Friday 20 August 2010

Aspley are treating tomorrow’s clash with superpower Southport at Graham Road in Brisbane’s northern suburbs as a grand final.

It will be their second ‘final’ in the space of a week after setting themselves to give everything against the Brisbane Lions Reserves last weekend, which they duly did.

The Hornets have found their mojo under new coach Russell Evans, winning five of nine games under the former SANFL player and their last three in succession.

“We sat down and earmarked that we wanted to win three out of the last four games and now we have achieved that,” said inspirational on-field leader Matt Shir, who has shone in his first season at Graham Road.

“That was our grand final (against the Lions), but now we’ve got another one against Southport and hopefully we can finish on a good note.”

Aspley have won six last quarters, drawn one and lost two since Evans assumed the job mid-season, and overran the Lions despite having their backs to the wall kicking into a stiff breeze in the final term last weekend.

“We’re up and about now, which is good,” Shir said of the Hornets, who won just two of their first eight matches.

“To run over the top of the Lions in the last quarter despite kicking into the breeze was fantastic. It gives us something to look forward to next year.

“The way we came home is the way we train – we have trained pretty hard over the last couple of months.”

While Aspley cannot make the top five, a victory over Southport would give them enormous credibility to carry through summer, and it would likely see the Sharks lose qualifying final hosting rights.

“They’ve lost a few over the last month – hopefully we’ve got them at the right time,” Shir said.

Shir has been an outstanding pick-up for the Hornets since moving north from Wodonga last summer.

Turning 28 next month, has played 15 of a possible 17 games and is joint leading goalkicker at the club with fellow recruit Jamie Sheahan.

He was also just a vote behind Sheahan as the club’s leading candidate in the Syd Guildford Trophy count for the QAFL Record Player of the Year when voting went into camera, having polled 18 votes to sit in seventh place.

Shir could match up against Sharks veteran half-back Darren O’Brien in a fascinating battle, having spent the majority of his time forward since returning from injury.

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