By CAMERON SMITH
NEAFL ROUND 18
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Southport Sharks (3rd) Canberra Demons (1st) at Fankhauser Reserve, 12pm *This match will be streamed live on NEAFL TV (youtube.com/northeastafl) *Live Champion Data statistics on the Official NEAFL App
Who would’ve thought the last time Canberra travelled to Fankhauser Reserve in Round 21 last year, that both of these teams less than a year later, would be in the top three on the ladder. Last year, both sides missed out on finals by with the Sharks finishing ninth and Demons finishing seventh. However, both clubs have transformed this year, with both becoming powerhouses in the competition.
Canberra is in the club’s best ever form, winning their last eight games. Their last win was against the NT Thunder in Darwin, which is never easy, before having a bye. On the other hand, Southport, also coming off the bye, have hit a snag.
After beating the Brisbane Lions in a thriller, the Sharks have lost their last two matches. Southport cannot afford to lose three games in a row, with every loss potentially being the difference between hosting a Preliminary Final and travelling to play an Elimination Final. This game will be huge!
Season Opener, 2018: Southport 17.13 (115) d Canberra 7.11 (53) at Allinsure Park Round 21, 2017: Canberra 14.12 (96) d Southport 13.12 (90) at Fankhauser Reserve Round 16, 2017: Canberra 10.17 (77) d Southport 9.7 (61) at UNSW Canberra Oval
1. Canberra was comprehensively beaten by 62 points against Southport in the season opener clash on Good Friday – the only time these sides have met this season. It was a long time ago, and the Demons have improved a lot since then. There is nothing better than revenge, especially with finals just around the corner, as Canberra looks to prove its premiership credentials.
2. Canberra is ranked No.1 in the competition for goals per inside 50s, converting 24.8 per cent of the time they go inside 50. Southport is ranked No.2, kicking a goal 24.4 per cent of the time they go inside 50. However, In their last three games, Southport’s goal per inside 50 percentage has been well done, converting 18.7 per cent of forward 50 entries.
3. The key to Canberra’s success this year has been their ability to create pressure, cause turnovers and punish the opposition on the rebound. The Demons are ranked No.1 in the competition for scoring from turnovers, with 21.8 per cent of their total scores coming from this area. However, Southport are just as good. They rank No.2 with 21.5 per cent. Whilst its a strength of their games, the winner of this blockbuster might come down to which team won’t play in to the other’s hands, and keep the ball off the opposition as much as possible.
Canberra’s Jarrod Osborne received the Tribal Sport NEAFL Rising Star Nomination a few weeks ago for his mammoth game against Redland in Round 15. In his new role on the wing, Osborne had 34 disposals as well as 10 tackles, receiving nine NEAFL MVP votes for his effort. Playing on a big ground like Fankhauser Reserve, his run and carry will be important for the Demons.
STATS THAT MATTER
Last year Canberra and Southport together amassed 11 wins for the whole season. With four games to go in the 2018 home-and-away season, Canberra (10 wins) and Southport (9 wins) have a very good chance of both passing 11 wins this season individually.