NEAFL ROUND 9
Southport Sharks (3rd) v Aspley Hornets (7th)
Fankhauser Reserve, 1:30pm
Saturday,June 1, 2019
A season-defining match for both clubs looms this weekend at Fankhauser Reserve, as the Sharks look to further cement their spot in the top six, and the Hornets hope to return to the top six in pursuit of September action.
The Sharks are 6-1 and looked primed to once again challenge for the flag, and it’s games like this weekend’s clash that are must-win if Southport fancy themselves again in 2019.
Fresh off of a win in Darwin over the Thunder, and then a bye round, Aspley couldn’t be facing the reigning premiers at a better time. It’ll be a tough task away from home, but if the Hornets can manage a win here, there’s no reason why they can’t be bolting contenders this season.
Round 2, 2019: Southport 8.21 (69) defeated Aspley 8.13 (61)
at Voxson Oval
Preliminary Final, 2018: Southport 11.15 (81) defeated Aspley 6.8 (44) at Fankhauser Reserve
Round 19, 2018: Aspley 11.13 (79) defeated Southport 8.8 (56) at Voxson Oval
1. Last time Southport played Aspley, the Hornets almost pulled a major upset over a wasteful Sharks lineup. Southport nabbed only an eight-point win, despite having 29 scoring shots to the Hornets’ 20. Southport’s accuracy has troubled them in patches throughout the season, and this is the game to amend those woes.
2. In his six matches since joining the Hornets from Box Hill, livewire small forward Billy Murphy is yet to score less than two goals in a match. Up to Round 8, Murphy has bagged two six-goal hauls in his last three matches. A fast ground like Fankhauser will play into Murphy’s strengths, so keep a keen eye on number 9.
3. Former Gold Coast and Carlton midfielder Matt Shaw is proving to be possibly recruit of the year. He sits equal first on the NEAFL MVP Leaderboard alongside Sydney’s James Rowbottom with 36 votes. In a close second is reborn midfielder Tyler Roos with 33 votes. He has been sidelined with injury the past couple of weeks, so he would be a massive inclusion if ruled fit to play.
STATS THAT MATTER
The battle at stoppages will be a fascinating one. Aspley star ruckman Jake Spencer has averaged 38 hit-outs over his last two matches, while Southport big man Jed Turner a mere 21.5. The Sharks have a strong on-ball brigade, and need to win the clearances, a stat they’ve struggled to lead this season.
Aspley youngter Tom Baulch is growing in confidence each week as he adapts to NEAFL level. The 19-year-old West Australian has played three matches this year and will be pushing his case for selection this week.
Southport by 15.
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