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Lions fall to Aspley

Justin Lillecrapp, AFL.com.au  September 1, 2018 6:30 PM

 - Brisbane Lions

Aspley have condemned Brisbane to their first finals loss in NEAFL history, defeating Brisbane by 48 points in front of a big home crowd at Graham Rd.

A four-goal-to-one third quarter was the catalyst for the Hornets victory as they booked a Preliminary Final berth against Southport, running away 14.18 (102) to 7.12 (54) winners.

Aspley coach John Blair said it was arguably one of their best performances of the year.

“I struggle to find someone who didn’t contribute for us,” Blair told neafl.com.au.

“We had a lot of blokes who got their job done and that is all we can ask for.

“From the effort we got the result we were after.”

Brisbane controlled the early exchanges of the match with Ben Keays and Corey Lyons driving the midfield.

With the strong winds playing havoc, Aspley asserted themselves in the contest on their home deck. Brisbane led by 10 points at the first break, thanks largely to Aspley’s wayward goalkicking (1.8).

Brisbane key defender Jack Frost suffered a head knock late in the first quarter, playing no further part in the game.

The Lions kicked the first two goals of the second quarter opening a 20-point lead. The wind continued to cause chaos in front of goal, as both teams sprayed several kicks out of bounds.

Enter NEAFL MVP winner Matt Payne, who snapped truly from the pocket to level scores at the main break and set the match up for grandstand finish.

It was an arm wrestle early in the third until Aspley kicked two goals in a minute through Connor Stackelberg and James Ives, before Ryan Bastinac kicked his third goal of the game to halt Aspley’s momentum.

Aspley peppered their forward 50, only to be thwarted by multiple Sam Skinner defensive marks and spoils. Skinner received assistance from Liam Dawson and Toby Wooller as the duo swung back after spending much of the first half in the forward line.

Fifteen minutes passed without a goal from either side, until the Hornets put together another double strike taking an 18-point lead into the final break.

Frost going down early hurt Brisbane as they had to utilise Dawson and Wooler to hold Jono Freeman and James Nelis accountable. The effects were obvious for Brisbane as both Dawson and Wooller were impressive in the forward half early in proceedings.

The Hornets ran away with the contest in the final quarter kicking six goals to one. Payne kicked two last quarter goals in another splendid performance finishing with 25 disposals, eight clearances and seven inside 50 entries.

“You don’t win three MVP’s and a couple of Grogan Medals if you cant play,” Blair said of his star co-captain. “I think ‘Payney’ really showed his true worth today and what a great competitor he is, he was very good.”

Henry Joyce (18 disposals) and Gavin Grose (19 disposals and seven rebounds) were sublime patrolling the back half for the Hornets.

A crucial duel throughout the day was the ruck battle between Jake Spencer and Archie Smith. Spencer had 46 hit outs, 11 disposals and a goal, which was enough to coach Blair to give his charger the chocolates in the duel.

“I thought Jake won the contest pretty well,” Blair said.

“Around the ground he took some grabs early and gave our midfield good use.”

Keays (32 disposals), Lyons (30 disposals) and Bastinac (27 disposals and three goals) were strong through the midfield for Brisbane, whilst Skinner toiled hard in defence taking eight marks.

Aspley will take on Southport in the first Preliminary Final next week at Fankhauser Reserve. The winner of that match will host the Grand final against either Sydney or Canberra.

ELIMINATION FINAL 2
Aspley Hornets v Brisbane Lions at Graham Rd

ASPLEY 1.8 4.12 8.14 14.18 (102)
BRISBANE 3.4 5.6 6.8 7.12 (54)

GOALS – Aspley: M Payne 3 J Freeman 3 C Stackelberg 2 B Beardsell B Batchelor J Craven J Spencer J Ives J Nelis. Brisbane: R Bastinac 3 J Barrett C Ballenden C Lyons T Wooller.
BEST – Aspley: M Payne H Joyce J Craven J Freeman G Grose J Spencer. Brisbane: S Skinner B Keays R Bewick S Mayes R Bastinac K Coleman.

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