Thursday 24 February 2011

Aspley have targeted a number of forward recruits to bolster their scoring efficiency for the 2011 NEAFL season, while remaining committed to nurturing the production line of quality local youngsters coming through.

After a miserable first season and a half in the QAFL, the Hornets finished 2010 in style, winning five of their last nine games under then caretaker coach Russell Evans.

The only big loss by the Hornets in that time was by 55 points to a resurgent Mt Gravatt, but they led Southport at halftime and beat the finals-bound NT Thunder, and the Lions Reserves.

Having lost 30 players in the previous off-season, the Hornets lost just three regulars this summer and three fringe players.

Gutsy midfielder Sam Carpenter has returned home to Victoria as has utility Bryce Carroll, but it is a far cry from the mass exodus of 12 months earlier.

The Hornets have enticed South Barwon premiership players Sam Stavenuiter (pictured), Mitch McKee and Brandon Backwell to Graham Road, with Stavenuiter set to join local boy Adam Hughes as a focal point in attack.

McKee, a clever left-footer, is also a noted goalkicker, booting 11 in the final two rounds of the GFL qualifying rounds last season. Stavenuiter was the club’s leading goalkicker with 42.

Stavenuiter, 21, told The Geelong Advertiser the timing was right for the three youngsters to embark on a stint in Queensland.

“We thought that while we’re young and the opportunity is there, we’d give it a go,” Stavenuiter said. “We’ve pretty much all finished our apprenticeships now and we thought we’d go up there while we didn’t have any tie-downs in Geelong.”

Aspley are also delighted with the progress of Steve Brittain, whose family is synonymous with football in the northern suburbs.

The strong-marking key forward has hardly played in the last two years because of injury but has the ability to wield a huge influence on the team when fully fit.

“He has had a horrendous run with injury but he looks fantastic on the track now,” said Hornets football manager Mark Perkins.

Brittain kicked six goals for Queensland in consecutive years in the annual State Under 21 game against the Victorian Amateurs before being sidelined.

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