seven clearances) and young gun James Ives (41 disposals, seven clearances) were everywhere for the Hornet,s with James Nelis, Gavin Grose and Eddie Mallan each scoring three goals.
AFL-listed players Jarrad Jansen (28 disposals), Josh Clayton (30 disposals, six clearances) and Trent West (38 hit-outs and a goal) were among the Lions better players, alongside academy members Jacob Allison, Brock Aston and Charlie Pershouse.
The Hornets have now opened up a four-point gap in second over Sydney University, but have a bye to come after their match against Canberra next weekend.
The Lions will head to the SCG to take on ladder leader Sydney next Saturday morning.
Canberra Demons v NT Thunder at Manuka Oval
CANBERRA 6.3 10.7 11.11 15.14 (104)
NT THUNDER 2.3 3.4 10.4 15.7 (97)
GOALS – Canberra: B Waite 4 A Bruce 3 R Stevens 2 S Fisher 2 J Harper 2 I Taylor D Roberts. NT Thunder: D Ewing 5 M Mummery 2 S Rioli 2 C Ilett 2 L Patrick S Talbot L Bath.
BEST – Canberra: D O’Connell I Taylor J Harper B Dowdell J Baker A Bruce. NT Thunder: M Rosier C Ilett N Vea Vea D Ewing.
The Canberra Demons caused one of the upsets of the season when they won a titanic battle with defending premier NT Thunder by seven points at Manuka Oval on Saturday night.
In front of a vocal post-AFL match crowd, the Demons booted three goals in as many minutes in the dying stages for a come-from-behind 15.14 (104) to 15.7 (97) victory.
NT Thunder almost pulled off a miraculous comeback after they were 45 points down at half-time.
Canberra shot out of the blocks with six goals to two in the first quarter and added a further four goals to one to have the 2015 champions on the ropes.
But Thunder fought back in stunning fashion when they kicked 7.0 to 1.4 in the third to get within 13 points at three-quarter time.
Darren Ewing’s fourth goal, followed by a snap from the boundary from Sam Talbot, drew NT to within two points at the eight-minute mark of the last.
Demons midfielder Jordan Harper gave his side some breathing space moments later, but Thunder kept coming.
Ewing soon had his fifth, and 16-year-old Michael Mummery put them in front for the first time at the 20-minute mark when he snapped a goal from a pack.
When Liam Patrick extended their margin to nine points into time-on, NT looked to have the match sealed.
But, Aaron Bruce’s set shot conversion at the 29-minute mark had the local crowd on the edge of their seats as the Demons drew within five.
From the next centre clearance, a long kick forward spilled over a pack, and Reed Stevens got boot to ball in the goal square to put Canberra back in front as the clock ticked past 30 minutes.
Harper sealed the result when he received a free kick 45m out, and coolly slotted it through with seconds left.
Coach Ben Waite, who top-scored with four majors for the Demons, said he was proud his players were able to win a match they would have lost earlier in the season.
“They (NT) came out after half-time with a bit of intent to bring a bit more physicality into the ganme. We knew we had to weather that and keep trying to play the brand of football that got us into that commanding position," he said.
“This whole year has been a learning curve for the group. We’ve had these big leads and lost games.
“That’s a really quality side – they are the reigning premiers – so we’re rapt with the result.
"It just proves the development and the experience the boys are getting in these situations throughout the year is starting to pay off."
The Demons were led by midfield trio Harper (36 disposals, five clearances), Isaac Taylor (30 disposals, seven clearances), and Dan O’Connell (20 disposals, seven clearances), while Ben Dowdell was superb in the ruck with 24 disposals, 27 hit-outs and eight clearances.
The loss came at a cost for Thunder with midfielder Luke Bath stretchered off in the third quarter with concussion after a tackle.
Matt Rosier (27 disposals, six clearances) and Cameron Ilett (25 disposals, two goals) led their side with Neil Vea Vea in defence and Ewing up forward standing tall.
NT Thunder’s top-two chances have now been dashed as they head into a bye next week. Canberra will take on Aspley at Graham Rd.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Redland Bombers v Gold Coast Suns at Leyshon Park
GOLD COAST 6.3 11.7 16.12 26.15 (171)
REDLAND 4.0 7.1 9.3 9.4 (58)
GOALS – Gold Coast: C Cameron 5 B Fiorini 4 N Kempe 4 J Bowes 3 S Donnelly 2 K Brooksby 2 D Charlesworth S Lemmens D MacPherson M Spencer B Scheer J Williams. Redland: B Grewar 2 P Yagmoor A Christensen H Bertoli-Simmonds K Walsh T Salter J O’Donnell J Licht.
BEST – Gold Coast: C Cameron M Hallahan C Loersch B Fiorini T McKenzie. Redland: B Grewar H Bertoli-Simmonds S Miller P Yagmoor.
Gold Coast opened the floodgates in the last quarter to send Redland crashing out of the finals race with a 113-point thrashing at Leyshon Park on Sunday.
The Bombers conceded 10 goals to none in the last quarter for a 26.15 (171) to 9.4 (58) loss. It ends their finals hopes with three rounds remaining, and keeps the Suns alive for a top-six berth.
The Suns led by 15 points at quarter-time in an even first quarter, but began to break away in the second when they opened up a 43-point lead late in the term.
Redland managed to string together the last two goal of the half and the first of the third to reduce the deficit to 24 points.
But that would be as closed as they would come as the Suns restored a match-winning 51-point lead by the final change, before an onslaught in the last.
Clay Cameron booted five goals for the Suns and Brayden Fiorini kicked four among his 31 disposals.
Mitch Hallahan was also damaging with 32 disposals, nine clearances and nine inside 50s, and ruckman Cameron Leorsch finished with 26 disposals, 10 marks, and 19 hit-outs in a strong performance.
Coach Stephen Daniel said it was one of the better days in a see-sawing season for the club, who are now only a game outside the top six.
“The last time we played Redland we had four AFL-listed players, and they won by 10 goals,” he said.
“We’ve certainly experienced the lows of the year, and days like today are certainly the highs of the year.
“I just wish we had this side every week.”
The only sour note for the Suns was a bad groin injury to defender Trent McKenzie, who limped off early in the last quarter and finished the match on ice.
Blake Grewar was Redland’s only multiple goal-kicker, both coming in the first term, as he battled hard for 36 disposals and seven clearances.
NEAFL Rising Star nominee Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds was another shining light with 28 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal.
A disappointed Bombers coach Chris David said they were simply no match for an experienced Gold Coast side fielding 14 AFL-listed players.
“We came out with the right attitude to try and obviously play our best, but they negated us in every aspect of the game,” he said.
“We turned the ball over at crucial times, and if you are going to give the ball back to the opposition, it makes it very difficult.”
The Bombers have a bye next week, with the Suns hosting the Giants at Metricon Stadium.
NEXT WEEK – Round 19
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Sydney Swans (1st) v Brisbane Lions (10th) at the SCG, 10.05am
Gold Coast Suns (8th) v Giants (4th) at Metricon Stadium, 12.55pm
Aspley Hornets (2nd) v Canberra Demons (9th) at Graham Rd, 1.30pm
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Sydney University (3rd) v Southport Sharks (6th) at Henson Park, 12pm
Bye: NT Thunder, Redland.
Don't forget to download our free NEAFL App, featuring live Champion Data stats, player bios and more! Available now from the Google Play and Apple stores.
Have your say! Follow the NEAFL on Twitter (@neaflofficial), Instagram (@neaflofficial) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/neaflofficial).