Given how we are just four games into this season’s competition, it may feel slightly exaggerated to ramp up the significance of this win for the Aspley Devils who defeated a brave Easts Carina 28-16.
The win for Aspley sees them still in equal second spot amongst some of the front runners on six points.
After all there are numerous games to go this season, but getting off to a good start like have Aspley have done, sees them in a good stead to avoid relegation at season’s end.
Aspley looked as if they were staring defeat in the face early on though after Carina posted the first of two tries within the space of 15 minutes.
The first try was on the back of some brilliant work by halfback Joel Kuene who superbly delivered a nice cut out pass to his centre Ben Wilson who went over to score.
A magnificent sideline conversion from Matt Craven put the icing on the cake to make it 6-0.
It would be Kuene again who was proving valuable for the Tigers as he set up the next try to a rampaging Daniel Smith who crashed over beside the sticks to make it 10-0.
Craven, a superb kicker of the ball, made no mistake with the shot at goal to have the Tigers in front rattling the Devils.
Spurred on from the sideline by coach Stu Wilson, the Devils regrouped and refocused at the task at hand and started dishing out some punishing defence on the Tigers pack. This saw a comedy of errors for Carina as some sloppy ball handling and loose carries would eventually see them on the back foot for four repeat sets of six.
Aspley finally got on the scoresheet in the 39th minute however, after back to back penalties to the Devils saw diminutive hooker James Struthes burrow his way over to make it 12-4.
With the conversion waved away, Carina had marched into the sheds hanging on to their slim lead.
Things got off to a bad start for the Tigers in the second half. A towering bomb dropped by fullback Ben Langley saw Devils replacement Rikki Taukiri scoop up the loose ball and race away to score untouched.
The Tigers did respond well though with some aggressive defence lead by Tom Bissett and Adrian Harling but Aspley still having coach Wilson barking orders from the dugout, saw them produce some quality football. Halves Slade and Kake were outstanding as was fullback Swann who chimed into the backline in a flawless display of attacking football.
It would be halfback Kake who would set up Aspley’s next score with a neat pass to prop Ethan Richards who was unstoppable at close range to power over under the sticks.
Aspley for the first time had now hit the lead in a see sawing game that was producing some far better football in the second half. But just as the Devils had hit the lead and were playing with a new found confidence, poor ball control was paving the way for the Tigers to enter into try scoring territory.
It wouldn’t take long for them to score once again as hooker Broadhurst amazingly flung out a miracle ball to his winger Pilgrim who forced his way over to score taking the in-goal post with him.
Aspley, now in danger after squandering the lead, hit back superbly once again after powerful centre John Borland made a break upfield to offload a last minute pass to winger Lucas who bagged a try right in the corner for the visitors.
With a tired Carina pack barely hanging on, some astute kicking by five-eighth Craven saw the Tigers keep the Devils pinned down in their own half, but it was Aspley’s speedsters on the flanks who were putting on the ritz and wouldn’t be long before the Devils were back into enemy territory.
Finally succumbing to repeated sets, the Devils went in again courtesy of a short pass by Slade who found Lock Kerei who bounced off some would be tacklers to score.
At 22-16 the game appeared to be slipping away from the Tigers after a gallant about face by the Devils who found some composure and persisted with their game plan that saw them now in a commanding position.
With time ticking away on the scoreboard it would be the Devils outstanding fullback Swann who would have the last say in the match as he finished off any hope of a Tigers comeback crossing in the 77th minute in an all-round superb display.
Swann sunk the hearts of the Tigers supporters with a magnificent goal to round off the game that would see the Devils on the brink of adversity to clinch a memorable win 28-16.