By Ben Hunter (NEAFL)
Southport put on the afterburners in the second half to race away to an emphatic 60-point victory over Canberra at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday.
The visiting Demons trailed by only eight points at the main break, but it was all one-way traffic thereafter as the home side ran away 16.8 (104) to 6.8 (44) winners.
A tight contest was teased throughout the opening terms as Canberra kept pace with the reigning premiers, led by young guns Mitch Maguire and Angus Baker who racked up 23 disposals between them in the first quarter.
However, the Demons were held to just one goal in the second half, while the Sharks piled on 10.4 as Canberra’s young lineup grew tired.
Rhys Clark (26 disposals, 10 marks) and Tom Fields (16 disposals, two goals, six inside 50s) gave Sharks fans plenty to cheer about, both kicking remarkable third-quarter goals from almost the same spot 55 metres from home on the clubhouse flank.
Sharks captain Seb Tape was sublime in defence all day with 27 disposals, 11 marks, and three tackles, and star midfielder Tyler Roos was crucial in his side’s defensive transitions with 31 disposals from the back half.
Coach Stephen Daniel admits his side had their worries early in the match, and was immensely proud of his team’s performance.
“Canberra early today were terrific., they used the ball really well,” Daniel told neafl.com.au.
“It caused us a little bit of concern at half-time. We certainly spoke about it as a group that we were sagging off a little bit. We thought we were overusing the ball too.
"We certainly fixed those areas and our third quarter was outstanding, which I’m really proud of, the boys really responded.”
The Demons’ star young trio of Baker (30 disposals), Maguire (29) and Alex Smout (24) were once again impressive amongst a struggling blue and gold outfit.
The Sharks are back at Fankhauser Reserve next week in what will be a fascinating clash with the Gold Coast SUNS, while Canberra will have the chance to recuperate over the bye.
Southport Sharks v Canberra Demons
SOUTHPORT 2.3 6.4 13.7 16.8 (104) CANBERRA 1.1 5.2 5.2 6.8 (44)
GOALS – Southport: J Turner 3 T Fields 2 J Hall 2 E Reeves T Stubbs C Ford A Boston T Bowie R Clark R Clements L Dale D Fyfe. Canberra: A Baker R Corbett C Owen-Auburn R Pollock J Powell G Richardson.
BEST – Southport: S Tape T Fields D Fyfe R Davis T Roos J Turner. Canberra: M Maguire A Baker L Meline R Budd J Powell J Osborne.