Aspley players celebrate victory over Brisbane. Photo: TJ Yelds/NEAFL.



A powerful midfield was the catalyst for Preliminary Finalists Aspley as they once again featured among the contenders with a sixth consecutive finals appearance.

Here is the Hornets’ season in review.


By the Numbers

Wins: 13
Losses: 7
Draws: 0
Ladder position: 3rd
Percentage: 110.17
Last year: 6th

Carl Herbert Medal Winner

Matthew Payne

Top 5 NEAFL MVP votes

95: Matthew Payne
56: Andrew Swallow
48: Jake Spencer
39: Ben Warren
32: Reece Toye

Snapshot: Aspley brought in some big names during the off-season but they were on shaky ground early when they lost their first three games. By mid-season Aspley had recovered to sit comfortably in fifth and stormed in to finals off the back of six wins in a row – including two over eventual premier Southport. A hard-fought Elimination Final victory over defending premier Brisbane sent them into a clash with the Sharks for a spot in the Grand Final, but it was Southport who ended the Hornets’ season on their way to premiership glory.

Highlight: The Hornets were involved in their fair share of thrillers in 2018, including a one-point epic against Sydney at the SCG and a five-point heart-stopper against the Sharks at home. But they saved their best win for last when they hosted Brisbane in the Elimination Final. Scores were level at half-time but it was the Hornets who rose to the occasion. Led by a match-winning performance from NEAFL MVP Matthew Payne (three goals), Aspley booted 10 goals to two in the second half for a memorable victory on home turf.

Lowlight: Arguably Aspley’s most disappointing loss came against Canberra at South Pine in Round 12.The Hornets were never really in the contest, trailing by 42 points at three-quarter time before eventually losing by 33. It was a hard loss to swallow when you consider Aspley won the hit-outs (54-27), and clearances (42-26), but skill errors cost them dearly. In the end, 64 of Canberra’s 99 points were scored from Aspley’s turnovers.

Star Power: Aspley were big winners in the recruitment stakes with three former AFL players – Andrew Swallow, Jake Spencer and Jono Freeman – landing at the club in 2018. But the more things change, the more they stay the same, as once again co-captain Matthew Payne was crowned the competition’s best player with his third NEAFL MVP triumph. Swallow, Spencer, and co-captain Ben Warren were rewarded for their outstanding seasons with NEAFL Team of the Year selection, while Reece Toye was in career-best form and Freeman led their goalkicking list.

What’s Next: It will be a new era for the Hornets next year with legendary coach John Blair moving on, and former assistant Daniel Webster taking the helm. Retaining the club’s top talent will be a priority for the Hornets, as well as bringing in some more fresh young talent to keep the side in a strong position to contend for a seventh straight finals series in 2019.



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 (