IN challenging conditions and with plenty at stake for both clubs, the Redland Bombers kept their NEAFL Northern Conference Finals hopes alive with a spirited 11 point win against Aspley at Graham Road on Saturday.
With a mounting injury list and players being called up for State Under 18 duties, the Bombers made six changes to the side which was soundly beaten by the GC Suns Reserves a fortnight ago
A heavy track greeted the team at the home of the Hornets. Flair and finesse were thrown out the door and replaced by basic wet weather skills in what was a game of yardage throughout.
The Bombers started well and adapted best early to the conditions, with Damian Steven, David Meli, and Brad Rees all winning their share of contested ball.
The backline led by Adam Oxley, Brad Howard, and Daniel Dzufer were stout in defence and a quarter time lead of 11 points was a by-product of the team's determination and resilience.
Aspley hit back with four goals to two in the second stanza and gained ascendancy at the stoppages.
The Bombers reverted back to overusing the ball and not dishing off to the first option or failing to put ball to boot when it was most warranted.
The third quarter was a real arm wrestle with both sides squandering valuable opportunities in front of goal as the heavens opened just to add to the degree of difficulty being experienced by the players.
Scores were locked together at 8-8 apiece as the final quarter commenced.
Rees took responsibility to lift the Bomber outfit and mid term goals to Allen Bielski and Scott Clouston gave the visitors the advantage.
The Hornets countered with a goal of their own before the mercurial Meli sealed the deal with a wonderful set shot from the boundary line.
At the end of proceedings, it was Redland 11.8.74 defeating Aspley 9.9.63.
Rees was a standout, especially late in the game.
Howard and Oxley were resolute in defence and Sam Godfrey in his first game of the season gave great stability down back.
Blake Passfield revelled in the conditions and was clean with his ball handling while Meli and ruckman Col Crowther made the most of their senior recall with standout performances.
The win takes the Bombers to sixth position on the NEAFL Northern Conference table.
Ladder leaders Southport are this weekend's assignment at Fankhauser Res erve, a venue that the Bombers had never previously won at until last year.
The game starts at 1.30pm on Saturday.