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Best: Hartley, Johns, Uysal, Venditti, Morton, MacDonald
Goals: Johns 4, MacDonald 3, Hill 2, Linton, Venditti
Coburg lead from start to finish to defeat former aligned partner Richmond by 43 points at the ME Bank Centre on Sunday morning and notch their fourth consecutive win in their late charge towards a finals berth.
The Lions stole the bragging rights in the first clash between the sides at Punt Road, with 4 goals from Lachie Johns and yet another standout performance by highly-regarded midfielder Ozzie Uysal.
Uysal had a big impact in the first half and accumulated touches very quickly. He was rested more throughout the second but still finished with 35 possessions and six clearances.
Dean MacDonald was lively up forward and took his chances to boot three goals.
Coburg started well with an opportunistic Johns goal getting the visitors on the front foot. The Lions also held up well at the other end to restrict Richmond from getting forward – they didn’t create a serious scoring chance in the first 15 minutes.
Coburg looked far more dangerous but spurned a lot of chances, both in terms of conversion and setting up goals. Michael Hartley was superb in contests down back. He spoiled well time and time again with one effort directly responsible for saving a Richmond goal. Fellow defenders Sean Gregory, Robbie Fox and particular Rory Lehmann, were solid down back and played their roles well.
MacDonald sidestepped and goaled but Richmond’s struggles up forward continued in the second. Not helped by deplorable ball use at times, the Tigers scored only from moments of individual brilliance or Coburg’s lack of discipline.
Nick Robortella was among Coburg’s best ball users from start to finish. He constantly received the ball on the run and delivered extremely well by foot.
Coburg missed a handful of set shots in the third term to keep Richmond in the game. Danny Younan set up his teammates well, always looking for a Lion in a better position.
Hill – who had a relatively quiet day – claimed a huge pack mark and finished but the Tigers finally displayed some accurate goal kicking to stay in the hunt at the last change.
Nathan Thomas – who had 19 disposals in his 50th game – kicked an important steadying goal late as the Tigers threatened to claw their way back into the contest. The Lions kept fighting hard, as they’d done all day, and MacDonald finished off Richmond with a couple of late majors.
The Lions now face Casey Scorpions in their final home match of the season next Saturday afternoon, with a spot in the final 8 on the line.
Photos courtesy of Matt Johnson