Coburg has recorded its first win of the 2018 season, holding the lead against Frankston for the entirety of the NAIDOC match on Sunday afternoon at Piranha Park.
Kicking with the wind in the opening term, Coburg had the upper hand from the first bounce, attacking the footy and taking the game on. The Lions had majority of the ball in their forward half, and eventually kicked the first goal of the game through Hish Kerbatieh.
Coburg dominated early, as Frankston didn’t manage an inside 50 until six and half minutes into the game. Clean hands after a turnover led to an absolute bomb from Josh Guthrie, who launched a goal from beyond 50 igniting the crowd.
The momentum continued as Mitch Conn, Sam Lowson and Lochie Dickson (for his first senior VFL goal) all bagged majors and gave Coburg a 37-3 lead entering quarter time.
Going against the wind in the second quarter was always going to be a challenge for Coburg but the boys played as one, holding Frankston to just three goals while Marcus Lentini (26 disposals, eight tackles) kicked one back for Coburg.
Despite a test from the visitors, a mighty defensive effort in the second quarter meant Coburg was still in front by just 17 points at halftime.
In the third and once again kicking with the wind, the Lions made the most of their opportunities, and arguably played their best quarter of football all season; keeping Frankston to just one behind while they added seven of their own.
Hish Kerbatieh (two goals, 12 disposals), Josh Weightman (one goal, 19 disposals) and Nick Mellington (one goal, 18 disposals, eight inside-50s) kicked the first three goals of the quarter before Luke Bunker (23 touches) launched one from the boundary line, 45 metres out.
With the Lions up and about, they continued to pile on the goals with Sam Lowson and Tyson Lever adding to the scoreboard before Jack Murphy dribbled one through from the boundary, to send the crowd into a frenzy at the end of the third quarter.
Up by 62 points entering the final term, the Coburg fans began to believe that this might just be the day. Kicking against the wind, all Coburg had to do was hold on and hope that they had a big enough lead to stick out the fourth quarter.
Frankston kicked the first three goals, but Jack Murphy kicked the last, sealing a 45-point win for the Lions.
It was obvious how much the win meant to the club, with fans cheering and the boys on ground celebrating the first win of the season.
To top it off, it was a complete team effort for the Lions who had 11 individual goal-kickers.
Speaking with forward line coach Tom Curran after the game, he credited the boys for how they stuck to their structures for a four-quarter performance.
“It’s definitely a focus to take the game on every week, but it was more just following our structures and processes over the past few months,” he said.
“You only have to look at how we went against them last time (in Round 6) and see how far we have come.”
When speaking about the breeze and how to counter it when going against it, Curran said the way the Lions went about it was a success.
“We certainly played one behind the ball, while Frankston played with two for most of the game.”
“We stuck with one and backed in our structures and processes, and it worked really well. It was a really good effort with the boys playing smart football,” Curran continued.
Curran commended vice-captain Peter McEvoy, small forward Hish Kerbatieh, and best-on-ground Ben Allan for their efforts, along with some of the midfielders.
While there will be celebrations tonight, tomorrow will look forward to the week ahead where Coburg take on Port Melbourne on Saturday at North Port Oval.
“Port Melbourne have had a up and down year, but have an excellent coach and will definitely be tough. They are a really good club so hopefully we can stick to our structures and processes, and that can hopefully get us over the line.”
Come down to North Port Oval next Saturday from 2pm to support the Lions before their bye in a fortnight’s time.
Coburg 5.7 6.7 13.11 14.11 (95)
Frankston 0.3 3.8 3.9 6.14 (50)
Goals:Kerbatieh 2, Lowson 2, Murphy 2, Guthrie, Conn, Dickson, Lentini, Weightman, Mellington, McEvoy, Lever.
Best: Allan, McEvoy, Goodwin, Bunker, Lowson, Kerbatieh.