A clinical display from the Aspley Devils swept aside last year’s Open 1 runners up Gaters 34-16 in front of a parochial crowd.
The result sees the Devils sharing the lead on top of the table with Pine Rivers and Deception Bay. In an afternoon of bruising hits and spectacular tries, this was a very entertaining and high standard game.
In the opening exchanges it was evident that both teams were hungry for the win and despite sweltering conditions players from both sides put on a good exhibition of hard and fast rugby league.
It was Aspley who opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a sharp pass from fullback Andross Cole onto hulking centre Andrew Pratt to dive over in the corner. Halfback Augustine Law failed with the sideline conversion making the score 4-0.
Gaters hit straight back in the 12th minute after an Aspley error turned over possession and it was Gators five-eighth Joshua Cattell who beautifully placed a cross kick to sit perfectly for his winger Matt Dunphy who made no mistake planting the ball down in the corner. Cattell was unable to land the difficult sideline conversion levelling the scores at 4-4.
Back to back indiscretions from Gaters lead to Aspley making some good field position and it didn’t take long for Aspley playmaker Law to throw a magnificent bullet pass to find powerful centre Mitch Houghton who ran in untouched to score to increase Aspley’s tally. With the conversion again unsuccessful the score stayed at 8-4 to Aspley.
Gaters tried to level the scores again and with a bullocking run by towering replacement Michael Hopkins, but he was held up by some powerful Aspley defence. It didn’t take long for Aspley to march back up the field on the back of an exceptional kicking game from five eighth Trent Williamson who terrorised the Gaters all day.
With some quick play the balls halfback Law popped a neat pass to a charging Colin Higginbottom who took three players over the line with him to score under the posts. Hooker Tyrone Lockrey made no mistake with the conversion sending the home side Aspley into the break at 14-4.
In the second half it was Gaters who needed to score next and a barnstorming run in the 43rd minute 25m out, saw replacement Matt Murray stride away and score beside the posts to close the gap on the scoreboard. Cattell converted the try to make it a more respectable 14-10 scoreline. With the Gaters forwards tiring in defence from the hot conditions it was Aspley’s little men who took control and a nice scoot from dummy half in the 50th min saw halfback Law step his away over the line. The try was converted and Aspley had now kicked away to a 20-10 lead.
With halfback James Crawford orchestrating play for the visitors and some good surging runs by Josh Carpenter and Daniel Harms, it didn’t take long for the Gaters to give away more silly penalties in their own half which lead to Aspley’s next try and a double to outstanding halfback Law.
Lockrey converting made the score a healthy 26-10 to Aspley. But Aspley were not finished yet and a mammoth kick from inside his own 40 by Williamson saw the ball inch towards the Gaters 20 but winger Roko Jones made a meal off it and knocked on giving Aspley another chance to cross the whitewash. From the ensuing scrum, Law, who appeared to have written this script, beautifully threw a cut-out pass to flying winger Shaun Rees to crash over in the corner further extending the lead to the Devils. Conversion successful and Aspley in front of a fantastic home crowd push further away at 30-10.
Gaters grabbed another quick try and his double for the afternoon when halfback Crawford slipped a nice pass to Matt Murray who again crossed. In the 76th minute it was curtains for Gaters as winger Rees inside his own quarter raced 50 meters to find an unmarked Houghton who bagged his second try of the afternoon to go in untouched and score a fantastic Aspley try. Final score Aspley 34 Gaters 16.
In other games, Brothers Juniors beat Dayboro 18-8, Deception Bay Bombers edged out Natives 36-26, Pine Rivers thrashed Mitchelton 38-0 and Valleys easily overcome Normanby 46-18.
Points: Pine Rivers 6, Aspley 6, Deception Bay Bombers 6, Dayboro 2, Brothers Juniors 2, Valleys 2, Gaters 2, Brisbane Natives 2, Normanby 2, Mitchelton 0.