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NEAFL PRELIMINARY FINAL 2
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Southport Sharks v Aspley Hornets
Fankhauser Reserve, 1:30pm
A second consecutive NEAFL Grand Final spot on the line for Southport, and a five-year drought-breaking berth on the big stage for Aspley. This is a mouth-watering clash for the ages.
The Sharks will have the backing of their home crowd, on a Fankhauser Reserve deck that the reigning premiers defeated Aspley on in a Preliminary Final just 12 months ago.
It’s impossible to justify discounting the Hornets this weekend, however. Oozing confidence after a massive win over the GIANTS last week, Aspley convincingly took the chocolates last time these sides met, interestingly at Southport.
Bring on Saturday!
Round 14, 2019: Aspley 8.8 (56) defeated Southport 4.6 (30)
at Fankhauser Reserve
Round 9, 2019: Southport 14.13 (97) defeated Aspley 13.8 (86) at Fankhauser Reserve
Round 2, 2019: Southport 8.21 (69) defeated Aspley 8.13 (61) at Voxson Oval
1. In their last duel, rain prevailed all afternoon in Round 14 as Aspley stunned the Sharks in a highly contested battle. The wet weather brought its typical onslaught of high-impact footy, as when averaged out, every player on the ground laid five tackles. A replay of that contest is unlikely, with forecasts predicting nothing but beautiful Queensland Spring sunshine, hopefully allowing both sides their preferred brands of free-flowing football.
2. This Saturday will see two monoliths of the competition face off against their former clubs. Dominant Southport ruckman Jed Turner will line up against his old brown and gold, while superstar Aspley midfielder Matt Payne will look to upset the club he began his NEAFL career with. Both players both are and have been instrumental in their various finals campaigns with three flags between them, so watch out for some tensions to flare at Fankhauser Reserve.
3. It was a remarkable turnaround last season for the Southport Sharks, catapulting themselves from cellar dwellers to premiers over one season, and from Round 1, the Sharks haven’t been shy in proclaiming their ambitions to be the first NEAFL side since the Lions of 2012-2013 to win consecutive flags. A win against Aspley this weekend will have them take on the winner of Sunday’s clash between Brisbane and Sydney in Shark territory on Grand Final day.
Tahj Abberley wasn’t even on Aspley’s senior list six months ago, but now the 17-year-old is likely to play a NEAFL Preliminary Final against the reigning premiers in just his third game at the level. The rapid midfielder collected 12 disposals in both of his career-opening matches and looks more comfortable with each touch of the footy. A Lions Academy prospect, Abberley is already making big impressions at the Hornets which will no doubt spread with good football in big matches.
STATS THAT MATTER
Despite the Hornets sitting a place below Southport on the ladder after the home and away season, Aspley’s percentage would tell a story. Southport has scored an average of 85 points through the season, Aspley has averaged 92. The Sharks have conceded 78 points on average, the Hornets have conceded 75. However you read this, it certainly throws an extra spanner into the works when assessing the match-up.
Southport to make back-to-back grand finals. Sharks by 10.
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