Will Gowers is tackled by Jack Munkara. Photo: TJ Yelds/NEAFL.

By JESS WEBSTER

 

NEAFL ROUND 9

Saturday, June 9, 2018
Aspley Hornets (6th) v NT Thunder (8th) at Graham Rd, 1.30pm
*This match will be streamed live on ThunderVision (youtube.com/territorythunder)
*Live Champion Data statistics available on the Official NEAFL App

SUMMARY

Aspley and NT Thunder head into their Round 10 clash with opposite form in recent weeks, but we simply can’t enough of this fierce rivalry. The Hornets have sprung back to life after losing three of their first four games, sitting comfortably in sixth after winning four of their past five.

NT Thunder, meanwhile, are having a tough run. They won their first two games of the year against Brisbane and Aspley, but have since only tasted victory once from their past six matches to be languishing in eighth. On the plus side, they always rise to the occasion against their old foes, and will be desperate to recapture their magic which saw them triumph over the Hornets by 28 points in Round 2.

A win for Aspley could see them in equal fourth by the end of the round, while the four points are crucial for NT Thunder to keep in touch with the top six.

RECENT ENCOUNTERS

Round 2, 2018: NT Thunder 16.12 (108) d Aspley 11.14 (80) at Graham Rd
Round 21, 2017: Aspley 16.10.106 d NT Thunder 8.13.61 at Graham Rd
Round 16, 2017: NT Thunder 14.13.97 d Aspley 13.7.85 at TIO Stadium

TALKING POINTS

1. Aspley tend to start seasons slow before pushing for an assault on the finals series towards the back end of the season. This year is no different after the Hornets dropped three of their first four games of the year. But they’ve really began to heat up in the past month, winning four of their past five games – including scalps against Sydney and Brisbane – to sit in a comfortable position on the ladder at the halfway mark of the season. A win over their old foes – who’ve won three of their past four encounters – would no doubt have the side full of confidence.

2. Third quarters have been an issue for NT Thunder this year, winning just three of eight, and their last two games have been particularly damaging. In their past two losses to Sydney University (Round 8) and the GIANTS last week, Thunder have conceded a combined 76 points in the ‘premiership quarter’ alone.

3. Darren Ewing stands on the cusp of two historic league milestones – 150 games (currently 145) and 600 goals. He’s currently on 590 majors, and while the task is a big one this week, he certainly loves a goal at Graham Rd. The legendary full-forward averages over four goals per game at the venue, and has kicked a least one goal in all nine matches – five of which he’s booted five goals or more. All eyes will be on ‘Boof’ in the coming weeks to see what he can pull out of his bag of tricks.

ROOKIE WATCH

Former Sydney Swans Academy member Will Gowers continues to grow at his new club in 2018. The 19-year-old averages 18 disposals, two inside 50s and two clearances per game and is playing an important role amongst a star-studded midfield. Gowers is coming off a 24-disposal effort against Brisbane last week, and another solid performance will have him in the mix for a Tribal Sport NEAFL Rising Star nomination.

STATS THAT MATTER

Star Aspley midfield duo Andrew Swallow and Matthew Payne are ranked first and second respectively in the NEAFL for contested possessions, with a combined 247 after eight games. The highest ranked NT Thunder player, Abraham Ankers (eighth) has 88.

PREDICTION

Aspley by 20 points.

 

 

 

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