It was crash and bash football at its’ best at Voxson Oval on Saturday afternoon as the “limping” Aspley Hornets kept the strong GWS GIANTS to just six goals on their way to a 22-point victory.
The home side locked in their date with the reigning premier Southport in next week’s preliminary final after working tirelessly to match the GIANTS’ intensity from the opening bounce, leading throughout the match in a low-scoring contest to win 9.14 (68) to 6.10 (46).
“We had 23 players who all played their role, had a crack and got the win,” said an elated senior coach Daniel Webster told neafl.com.au.
“Our contested footy was really good, our intensity was great, our pressure on the ball carrier was really good, and you need to do that against the best sides.”
Livewire Hornet Billy Murphy set the tone early, taking advantage of a Jasper Craven chaos ball inside 50 to snap the opening goal within a minute of the first bounce.
He essentially closed the game style, taking a Matt Payne handball into a vacant goal square late in the final quarter.
A fiery contest ensued as the war-hardened Aspley line-up refused to let their opponents’ physicality get the better of them.
With a six-point lead heading into the second quarter, Hornet forward Connor Stackelberg’s 45 metre effort sideline effort provided the seldom goal for the term, as Aspley continued to dominate possession on their side of the circle without further reward.
Stackelberg went on to lead his side’s goalkicking efforts with three majors for the afternoon.
Young GIANT Aiden Bonar and 150-game Hornet Matt Payne exchanged majors to start the second half, and the GIANTS’ defence held up well through a barrage of Aspley inside 50s.
Despite the superb defensive work of Callum Brown and Matt Buntine, the Hornets leapt to a a game-high lead of 26 points late in the third term after a brutal Blake Nelis tackle won the recently returned Aspley veteran a successful set shot at goal.
Nelis’ finish provided the first swing of the hammer, as the Hornets went on to close the match out in style with a three goal final term.
Nelis was one of many standout Hornets, with Team of the Year members Matt Payne and Gavin Grose, and recent additions Thomas Templeton and Tom Baulch putting on fantastic performances in an all-round team effort.
A loss for the visitors left coach Adam Schneider justifiably devastated, but some impressive performances from his academy players went some way in lightening the disappointment.
Former Docker Tommy Sheridan lead disposals with 26 and six tackles, while Academy prospect Nick Murray took close to mark of the year in the third quarter, complementing the key position player’s 11 touches and five-mark effort nicely.
The Hornets will look to get the chocolates over long-time rival Southport next week as they head down the M1 to fight for a grand final spot on Saturday afternoon, while Brisbane and Sydney will duke it out on Sunday for their berth.
Aspley Hornets v GIANTS at Voxson Oval
ASPLEY 3.5 4.9 6.12 9.14 (68)
GIANTS 2.5 2.7 3.8 6.10 (46)
GOALS – Aspley: C Stackelberg 3 W Murphy 2 B Nelis J Nelis M Payne J
Freeman. GIANTS: A Bonar 2 A Corr N Murray X O'Halloran Z Sproule.
BEST – Aspley: T Templeton L Dawson G Grose M Payne J Nelis J Giles. GIANTS: N Shipley M Buntine K Briggs N Murray J Hately A Corr.
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