NEAFL ROUND 5
Saturday, May 4, 2019
NT Thunder (8th) v Gold Coast SUNS (10th)
TIO Stadium, 6.30pm
The annual Quandamooka-Turrbal Trophy clash descends on Scottsdale Park this Sunday with one team fighting to stay in the top six and the other desperate for its first win of the season.
Redland produced a stunning upset against Canberra in Round 2, nearly beat Sydney the following week in a nail-biting finish, and failed to go the distance against NT Thunder last round to enter Sunday’s clash looking to find the magic that inspired an early season win against the Demons.
Aspley are 0-3, having had a tough start to the year against Sydney University, defending premier Southport and current ladder leaders Brisbane before the bye last week. But the Hornets will go into battle with Redland with arguably more to loss, as they hope to avoid the club’s worst ever start to a season since the NEAFL began in 2011.
Round 20, 2018: Aspley 19.12 (126) d Redland 8.11 (59) at Graham Rd.
Round 16, 2018: Aspley 17.16 (118) d Redland 12.12 (84) at Scottsdale Park.
Round 6, 2018: Aspley 17.6 (108) d Redland 9.7 (61) at Graham Rd.
1. It’s been an up-and-down start to the season for the Bombers, who broke a long-standing drought with victory at home in Round 2, but have failed to consolidate that win in the last two weeks to be holding their place inside the top six by percentage only. They turned the ball over far too often against NT Thunder last week, and the opposition made them pay for some costly skill errors. If the Bombers can recapture the form which produced a dominant 60-point win over Canberra, they’ll give Aspley a run for its money.
2. Which brings us to the Hornets. A disappointing Round 1 loss to a young Sydney University outfit was followed by an eight-point loss in a winnable match against Southport. The Hornets did well to restrict a Brisbane side with 21 AFL-listed players as much as they did in Round 3, but the equation is simple for ninth-placed Aspley this week: It’s a must-win game.
3. The midfield battle will be interesting to watch this week in terms of generating scoring opportunities. Redland are well ahead in average goals scored per game compared to Aspley (4th and 10th in the competition), but Aspley’s score launches from the midfield account for 72% of their total score so far in 2019 – the third highest strike rate in the competition. It’s a big job ahead for the Bombers midfielders to put the pressure on the Hornets’ out of the middle.
Redland’s Caleb Franks continues to grow in stature in the early parts of 2019. The former Lions Academy member is averaging 17 disposals (61% contested), five tackles, five inside 50s and six clearances per game. Another strong display will have the young gun right in the mix for a NEAFL Rising Star nomination.
STATS THAT MATTER
Redland and Aspley are ranked ninth and 10th respectively in the competition for average contested possessions per game. Whoever can get first hands on the footy this weekend will go along way towards securing the win.
Aspley by 20 points.
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