QAFL Season Preview – Aspley

Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend

What a difference a year makes. Aspley moved from the VFL into the QAFL across the 2022 pre-season with high hopes that it can compete and challenge for the title.

After joining the NEAFL in 2011; with more than a decade away from the top competition in Queensland, it was always going to be a challenge to access how the brand and talent in the line-up from the team post departing the VFL would stack up against the best of the competition.

It took just six-months to see that Aspley proved that without a shadow-of-a-doubt that it could contend for the premiership early in the season and proved to be the best team all year when it saluted with the 2022 premiership flag against previously unbeaten reigning premiers Broadbeach.
The best performance by the Hornets during the home and away season arguably came against a red-hot Labrador outfit at home in Round 17. The Hornets started strongly with Stackleberg looking unstoppable up forward and after kicking the first six goals of the game, this group showed that it was going to take some beating, especially after some challenging losses against the better teams to that point.
Aspley celebrated two wins over Redland Victoria Point en-route to the Grand Final from that point, but securing a major scalp in emphatic fashion so close to the finals instilled belief in the group and put the competition on notice.
Liam Dawson celebrated his best game of his career in the biggest game of his career with a best on ground effort in the premiership, and highlighting that fullbacks on their day can be the difference on the big stage and he most certainly was.
Reigning, defending premiership coach and one of the most respected members of the AFL Queensland community Daniel Webster returns for his fifth season as head coach of the Hornets.

Webster will be assisted by Marc Seen (defenders), Adrian Pilgrim (midfield) and Brent Evans (forwards) with the latter replacing Jarad Marsh who has stepped into the role of head coach at Sherwood.

Tom Templeton – returning player. Inside midfielder. Tom is an elite ball winner both inside the contest and out and is an excellent kick.
Jono Freeman – returning player. Jono a power forward, he is very good one on one, is an excellent mark and a noted goal kicker.
Tom Jeffrey – returning player. Tom is a versatile midfield or forward. He is an excellent runner, uses the ball very well and has a very high football IQ.

Key outs: Finbar Delbridge (moved to Newcastle)

Aspley has many young players that have worked hard during the pre-season and will look to make their mark in the Senior team when opportunities present itself.

Will Peppin (No.44)  –  is likely to feature consistently in the weekly highlight reel for mark of the year. Is a high leaping forward.

”The easy answer is Broadbeach who have been strong for a long period of time. Redland Victoria Point have added a lot of class to their side and Palm Beach Currumbin, along with many other teams have some high profile recruits which is great for the competition.
But we look forward to every week, all teams have great players and young stars coming through which makes every week exciting. “ – Daniel Webster
Coen Harker – starts his third year of football coming off being one of our best finals players in 2022.
“Sam McLachlan from Maroochydore, he is an absolute jet!” – Daniel Webster
Fixture rating based on 2022 final Home and Away standings
12, 8, 5, 6, 7, 2, 10, 1, 8, 6, 9, 4, 6, 12, 7, 9, 10, 3 = 129

It’s not surprising that the reigning premiers boast one of the hardest, if not, the hardest draw out of all QAFL teams this season. It plays each of the top six teams from 2022, twice (10 matches in total) including the 2022 Grand Final re-match at home against Broadbeach to launch its 2023 campaign and its premiership flag.
With so much improvement in  the off-season from teams that didn’t make the 2022 finals, it would be fair to say that any time Aspley plays, it will be an unbelievable contest and spectators will see a high quality game between two quality sides.

Aspley plays an attractive attacking brand of football; and opposition teams will be mindful of that and have to pull out all stops to compete.

There is no reason why this group, with the return of a number of key players, can’t go to the promise land again in 2023.

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