Saturday 14 August 2010

A powerful last quarter against the breeze saw the revitalized Aspley nail the Brisbane Lions by 14 points in a tight encounter at Giffin Park today.

The Lions were poised for victory when they trailed by just eight points at the last change and had the aid of a strong breeze at their back, but it was Aspley who did all the attacking in the early stages of the final stanza.

The Hornets stretched the margin to as much as 25 points, before winning 13.16 (94) to 11.14 (80).

Lions coach Craig McRae refused to use the fact that he only had 21 players at his disposal – and 20 after halftime – as an excuse.

In fact, McRae gave his players a stern talking to after the game.

“We didn’t have an ability to get any other (top-up) players this week so we had to go with what we had,” McRae said.

“But I honestly don’t think it impacted at all. I was disappointed. The game was there to be won. We were kicking with the breeze but didn’t have enough players step up and want to be part of it.

“I was really disappointed with the commitment. You walk away knowing that was a very winnable game and we got shown up. We were exposed for skill and a by a team that wanted to win more.”

The Lions controlled the game well against the breeze in the opening term, running the ball well and stifling the Hornets forward line.

While they struggled early in the second term with the wind at their backs, the Lions appeared to have broken the game open when they booted three goals in four minutes in time-on of the second quarter to jump to a 20-point lead.

Sam Sheldon, Dayne Beams and Bryce Retzlaff were instrumental in the surge that broke open a previously tight affair.

However, Aspley got one back on the stroke of halftime and then manufactured four goals to one with the wind in the third term.

It was all one-way traffic in the final term, with Bryce Carroll setting up a brilliant early goal and the Hornets kicking three in eight minutes to stun the home team.

Good pressure by the Lions forwards resulted in a goal to Niall McKeever at the 15-minute mark, their first for the quarter, and it was game-on when Jesse O’Brien snapped truly off one-step 60 seconds later.

Aspley were ferocious at the contest and when Jamie Sheahan caught Adam Spackman trying to burst out of a pack, received a holding the ball decision, and goalled with a nice set shot at the 20-minute mark, the Hornets were home.

Sheahan booted four goals and was prominent for his side, while Sean Tighe worked hard, Adam Hughes dominated the last quarter at centre-half-forward, and Robert Copeland repelled numerous attacks.

Inspirational midfielder Matt Shir, who has played through pain in recent weeks to help guide the team out on the ground, spent much of his day in a forward line role and was delighted with the effort of his young teammates.

Shir said his side was confident going into the three-quarter-time huddle, despite being up against the odds.

“The message was really just to play the way we’ve been going over  the last couple of weeks, just look after each other and play for each other,” Shir said.

“Our last quarters have been good, our fitness is not a problem. To run over the top of them in the last quarter despite kicking into the breeze was fantastic.

“It gives us something to look forward to next year.”

Buchanan and Troy Selwood were Brisbane’s best, while Beams also tried hard.

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