Southport’s blockbuster clash with Aspley this weekend in the Preliminary Final carries more then just qualifying for the NEAFL Grand Final.
For Aspley, it’s the search for redemption losing in this exact match to Southport in 2018, whilst Southport chase the dream of becoming back-to-back NEAFL premiers.
Much was made of Aspley’s 2-5 start to the year with the Hornets classy football of old coming to the fore in the midway part of the season.
Aspley rallied to finish third and took on the GIANTS in the first round of finals, winning by 22 points in a confidence-boosting victory at home.
Southport finished the season in second with a 13-5 record which included a loss to Aspley in wet conditions at Fankhauser Reserve. By finishing second the Sharks had the first round bye.
For Southport co-captain Seb Tape, he says while the bye is always nice after a long season, his side was chomping at the bit to play some footy.
“We were pretty happy to have a week off and reset, but the boys at training this week have been jumping out of their skin,” he told neafl.com.au.
When asked about the rivalry with Aspley, Tape is looking forward to the clash given their history with the Hornets.
Aspley’s finals experience, combined with the scars of last year’s Preliminary Final loss was a cause to be wary of according to the Sharks skipper.
“We’ve had some really good battles with them… they are always fierce to the contest and we know what they bring - a good, hard, footy contest.
“Aspley have played a lot of finals footy. They are battled hardened and we expect them to be hungry, we just hope that we can match it.”
In his second year as vice-captain, Tape says it’s about leading from the front on the field as a leader when asked about his role.
“You say a lot of words during the year but it’s really about actions, myself and Boso (Andrew Boston) look to lead from the front in that sense,” he said.
And it’s that lead from the front attitude that has seen the Sharks reach the levels they have in 2019.
With the cool headed Tape leading a backline stacked with NEAFL experience including Ryan Davis and Brodie Murdoch, it is easy to see why Southport continue to strive on to bigger and better things following their success in 2018.
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