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Best: Iacobaccio, Clifton, Allan, McConnell, Christensen, Venditti
Goals: Featherstone 3, Carnell 2, Cauchi 2, Thomas 2, McConnell, Christensen, Younan, Fox, MacDonald
After surging to a slender lead in the third term, a spirited Coburg side was defeated by eight points at Casey Fields this afternoon.
Three goals to Lech Featherstone –who returned after two weeks on the sidelines due to injury – helped the Lions fight back from a disappointing first half to hold a one-point lead at three-quarter-time but composed finishing from the Scorpions ultimately made the difference in a very tight, tense game.
Dean MacDonald kicked a crucial late goal to keep the Burgers alive, which saw intensity lift and tackling improve, but Casey responded to kill off the challenge.
Daniel Venditti (24 possessions, 9 clearances) and Cale Morton (23) were Coburg’s major ball-winners while Nick Carnell, Nathan Thomas and Josh Cauchi all booted two goals each.
The Scorpions hit the scoreboard early in an accurate opening term that saw neither side kick a behind. Carnell scrapped home Coburg’s first from a contest in the goal square but a 50-metre penalty allowed the home side to respond quickly. Lack of discipline, wayward disposal and defensive errors provided Casey with regular chances and also made it difficult for Coburg to close the gap.
McConnell won the ball at a stoppage and snapped well but a Scorpions goal after the quarter-time siren helped them maintain momentum.
A terrific individual effort by Robbie Fox kick-started a three-goal run for Coburg, which saw Danny Younan and Aaron Christiensen also convert. Casey, however, was constantly able to respond to maintain a lead.
Ben Allen impressed with his ball use and lowered his eyes well to set up Younan’s goal. Michael Hartley was again the key figure in Coburg’s defence. He used the ball effectively, spoiled well against the taller, AFL-listed Mark Jamar, and also kept Melbourne forward Chris Dawes quiet.
Featherstone gave the Lions the perfect start to the third term with his second goal but Coburg struggled to generate consistent, damaging inside 50 entries and turned the ball over on key passes. A brilliant piece of roving by dynamic small forward Cauchi and an important set shot from Carnell whittled away the margin. The Scorpions – as they’d done all day – hit back but Featherstone’s third put the visitors in front for the first time in the shadows of three-quarter-time.
Coburg was under pressure in defence for the majority of the third term and, when able to get forward, was hurt by wasteful forward 50 entries. When the Lions did go forward with intent, however, they looked very threatening and often created chances.
Josh Iacobaccio was lively and provided valuable run and carry. Errol McConnell finished with 20 disposals and six clearances in a tough display while Robbie Fox had an impact after being swung forward but missed a crucial set shot late.