By SARAH KRAUSE
NEAFL ROUND 12
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Aspley Hornets (5th) v Canberra Demons (4th) at South Pine Sports Complex, 12pm *Live Champion Data statistics available on the Official NEAFL App
With 11 rounds already in the books for 2018, the midway point of the NEAFL season has been and gone, and the competition is really heating up. In particular, the battle between the Canberra Demons and Aspley Hornets – currently sitting at fourth and fifth respectively – is shaping up to be a close one. With both teams at 6-4 for the season, a victory for either side would land them a spot in the top four and help secure a finals berth.
After a bumpy start to the season, the Demons have found their form and won four games on the trot. Coming off a solid 65-point win against NT Thunder at home, the men from the nation’s capital will be full of confidence as they look to keep their unbeaten streak alive.
The Hornets kicked off 2018 with three consecutive losses but have since rebounded in impressive fashion to win six of their past seven, including taking down competition heavyweights in the Brisbane Lions, Sydney Uni and the Sydney Swans. The victory that began this strong run was appropriately over the Demons back in Round 4 and Aspley will be hoping to replicate this result on Saturday.
*Full teams announced Friday morning.
Round 4, 2018: Aspley 12.16 (88) d Canberra 10.13 (73) at UNSW Canberra Oval Round 10, 2017: Aspley 12.11 (83) d Canberra 10.16 (76) at UNSW Canberra Oval Round 2, 2017: Aspley 17.15 (117) d Canberra 7.7 (49) at Graham Road
1. Since joining the league, the Demons have never tasted victory in any of their outings against the Hornets. These sides have met on seven occasions and the closest that the Canberrians have come to that elusive maiden victory over the Queenslanders was a seven-point loss in Round 10 of last year. If Canberra is to rewrite this unfortunate piece of their history they will have to come out all guns blazing on Saturday.
2. While usually a force to be reckoned with at home – with the Hornets boasting a solid win/loss record of 43-1-23 prior to 2018 – Aspley have struggled at Graham Road so far this year. Currently only two from five on their home turf, a change of scenery may be sorely needed. It is perhaps fortunate then that in Round 12, the South Pine Sports Complex will serve as the Hornets’ temporary home. However, it is not particularly encouraging that Aspley han’t won at the venue in their two appearances at the ground.
3. Despite running somewhat hot and cold in 2018, it has been the Demons’ best start to a season since joining the NEAFL. Already this year, Canberra have recorded their largest ever-winning margin and notched four consecutive victories for the first time in their history. A win on Saturday would see them reach yet another milestone and extend their longest unbeaten streak to an impressive five in a row.
It has been a big week for Canberra midfielder Mitch Maguire, who took over first place on the NEAFL MVP Award leaderboard with another impressive performance against NT Thunder last week. A nominee for this year’s Tribal Sport NEAFL Rising Star Award, it’s truly been a breakout season from the 20-year-old onballer, who is averaging a career-best 28 disposals, five inside 50s and 4.5 clearances per game. A huge tests awaits this weekend when Maguire comes up against one of the most powerful midfields in the competition.
STATS THAT MATTER
As indicated by the ladder itself, remarkably little separates these two teams on paper. While both sides sit at 6-4 for the year to date, Canberra has achieved this in a more convincing fashion, while Aspley’s season has been typified by close contests. The Demons have both a greater winning margin (42.33-22) and also lose on average by slightly less points than Aspley (26.25-27.5).