Burgers falter in tough conditions

North Ballarat 4.2.26 6.5.41 12.9.81 14.10.94
Coburg 1.3.9 5.7.37 6.8.44 7.10.52

Best: Fox, Hartley, Goodwin, Johns, Williams, Hunt

Goals: MacDonald 2, Mance 2, Johns, Younan, Uysal

The Roosters were too good for Coburg on a day marking Gerard Fitzgerald's final game as coach of North Ballarat, winning by seven goals.

Despite taking the lead late in the second quarter the Lions were unable to continue their good  form falling short to Roosters with Nick Rippon's four goals leading the way for regional side.

Orren Stephenson proved his worth in the ruck, controlling the midfield for the Roosters and dictating play particularly in the second half to set up the victory.

Fluctuating spells of rain and consistent strong winds set up the challenge and the winner would be determined by who could best match it with the difficult conditions.

Starting with the wind, North Ballarat piled on the pressure early, breaking out to a 19 point lead at Quarter time.

The second quarter was far more impressive from Coburg as quick ball movement allowed for star midfielders Lachie Johns and Ozzie Uysal to get amongst the goals, giving the Lions the lead briefly late in the second term, before James Keeble would ensure the Roosters went into the break with their noses in front.

393 Disposals 285
147 Contested Possessions 131
119 Marks 50
50 Inside 50s 36
44 Clearances 33
16 Turnovers 14

Coburg never truly came out after half time and struggled to adapt to the strong winds to the highway end of the ground, with North Ballarat piling on the pressure with a 6 goal to 1 third term to make the task very difficult for the Lions.

A low-scoring final term with the Roosters controlling play with uncontested ball on the half back flanks allowed their supporters to send off their inspirational coach in the best possible way, finishing off the season with a 42 point victory.

Players, coaches and staff members of both sides, formed a guard of honour for the outgoing coach, a tremendous sign of respect to one of the VFL's legendary figures.

Robbie Fox was clearly the Lions' best on a tough outing for the club. The mid-sized defender hardly put a foot wrong all day finishing with 19 possessions, 4 tackles and a game high 10 spoils.

Michael Hartley was also his usual dependable self, adding 7 spoils to his 18 disposals in the back half of the ground.

It's been a roller coaster year for the Lions, with highs and lows totalling a 7-11 win loss record and winning two extra games on last year's initial return to stand-alone status.

(PHOTOS: Mark Bruty)