Sunday 22 August 2010

Southport survived an early scare from finals spoilers Aspley at Graham Road yesterday to resister a 31-point win and cement a home final for next weekend.

A loss to the Hornets would like have seen the Sharks forfeit second place to Morningside, but they ground their way to a 15.16 (106) to 11.9 (75) victory.

The home side threw everything at the Sharks in what was a very good hit-out going into the finals series for the perennial QAFL powerhouse.

Aspley jumped the Sharks early, kicking 4.2 to 2.3 in the first quarter, although the Sharks edged back to a two-point lead at the main break, and then kicked 5.5 to 2.1 in defining third term.

The critical move of the game was in-form Southport tagger Adam Devine onto Aspley gun Matt Shir.

Devine kept a heavily-strapped Jamie Sheahan from having an impact early in the game, but Shir was in everything despite carrying a leg problem that has hampered him for the last month.

Devine eventually went to Shir and the Hornets ace went right out of the game in the second half due to a combination of the close attention of the Shark and the injury.

At the same time, the skilful Connor Petterson injected himself into the contest and broke the game open with a 15-possession third quarter.

Petterson was everywhere and proved too much for the home side to counter.

Veteran wingman David James and half-back Darren O’Brien had been close to their side’s two best players in the first half and continued in that vein in the third term, while skipper Danny Wise produced his best half hour of the game in the ‘premiership’ quarter.

While gutsy midfielder Sam Carpenter kept on winning ball for his side, he lacked support and the defence had to work overtime.

Full-back Tyson Hartwig did an excellent job on leading goalkicker Cleve Hughes, keeping him goalless in the first, second and final terms.

Unfortunately for the strongly-built Hornet, the glut of ball in the third quarter saw Hughes contribute three of the his team’s five goals.

Southport were kept in the contest by the clever groundwork of Brad Scalzo, who kicked half his side’s goals in the first half (three) and finished with five for the day in his most important contribution for the Sharks since joining them from the Pineapple Hotel Cup at the start of the season. 

It was enough to ensure Hughes won the Ray Hughson Medal.

Youngster Adam Hughes got Aspley up and running with two early goals and was a real livewire for the Hornets to halftime, although Ben Caputi responded superbly to lowering his colours by overpowering his opponent in the second half.

Matt Davis generated many of the early opportunities for the Hornets by running hard off dangerous forward Matt Fowler and enjoyed one of his best games of the season.

Robert Copeland crowned a strong second half of the season with another consistent display at half-back all day, while the consistent Dan Roy was again good and Matt Trewhella rebounded all day.

Matt Waters tagged the prolific Darren Pfeiffer did a reasonable job, although the former Carlton player still won plenty of ball for his side.

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