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The men from Easts Juniors heaved a collective sigh of relief after salvaging a draw from a dominant Aspley outfit in an 18-18 thriller at Kirby Park.

The home team controlled the game with tight, cohesive football but faltered in the final quarter to let the Eastsiders not only re-enter the match, but very nearly snatch victory.

Both teams played their cards close to their chests in the opening exchanges, sizing up the strength of each others outfits through a barrage of forward runs, until Aspley took the reins.

With the visitors backs up in the defensive line, Aspley took the early kick option, driving the ball deep into Easts half and pinning them down.

The tactic paid dividends with an Easts error which let Tyrone Lockrey slip through to put the hosts up 6-0.

However Aspley lost their composure, giving away a penalty late in the tackle count. Easts grabbed the invitation, sending big Keron Kolo-Buckle sailing between the posts in a woeful piece of defence from the home team.

Aspley regathered, dominating the rest of the half with Byron Whitakers stellar kick returns and Lockreys darts out of dummy-half, yet only managing to add another six points before the half closed at 12-6.

Easts needed to bring their A-game into the second 40, but while the forwards kept rolling up the middle, the backs struggled and looked hesitant and uneasy making momentum hard to come by.

Defensively they were more cohesive, containing the home-team until Lockrey found his way through again to notch up his hat trick and push the margin out to 18-6 with less than 25 minutes to go.

Aspley appeared to slump into complacency following the try, letting Easts backs run freely and giving away lazy penalties. The visitors took full advantage, eagerly swooping on the chances to fire through two tries in a five-minute window which levelled the board at 18-18.

The final 10 minutes was a pressure test for Aspley, forced to defend three back-to-back sets on their own line, with Easts Mitchell Evendeen coming achingly close to grabbing a four-pointer. Both teams desperately rattled off field-goal attempts in the final minutes, to no avail.

The draw drops Aspley to fifth on the ladder, while East maintain second.
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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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