Has the wrong Canberra team given the NEAFL the boot?
You could be excused for asking that question after Belconnen ended Southport's NEAFL finals hopes with a stunning 21-point victory at Kippax Oval on Saturday, while Eastlake was held goalless by fourth-placed Aspley in a 74-point loss in Brisbane.
Belconnen's barnstorming victory was the first by a Canberra side over a Queensland team this season, and it came at a time in which the Sharks had to win to pinch Ainslie's spot in the top six and play finals.
The Magpies were simply too hard at the football, too desperate, and too skilful for the northerners, who spent most of the second half playing the man and forgetting about the ball.
They obviously didn't know the Bennett brothers thrive on the physical contest, with both Lexie and James leading the charge in the middle and a very young Magpies team following.
Christopher Jansen was brilliant at full-back; Jacob Taylor kicked four goals across half-forward; his brother, Isaac, chipped in with two in the midfield; while under-18 Sam O'Sullivan kicked a goal on debut.
Southport led by five points at the main break, with handbags drawn in a melee at half-time, but goals to Daniel Posch (three goals) and Chris York (three) gave the home side a lead they never lost.
York's goals highlighted the difference between the two sides – Belconnen always seemed able to win the contest.
Jansen won a one-on-one down back and the Magpies swept the ball forward to York, who out-bodied his opponent on the 50-metre arc, swept up the loose ball and slotted it home with a check-side.
Belconnen had it out to a 31-point lead at the final change after an ambitious switch by Simon Curtis saw Isaac Taylor mark courageously before running in and slotting the goal.
The Sharks kicked the first two of the final quarter before the Magpies steadied and ran out the game.
Belconnen coach Jeremy Rowe was delighted with his team's efforts in their second-last NEAFL game before returning to Canberra AFL next season.
''I just felt that we were able to apply real pressure on multiple occasions when they had the footy, and being able to win the important contested moments and apply pressure on them every time it looked as if momentum might have swung was really pleasing,'' he said.
The win meant Ainslie are all but guaranteed to play finals, with Sydney Uni now needing to flog Southport on the Gold Coast next week and hope the Tricolours lose heavily to both Queanbeyan on Sunday and then Belconnen next week.
While there were jubilant scenes at Kippax, it was ugly in Brisbane for Eastlake. An injury depleted Demons managed just 0.2 (2) against Aspley's 10.16 (76).
With Queanbeyan also withdrawing from next year's NEAFL, Eastlake and Ainslie will be the only Canberra clubs playing in the competition in 2015.
The Tigers and Ainslie finish off the round at Queanbeyan on Sunday at 2pm.
AT A GLANCE
Belconnen 2.3 7.4 14.7 16.11 (107)
Southport 4.2 8.3 9.6 13.8 (86)
Goals – Belconnen: J. Taylor 4; D. Posch 3; C. York 3; I. Taylor 2; S. O'Sullivan; R. Turnbull, S. Curtis, J. Bennett. Southport: J. Baxter 4; S. Haslem 3; L. Weller, A. Clarke, L. Shreeve, L. Hill, T. Grayson, W. Mills.
Best – Belconnen: J. Bennett, J. Taylor, C. Jansen, J. Harper, D. Hector, N. Collins. Southport: K. Brennan, S. Haslem, D. Stewart, L. Weller, J. Burge, M. Collison.
Aspley 6.5 6.8 8.10 10.16 (76)
Eastlake 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.2 (2)
Goals – Aspley: E. Sansbury 3; H. Joyce 2; J. Turner, M. Hutchinson, J. Stanley, A. Hughes, R. Holman.
Best – Aspley: M. Payne, G. Grose, R. Copeland, R. Matthews, J. Wagner, J. Turner. Eastlake: X. McMahon, J. Moody, M. Denham, M. Channon, T. Clowry, K. Mahon.