Aspley fought hard all day but lacked the polish to overcome a determined Labrador in their Round 14 QAFL clash at Cooke-Murphy Oval yesterday.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Labrador had to dig deep in the last quarter to shake off a dogged Aspley and celebrate quality clubman Todd Featherstone’s 100th game in appropriate fashion at Cooke-Murphy Oval yesterday.

The Tigers were under extreme pressure when they led by just four points at the final break, but kicked three goals to nil with the advantage of the breeze in the final term to win 10.19 (79) to 7.9 (51).

While Grogan Medal winner and three-time club champion Featherstone was lively all day, it was the move of Fred Sleeth from full-back to full-forward at the start of the last quarter that changed the complexion of the game.

Sleeth kicked two goals, had a hand in the other, and provided a strong marking presence throughout the final 30 minutes that the Tigers had lacked to that point in the absence of Tim Notting.

“Fred gave us a real target…they were telling goals,” admitted Labrador coach Jarrod Field. “He’s still not back to where he was, but he is improving.”

In fact, the Tigers didn’t make the game safe until the start of time-on in the final quarter.

“We were really happy to get the result,” said Field, who was acutely aware there could have been a letdown after the euphoric win over Southport the previous week.

“I knew this was going to be a danger game, the same as it was last time we went to Aspley. We really had to grind it out the whole day.”

Aspley welcomed back Matt Shir for the game, although they were still without Robert Copeland, whose shoulder still wasn’t right.

Shir didn’t move as well as usual, but still gave his side plenty, while Matt Trewhella was heavily bandaged but also proved a constant thorn for the home team.

The Hornets led by nine points at quarter-time, and the scores where level at halftime. Having not lost a fourth quarter in coach Russell Evans’ tenure, Aspley were a real threat entering the last term, but the Tigers were too determined and polished when it counted.

While Featherstone was the best midfielder on the ground, Dustin Mills did a power of work across half-back and Nick Stockdale was prominent again in the last line of defence.

Mat Clarke gave his side plenty of drive, while tagger Curtis Allen continued to chalk up his number of ‘kills’ by limiting the influence of Hornets midfield general Jamie Sheahan.

Sheahan tried desperately hard to shake the tag and was not his side’s worst player, but only managed the solitary goal when moving forward, with Allen following wherever he went.

“That was a good result for us,” Field said.

Aspley had all single goalkickers, without a key forward able to have an impact against the strong Tigers defence.

Midfielder Reece Toye and quality utility Brent Evans were again top-notch performers for the visitors, while Tyson Hartwig was strong in defence.

“They (Aspley) were good all day – they might be ninth on the ladder but they are a lot better than that would suggest,” Field said.

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