The Canberra Demons have dented Aspley’s hopes of a top four finish with a 45-point upset victory at UNSW Canberra Oval on Saturday.
The Demons led from the outset and never looked back in emphatic home victory 19.12 (126) to 12.9 (81) as the Hornets lost key players to injury.
Emerging young forward Riley Corbett was able to kick five majors for the Demons and is an up-and-coming talent Canberra coach Kade Klemke is excited by.
“He went back down to AFL Canberra the last two weeks and I think he realised that he is a NEAFL footballer and he really dominated down in AFL Canberra.” Klemke told neafl.com.au.
“I told him that he is our key forward don’t worry about getting in other people’s roads you are our go to man for that long kick down the line and he played his role did exactly what we wanted.”
The game was closely fought through the middle with time and space a rare commodity in the first term.
Neither side able to land a major blow until the 26th minute mark through Guy Richardson’s set shot putting the Demons on the goal tally first.
The Demons then put their foot to the floor as they kicked the next six goals of the game to leave Aspley goalless and facing a 50-2 score line 15 minutes into the second quarter.
The Demons pressure around the ball was the most pleasing for Canberra coach Kade Klemke.
“I think the key to us is our pressure. When our pressure is up with our tackling we play good footy and we are switched on so I was really rapt with our pressure today,” Klemke said.
“I thought that when we didn’t win it, we pressured them enough to not get the ball deep, which is really good because Aspley is a really good contested team.”
Aspley were getting the ball into their forward-line but were just unable to convert any opportunities onto the scoreboard. Jake Spencer was dominating in the ruck contest and around the ground collecting 21 disposals, 49 hit-outs and seven clearances.
With the opportunities forward, Connor Stackelberg and Billy Murphy were looming dangerous and combined for five of Aspley’s 12 goals for the game.
It was more of the same story through the second quarter as the Demons played a good team brand of football, but conceded four goals in the mid to late stages of the term, giving the Hornets a sniff.
Aspley needed to start the second half blazing if they were a chance to get back into the game. That’s exactly what they did with three goals in the opening five minutes.
A dream like start saw them catch the Demons napping to kick the first three goals of the quarter, and close the margin to 19.
But injuries soon began to take their toll, with co-captain James Ives suffering a hand injury, Doug Lawrence (shoulder) and Liam Dawson (hamstring) not helping Aspley’s cause.
The Demons were able to respond with the next three goals of the game, and the match was ready for the taking.
Aspley was able to win the quarter kicking two goals through Murphy and Stackelberg before Aspley conceded a Tom Faul goal after the three-quarter siren.
Playing the final quarter in-front of their home fans for 2019, the Demons weren’t going to let this result slip.
Canberra kicked four goals to extend their lead out to 45 points and put any chance of a Hornet’s win out of reach.
With the result in the bag each side was able to kick two more as the Demons were able send out retiring duo Ben Halse and Sam Martyn winners at home.
Klemke said that was one of the club’s best performances for the year and wants to carry that form into the last game of the year.
“It’s definitely the one where we have played a whole four quarter effort. I thought as a team we stuck to the structures for four quarters,” Klemke said.
“Hopefully we can continue this next week against Redland because we lost to them last time we were up there and that’s what probably cost us a finals spot, so we really want to finish on a good note.”
The win wasn’t enough for the Demons to make finals, however, as Sydney University beat Redland to end Canberra’s hopes.
Canberra will now set their sights towards the final game of the year against Redland at home and will be looking to finish the season on a high.
Aspley will need to recover and reset when facing the NT Thunder before making an impact on finals action.
Canberra Demons v Aspley Hornets at UNSW Canberra Oval
CANBERRA 3.5 9.10 13.11 19.12 (126)
ASPLEY 0.2 4.3 9.8 12.9 (81)
GOALS – Canberra: R Corbett 5 T Faul 2 J Powell 2 J Harper 2
H Carr 2 M Maguire L Meline C Owen-Auburn R Pollock G Richardson M Hardie. Aspley:
C Stackelberg 3 W Murphy 2 J Spencer C Stackelberg B Batchelor J Freeman J Hayden
D Henderson J Lipscombe.
BEST – Canberra: L Meline R Corbett M Maguire A Paech A Swan J Harper. Aspley: J Spencer J Craven T Baulch J Lipscombe C Stackelberg.
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