A bag of four goals from former Port Melbourne Colt (SNFL) Max Mitchell-Russell wasn’t quite enough for the Coburg Lions to get the win against North Melbourne in their third practice match.
A strong start from the Lions in slippery conditions on Saturday afternoon at Arden Street Oval saw them with a five-point lead at the first break, but were challenged in the second term as North kicked a few easy goals.
Featuring 13 AFL-listed players in their side, North Melbourne continued to up their intensity in the third, causing some of the younger Lions to panic and forget the team-first mentality Coach Leigh Adams is trying to enforce.
But under the guidance of leadership group members, Tom Goodwin, Nathan Blair, and Nick Mellington, and more experienced players Ben Allan and Josh Iacobaccio, Coburg were able to find their feet again and play the way they wanted to.
A tough day both on the ground and in front of goals for Coburg, the final score was 8.14 (62) to 15.11 (101).
Despite this, Coach Adams still took a lot of positives from the game, and hopes Coburg will continue to improve and practice before their season opener against Casey.
“When the pressure came on and the game got fierce, as the AFL boys stepped up their intensity, we went into our shells a little bit,” Adams said.
“We stopped taking the game on and got away from our structures, allowing them to kick some pretty easy goals. When the times get tough, we need to remember to stick what we’ve been doing all preseason,” he continued.
“We still have a lot of room for improvement but I think it was definitely a step up from last week…I hope the same thing happens again next week before we head into round one.”
He named Nathan Blair as one of his standout players, describing his “ability to come off his opponent and impact the game” as fantastic.
Adams also mentioned Eastern Ranges recruit Harry Nolan, Josh Iacobaccio, Ben Allan, and former Northern Knight Marcus Lentini as other players who caught his eye.
Coburg now look forward to Good Friday (March 30), when they go up against Sandringham Zebras at Piranha Park. With the first bounce at 12pm, come show your support as the Lions play on home-soil for the first-time this year.
Coburg: 3.3 4.6 4.12 8.14 (62)
North Melbourne: 2.4 5.9 11.10 15.11 (101)
Goals: Mitchell-Russell 4, Weightman, Lowson, Hunt, Condon.
Best: Blair, Iacobaccio, Mitchell-Russell, Mellington.
We Are Coburg. Are You? With round one just around the corner, it’s not too late to sign up as a Coburg member! For more information or to purchase your membership, head to the Coburg FC Online Store or call (03) 9354 8228.