ASPLEY has been crowned the 2023 QAFL Reserves Premiers after overcoming an impressive Broadbeach outfit by 14-points at Giffin Park.
The Hornets missed the 2022 Grand Final by less than a kick and after an impressive win over Palm Beach Currumbin in the Preliminary Final; produced their best performance of the season to secure the flag.
There is always a hard luck story when a Senior team makes a Grand Final; but when the Reserves team also makes the Grand Final, it provides a major opportunity to make an impact on the game.
Aspley’s Mitch Crawley played all of his 18 games of the season in the Senior team; including the Semi Final where he kicked a goal in the win over Redland Victoria Point.
Unfortunately for Mitch, he was left out of the Senior team but was given the chance to take the field in the Reserves team with coach Michael Smith using him to perfection in the most important match-up of the Grand Final, and one that secured the premiership.
Crawley lined up on Broadbeach spearhead Harry McInnes who kicked seven goals in the Semi Final win over Aspley. Crawley did not leave McInnes for the entire game.
Minor premiers Broadbeach burst out of the blocks with a goal inside the opening two minutes through spearhead Adam Hull.
Aspley started to get its hands on the ball but missed some crucial chances going inside 50 with misses from Sculpher, Lonergan and Owens; before Ky McKenzie pounced onto a loose ball and kicked his first goal and hand his team the lead inside eight-minutes.
The Hornets continued to command the inside-50s but failed to capitalise on some golden chances; moving to 1.6 in the space of 10-minutes.
As is often the case, the opposition presses forward and kicks a goal against the run of play and this was no exception as Hull was awarded a free kick and put Broadbeach back in front nearing the 20-minute mark of the term.
Broadbeach 2.3.15 – 1.6.12 – Aspley
With Justice Bentley, Mason O’Sullivan and Lachlan Sherwood in control across half-back, Aspley hit the scoreboard early with another impressive goal from McKenzie.
When the ball returned to the centre; Broadbeach made the most of the next centre clearance with Hapeo Bobogi kicking a goal at the top of the goal square from a brilliant snap and was shortly followed up by an impressive set shot conversion from Gold Coast VFL listed Ben O’Brien to open up a game-high nine-point lead.
Rhiley Owens sparked to life up forward for the Hornets with a classic goal and Mac Herring kicked a towering goal from a set shot from outside 50 as they hit the front again.
The see-sawing affair continued when Charles Bettiol put the Cats back in front from a steady set shot and they held on to a narrow half-time lead.
Broadbeach 5.3.33 – 4.8.32 Aspley
Broadbeach rotated QAFL Rising Star Taine Dawson and 2023 recruit Shawn Watson through the ruck but they couldn’t bypass the strength of Aspley ruckman Jay Harms who was able to get his hands on a lot of the ball.
Aspley was able to get its hands on the ball inside the first few minutes of the term with goals to McKenzie (his third) and league best and fairest winner Kuot Thok to open up a handy game-high 11-point lead.
The remainder of the quarter was a genuine arm-wrestle with neither team backing down from the challenge in a typical battle between the top two teams in the competition.
Aspley’s defense held firm with Crawley shutting McInnes out of the game while Hamilton Howard, Alan O’Neill and Ben O’Brien lifted in the midfield for Broadbeach.
It was the inability to kick back-to-back goals that hurt the minor premiers as Aspley held on to a three-point lead at three-quarter-time despite the free kick and 50 metre penalty that had Broadbeach star Brandon Chadwick kick a goal on three-quarter time.
Aspley 8.9.57 – 8.6.54 Broadbeach
With a physical start to the final term and the game being locked in between the arcs; it was Callum Royle and Josh Bankes that arose from the chaos to kick back-to-back goals in two-minutes for Aspley to open up a 14-point lead; and ultimately a match-winning one.
O’Brien and Sam Banks-Smith (two goals in the final term) tried their best to lift the Cats back in the game but when McKenzie kicked his fourth and final goal at the 22.5-minute mark; it was celebration time for the Hornets; the siren sounding 90-seconds later to secure a famous win.
Ky McKenzie of Aspley was judged best afield with four goals and achieved a rare feat in kicking the first and last goals for his team in a Grand Final to secure the premiership.
McKenzie also became the second player for the day to win the best on ground medal with four goals for a team that finished second on the ladder at the end of the home and away season and defeated the highly fancied Minor Premiers.
Aspley 12.9.81 defeated Broadbeach 10.7.67
Goals: (Aspley) Ky McKenzie 4, Mac Herring 2, Rhiley Owens 2, Josh Bankes, Alex Barnes, Callum Royle and Kout Thok 1. (Broadbeach) Sam Banks-Smith 2, Adam Hull 2, Charles Bettiol, Hapeo Bobogi, Jezz Butler, Brandon Chadwick, Harry McInnes and Ben O’Brien 1.
Best on ground – Ky McKenzie (4.0) – Aspley