After a seesawing first three quarters, the Gold Coast SUNS dominated the final term to run out 13.11 (89) to 8.12 (60) winners in windy conditions at Voxson Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The scores were levelled with a James Ives goal midway through the final term, however the SUNS drilled five unanswered goals to nab consecutive wins ahead of their bye this weekend.
The visiting SUNS powered ahead of the Hornets early in possession and inside 50s, however were only able to take a six-point lead into quarter time following six behinds worth of inaccurate shooting for goal.
The SUNS half-backs were superb, with Chris Burgess and Jesse Joyce combining to both repel the Hornets’ attacks and set up the football nicely for their midfielders.
While they were efficient when forward, Aspley simply didn’t get inside their forward line enough throughout the first term, and immediately changed their approach for the better in the second.
The Hornets took their time in leaving their backline and were far more effective heading goalward. Defensive prowess from veteran Gavin Grose often lead to an effective play through the middle and subsequently inside 50, where wily forward James Nelis slotted three first-half goals.
Aspley took a nine-point lead into the main break, but the SUNS ran away from the home side in the second half, scoring 10. 2 (62) to the Hornets’ 3.8 (26).
Pick number 6 in 2018’s draft, Ben King, kicked three goals for the match, including a match-sealing set-shot from 45 metres, no easy task in Voxson Oval’s gusty weather.
Coach Nick Malceski was impressed with King’s performance, his third 3+ goal effort in a row.
“He’s been building the last couple of weeks,” he told neafl.com.au.
“Today he started a little bit slower than what he would have liked but he got going in the second half. He’s just been really competing well and being rewarded off that competitive spirit.”
From a team perspective, Malceski was similarly pleased with his sides’ effort around the contest.
“We’re happy with the boys,” he said.
“We thought we were consistent over three quarters probably. The second quarter they got over the top of us when they were kicking with the wind and we couldn’t adjust.
“They got us in the contested ball that quarter. We did finish +15 contested possession and +18 tackles so that’s the basis of our game and we need to bring that every week.
“We kept bringing it back to the contest, that’s what we wanted to focus on going into the game like we did last week. When we get that right we generally stay in games.”
Will Brodie (32 disposals, 11 clearances), Jacob Dawson (26 disposals, 12 marks) and Jesse Joyce (23 disposals, nine rebound 50s) all impressed in solid four-quarter showings.
The Hornets had their chances late in the match, kicking six behinds in the final quarter, a worrying statement coach Daniel Webster will be keen to amend to get his side back on track to a finals berth in 2019.
In some positive news, four-time MVP Matt Payne was heroic in his effort with seven tackles to go with his team-high 31 disposals.
Likewise, co-captain Jackson Allen (20 disposals, nine rebounds), Jonathan Giles (26 disposals, eight inside 50s) and Jake Spencer (42 hitouts) stood out for the losing side.
The SUNS will take their form into the bye, while the Hornets will head to the Territory to take on the Thunder on Saturday night.
Aspley v Gold Coast at Voxson Oval
GOLD COAST 2.6 3.9 8.9 13.11 (89)
ASPLEY 2.0 5.4 6.6 8.12 (60)
Gold Coast: B King 3 H Oea 2 J Gore 2 S Day 2 C Nutting T Nicholls R Gilmore F Greenwool.
Aspley: J Nelis 3 B Warren 2 J Hayden J Ives W Murphy.
Gold Coast: M Rischitelli T Nicholls J Leslie W Brodie J Schoenfeld J Joyce.
Aspley: J Allen T Templeton M Payne G Grose C Carseldine W Gowers.