EFFICIENT PANTHERS CRUSH HORNETS
Sunday 28 June 2009
Aspley were tenacious throughout but they were punished badly for every mistake by Morningside as the Panthers ground their way to an 84-point victory at Esplen Oval today.
Despite making four changes to the side that beat the NT Thunder in a cracking contest in Cairns last weekend, Morningside were still strong over the ball and efficient in the clinches for the young Hornets.
Grogan Medallist Nathan Kinch, State Under 21 full-back Brett Connell, in-form defender Nick Clark and burly onballers Tyson Upton were all absent after last week’s bruising encounter, with a number of youngsters included.
Ex-Townsville teenager Andrew Joyce, former Albury 18-year-old John Mitchell and 21-year-old Eastlake recruit Mark Kimball stepped into the breach and did some good things.
Experienced former Zillmere utility Rob Lucas earned his first senior game with his new club after being consistently among the best in the reserves this season without being able to force his way into the line-up.
But it was mostly the ‘old guard’ who led the way, with ruckman Jacob Gough, former skipper David Lillico, defender Jarrod Price and midfield general Paul Shelton in fine touch.
Wingman Ryan Holman returned to his brilliant best, ensuring Morningside held the midfield ascendancy.
Aspley have been fiercely competitive in the opening term of almost every game they have played this season, and today was no different.
They threw themselves fearlessly into the contests and trailed by just six points at the first break.
The Panthers knew they were in for a battle and lifted a cog in the second term, slamming on six goals to two, and adding another seven to one after the long break.
The final scoreboard read 19.12 (126) to 5.12 (42), with Morningside’s pressure on the ball carrier making it difficult for the Hornets to get clean supply into their forward line.
The damage could have been even worse but for a fine performance by key defender Shaun Tapp opposed to Panthers gun Kent Abey.
Abey never stopped trying and finished with three goals after Tapp began superbly, taking a string of big marks.
Brent Evans and Lucas Matthews continued their consistent seasons for Aspley, while Nikos Keim was prominent in his first senior game for his new club after a long battle with hamstring problems.
Sandgate 17-year-old Adam Hughes booted two goals for the Hornets in a promising sign.
For Morningside, it was their ninth win in succession and gave them a handy one-game break at the top of the premiership table for the first time this season.