The Mt Gravatt machine has hit high gear after another big win, this time over Aspley, to confirm they are on the march.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Mt Gravatt withstood everything that a brave but undermanned Aspley could throw at them and then sprinted away to an impressive 20.15 (135) to 11.14 (80) win at Graham Road this afternoon.

Missing key midfielder Matt Shir (calf) and defender Robert Copeland (shoulder), the Hornets were impressive in a high standard first half and did not deserve to trail by 25 points at the long break.

It was a reflection of the quality of Mt Gravatt’s game that they should open such a handy gap, then put the Hornets to the sword with six goals in the opening 14 minutes of the third term.

Shane Morrison booted seven goals against Aspley for the second time this season and the Hornets defence struggled to cope with him, while Dean Page, Ash Evans, Rory Lake and Damien Stevens were outstanding in the midfield.

With Adam and Tom Tarrant and Amua Pirika unpassable in defence, Mt Gravatt controlled most parts of the ground, other than Aspley ball magnet Jamie Sheahan who collected 30-plus possessions and booted six goals.

Veteran Darryl White was lively across half-forward in the first half and it was his two goals from special marks in the last three minutes that gave the Vultures breathing space.

White then turned back the clock with a spectacular leap and hang on top of pack to drag in a screamer in the stroke of three quarter time and kick his third.

The first quarter was an entertaining affair with both sides handling the ball cleanly and running the ball strongly from half-back.

Morrison kicked three goals and set up another opposed to Tyson Hartwig, while Josh Vearing was dominant running off half-back and his passing clinical.

Nathan Gilliland and White continually found space and three goals in eight minutes through the middle stages of the term saw the Vultures out to a useful 14-point break.

The home side hit back with three goals of their own in seven minutes, big Dylan Reid getting heavily involved, Sheahan buzzing around in the midfield, and Matt Trewhella offering something when moved off White and into the forward line.

Brent Evans was outstanding all day in a number of roles for the home side and he played a part in two goals in a minute midway through the quarter to edge right back after the Vultures threatened to get away again.

Aspley’s talking and harassing of the ball carrier was excellent through most the quarter, but the Vultures were equal to the task, with Michael Schultz coming into the game strongly across half-forward.

The Hornets matched the Vultures with an early goal in the third term before the Vultures nailed five in six blistering minutes to blow the game apart.

They took total control of the middle with David Hill knocking the ball to the advantage of Lake and Evans in particular.

Schultz and Page – now playing as a deep forward – were everywhere, and with Morrison drawing numerous opponents, the Vultures capitalized both in the air and when the ball did hit the ground.

When Aspley did go forward, they ran straight into the Tarrants and watched as the ball came back out quickly.

Trailing by 55 points at the final break, Aspley never gave away the contest and kept their record intact of not having lost a fourth quarter under new coach Russell Evans, squaring it at 2.4 apiece.

Ryan Thomson was particularly prominent in the second half for the Vultures, while Bill Cleary did some clever work deep in defence and pinch-hitting in the absence of Ryan Head (foot).

Sheahan never stopped running and booted both his side’s goals in the final term, one late at full-forward after having run himself ragged in the midfield.

He and Evans were clearly his side’s best players, while the Vultures had half a dozen candidates for best afield honours.

There is no doubt they have generated enormous momentum over the past two weeks since the return of a number of key players, especially Evans and Tom Tarrant.

The victory gave Nev Miller a 2-0 record as stand-in coach, having registered big wins over Labrador and the Hornets in David Lake’s absence on South Pacific Under 16 duties.

“We just got better as the game went on,” Miller said. “We probably took our foot off the pedal a little bit in the last quarter but it’s pretty hard when you’re 10 goals up.

“Our tackle count was better than it has been, so it was pretty pleasing all up.”

Mt Gravatt’s desperation was a feature, with Morrison and Vearing both throwing themselves head-first into oncoming traffic when the game was well and truly over as a contest.

Miller agreed White’s goals late in the second term were critical.

“He’s still got it, hasn’t he?” Miller said. “He’s got those big long spider arms. He gets them in the air. He was really good today.”

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