By BEN HUNTER
Brisbane and Aspley provided an entertaining, energetic contest as new rules and players were on full show at Voxson Oval on Saturday afternoon.
With the Lions fielding 16 AFL-listed players for the majority of the contest, and Aspley rotating through the entirety of their list, it was the visitors who found an extra gear in the second half to runaway 93-50 victors.
Brisbane NEAFL coach Mitch Hahn was pleased with his side’s intensity and drive throughout the match, it being the side’s first proper hit-out for the season.
“I thought it was a really healthy contest,” Hahn told neafl.com.au.
“Aspley have got a new coach in, you could see they were playing for him, it brought a lot of spirit and energy to the group.
“I thought our guys really dug-in. We had eight 19-year-olds (academy players), and we had some experience with Stef Martin, so we had a good mix and I thought it was a really good contest.”
To start the game, Aspley fielded its best side, with Matt Payne and Jake Spencer as notable absentees.
It was an arm wrestle throughout the first half, with the Lions – who were coached by Development Coach Luke Henrikson on the day – locking it in their end for much of the first two quarters.
However, Aspley’s solid defence allowed for the game to be within seven points at the main break. Defenders Jimmy Aganas and Jackson Allen were instrumental early as they repelled attack after attack.
The Lions’ midfield had the upper hand throughout the game, with veteran ruckman Stef Martin consistently winning the ruck battle against the less experienced Hornets ruck duo.
Martin gelled well with his less experienced teammates, notably in the first quarter as he expertly knocked a throw-in long into the path of exciting draftee Tom Berry, who was able to transfer it inside 50 for a Ben Keays goal, the first of his four for the afternoon.
Aspley gathered momentum through the second quarter, with new recruit Billy Murphy showing his skill and pace on numerous occasions, frequently weaving traffic, finding space and hitting targets.
The second half saw the Hornets rest a number of their more senior players, rotating more of their youth around the ground, and the Lions did likewise as the half progressed.
Brisbane captain for the day Tom Cutler provided the highlight of the second half, sidestepping his opponent on the boundary in the forward 50, and piercing the goals from the tightest of angles.
Zach Stone’s run and carry and Josh Keleher’s two goals were the standouts for the Hornets as the match began to slip away from the home side.
While the scorecard suggested a poor showing for the home side, new coach Daniel Webster still believed there were plenty of positives.
“We ticked off everything we wanted to,” Webster stated.
“We got through with no major injuries, got a good hit-out as well.
“A lot of our boys showcased their talents and what they’ve got to offer, good practice and execution of our structures as well. (I’m) very happy.”
With a resounding win under the belt, Hahn was especially happy with the youth players on display and the liveliness they brought.
“I thought our draftees and development players provided really good energy today. We come here with a plan to make sure our energy and our attitude are on, and they were both on,” he elaborated.
“I was really pleased with the way that Tommy Berry could come in as a draftee, same with Noah Answerth, Tommy Joyce, those guys.”
The Lions will next take on Redland in a fortnight, while Aspley will face the Bombers at home next Saturday afternoon.
NEAFL Practice Match at Voxon Oval
BRISBANE 2.2 5.4 8.8 14.9 (93)
ASPLEY 1.2 4.3 6.5 7.8 (50)
GOALS – Brisbane: B Keays 4 K Coleman 2 D Marsh 2 B Reville 2 T Cutler T Wooller C Lyons J Allison. Aspley: J Keleher 2 B Murphy W Gowers T Baulch B Nelis L Hampton.
Don’t forget to download our free NEAFL App, featuring live Champion Data stats, player bios and more! Available now from the Google Play and Apple stores.
Have your say! Follow the NEAFL on Twitter (@neaflofficial), Instagram (@neaflofficial) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/neaflofficial).