By MITCH TERPSTRA
Southport has held on for its third straight win for the year by six points against a gallant Canberra at Phillip Oval on Friday.
After starting the match slowly, the Sharks were able to claim some momentum in the match and making the most of a dominant third quarter to win 13.10 (88) to 12.10 (82).
It was clear from the opening bounce that Canberra had a chip on their shoulder from a disappointing loss last week. The Demons were able to get some chains of clean possessions leading to a massive discrepancy for the number of inside 50.
Canberra Demons coach Kade Klemke was happy with the way his side was able to start the game in the first quarter, particularly with their pressure around the ground after lacking that in last week’s loss.
Tom Highmore was dominant in the Demons backline through intercept marking and creating contests and was rewarded with a goal early.
Southport was finding it hard to get the ball into their half-forward line with only six inside 50s for the quarter, but were able to make the most of their opportunities when forward.
Former Blue and Sun Matt Shaw was working hard in the midfield racking up nine disposals and a goal with Dylan Fyfe also gaining eight disposals.
It was a different story for the second term as it felt like the Sharks had taken the momentum of the match coming out after the break. Both sides were inaccurate for shots at goal.
The Southport midfielders were able to push the ball further into their forward line on a much more consistent basis, with Mackenzie Willis doing plenty of damage for the away side.
The despite losing the second quarter, the home side were still able to keep their pressure up against the might of Southport, kicking a late goal by Mitch Hardie to give them an eight-point advantage heading into the main break.
Mitch Maguire was able to start finding more touches with Angus Baker playing a commanding role with 17 disposals at the half.
It was raining goals coming out of the half-time break as Southport was able to convert their dominance around the ball with a six goal to three in a see-sawing third quarter.
Majority of the last term saw the margin stay within six points as the Demons would work hard for a goal to close the gap to nothing, only for Southport to find an easy goal to push the margin back out again.
In the last 10 minutes of the final quarter all three results were possible with a draw looking all the more likely. A goal by Manteit at the 20-minute mark proving the difference as Canberra couldn’t make us of forward opportunities late in the game.
Southport coach Steve Daniel said that the preparation going into the game was not optimal as well unlucky injuries during the game.
“We weren’t pleased with our performance today… Last night our plane was delayed we didn’t get in until 1 o’clock in the morning and … that wasn’t ideal so our preparation was a bit ordinary,” he said.
He was, however, happy with the way his side was able to finish the game from the slow start.
“We are absolutely rapt to get away with the four points,” he said.
“We probably should have been five goals down at quarter-time. Canberra dominated us in that first half they jumped us and … we got ourselves back in to it of course in that second quarter and we just hung on.”
Canberra will now turn their attention to facing off against a young Sydney University side at Henson Park next weekend, while Southport have the bye and will face Sydney University in Round 5 at Henson Park.
NEAFL ROUND 3
Canberra Demons v Southport Sharks at Phillip Oval
SOUTHPORT 3.1 5.5 11.8 13.10 (88)
CANBERRA 5.3 6.7 9.8 12.10 (82)
GOALS – Southport: C Ford 2 M Johnson 2 J Hall 2 M Shaw T Roos T Fields M Doran M Manteit. Canberra: T Faul 2 M Hardie 2 A PAech 2 A Kinasch 2 H Carr A Bruce T Highmore J Osborne.
BEST – Southport: B Murdoch M Shaw J Williams T Fields J Turner T Roos. Canberra: T Highmore C Owen-Auburn A Baker M Maguire J Maynard R Budd.
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