The Coburg Lions gave fans a glimpse of what is to come this season, after falling short to Collingwood by 11 points in their second practice match at the Holden Centre on Friday night.
Coburg played some great football, and backed it up with accuracy in front of the goals; finishing 8.5 (53) to 8.16 (64).
The Lions may still have some room for improvement, but showed really positive signs and played cohesively as a team for majority of the match.
Considering they lost three of their seven interchanges by the end of the match, Coburg put in a great effort and really took it up to Collingwood.
Strong spoils from all over the ground was just one part of the defensive pressure the Lions brought to the game, surprising the Magpies by even bringing the margin to under a goal at one stage.
A shame to see them come so close, the hope is that this game will only motivate them more for the season ahead, which officially begins on April 8th (vs Casey, Piranha Park).
The match also saw the return of some key players including Tom Goodwin, Nathan Blair, Jesse Corigliano, and Ryan Exon, and their two 2017 VFL Team of the Year representatives in Sean Gregory and Liam Hunt.
Bringing a bit more experience and composure that the Burgers lacked in their first practice match, it was great to see the older players leading the way for some of the new recruits.
Marcus Lentini, a Northern Knight graduate, got his hands on a lot of the footy (29 touches) followed by Hish Kerbatieh (22 touches), and Jesse Corigliano (19 touches).
Special mentions also go to Sam Lowson, who put in second and sometimes third attempts to try and chase down the running Magpies, and Nathan Blair, who did his best to get the ball out of defense quickly.
Coach Leigh ‘Patch’ Adams told media reporter Brooke Varney there were a lot of positives to take from it, and is ready to use the learnings from this game into the next practice match.
“After [the first quarter] I thought we adjusted pretty well, we ran out of legs a bit towards the end which is probably going to happen and a few blokes got injured but the boys tried really hard to stick to the game plan for most of the day.”
“Nearly half the team probably hadn’t played (much) VFL footy before, so it will take a bit of time to get used to the conditions and pace of the game, and we’ve still got a lot of room for improvement.”
Adams thought Corigliano was “brilliant [and] marshalled the defenders really well”, and gives credit to the backline.
“(Our backline) was under siege, so Ryan Exon, Mark Orr, those guys down there were really good.”
“There weren’t too many bad blokes so that’s also really good, you cant single out too many guys.”
The Coach was also impressed by youngster Marcus Lentini, who despite having some things to work on did well considering it was his first attempt at VFL competition.
Coburg will continue their practice match run on Saturday 24th March against North Melbourne at Arden Street Oval at 2pm. Come and cheer on the boys loud and proud to show everyone that #WeAreCoburg.
Coburg 1.0 3.3 5.3 8.5 (53)
Collingwood 4.4 5.8 7.15 8.16 (64)
Goals: Allan 2, Cannolo 2, Svarc, Tilley, Corigliano, Fox.
Best: Corigliano, Blair, Exon, Lentini, Orr.