The mid-season bye has come at the perfect time for new Aspley coach Russell Evans, who is looking for a strong finish to the 2010 season.

Thursday 10 June 2010

The mid-season bye has come at the perfect time for new Aspley coach Russell Evans.

Evans took over from Russell Harding in the middle of last week and had little time to impose his own style on the team against the Brisbane Lions Reserves last weekend.

His main message was centred on defensive efforts – maintaining a high tackle count and stopping the leakage of goals.

Both were achieved, although he could not prevent another concentration lapse that cost the team the game, conceding five goals in the last 12 minutes of the second term in a low scoring game.

“It was a hard week but we kept it simple,” the former Port Adelaide player said of his sudden introduction to senior coaching ranks.

“We concentrated on having good pressure. For the year we’d had an average of 21 goals kicked against us, so we just wanted to be accountable.”

With more than 60 tackles for the game and limiting the opposition to 12 goals, it was a reasonable platform to build from.

“Outside of that patch we outscored them. Our tackle count was way up,” Evans said. “We had 24 tackles in the first quarter and 40 by halftime – we hadn’t been making 40 tackles in a game in the last few weeks.

“The bye is a good thing for us. It gives me a chance to now spend some time with the boys and get some messages through.

“It also allows us to do a bit of work on our fitness. We can get some decent miles into the legs and really drive into the second half of the season.”

With five wins from 27 games since entering the QAFL at the start of 2009, the Hornets will not necessarily be focusing on the win-loss column over the last nine weeks.

“Our focus is less on the wins and more on the things we are trying to improve – the tackle count, how we move the ball around the oval, whether we’re supporting our teammates and some general stuff with playing for each other,” Evans said.

“If we do those things well, the wins will start to come for us.”

Evans shifted captain Robert Copeland into a key defensive role last week the former Lion produced one of his best games for the club.

“I thought Copeland did a great job on (Bryce) Retzlaff in the first half. We put Bushy onto (Aaron) Cornelius just after that (second quarter) patch and held him to two goals in the second half. I thought he was in our best two players,” Evans said.

The lack of a regular goalkicking power forward is a glaring deficiency in our side and regular midfielder Bryce Carroll showed some spark when moved into attack late in last weekend’s game.

“We’ve got a lot of improvement to do with our forward line. Bryce Carroll was good and was our best target all day,” Evans admitted.

The new coach was pleased with the effort of his side in his first outing.

“I was happy with most of the players, I thought they had a go,” he said. “It was a big week for them too.”

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