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Best: Thomas, Hartley, Goodwin, Clifton, MacDonald, Orr
Goals: Orr 4, MacDonald 3, Hill 3, Younan 2, Cooper, Carnell, Venditti
Helped by their best overall performance of the season so far, Coburg ran away with the game in the second term to secure a 48-point win over Footscray at Piranha Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions broke the game open in the second quarter, piling on eight goals while holding the Bulldogs scoreless at the other end. Mark Orr, who returned from injury, finished with four goals with Dion Hill and an impressive Dean MacDonald booting three each.
Ozgur Uysal was a star for the Burgers in the middle. He had had a consistent impact all day, collected 26 disposals and was well assisted by Daniel Venditti (25 possessions). Nathan Thomas was another standout performer and dominated the inside ball. He had 24 touches, nine clearances and, along with Lachie Johns, always looked to surge Coburg forward.
It was the lively Thomas who got the Burgers got off to another strong start. Despite Footscray dominating early possession, Thomas helped the Lions hit on the fast break, with Hill’s intelligent kicking eventually finding Orr – who converted. Coburg was reaping the rewards of relentless pressure and MacDonald gathered and snapped well to give the home side another.
The Lions moved the ball with purpose by minimizing risky kicks – instead opting to keep possession by going back and across to reset attacks. Footscray responded with three consecutive goals to hold a slender lead at the first change.
Coburg started similarly in the second term – helped by a breeze – but importantly maintained momentum and took a stranglehold on the game. The Lions piled on eight goals in versatile fashion. A textbook tackle from captain Nick Carnell, a screamer from Danny Younan and two goals to Hill were among the highlights for the home side.
Younan was a superb for the Burgers. His two handy goals added to what was his best game of 2015. The small forward worked hard up the ground, constantly provided valuable one-percenters, used the ball well and played intelligent football overall. He was an important factor in many of Coburg’s goals.
Coburg’s ball movement was superb, as was the Lions ability to create space and create scoring opportunities. Defensively they were sound also, drastically limiting Footscray’s chances – which were more or less non-existent. After their most impressive quarter of the year, the Lions took a commanding 45-point lead into the main break.
Michael Hartley spoiled well down back while defensive partner Ben Clifton battled hard for four quarters and marked strongly overhead for his size. Nick Robortella (19 disposals) was another Lion to have his best game of the season. He provided drive from the back half and his safe ball use saw him rarely miss a target.
Younan’s second gave Coburg an important early steadier but the Bulldogs lifted and reduced the Lions’ lead with four consecutive wind-assisted goals. Footscray dominated the quarter but poor foot skills and wasted chances helped Coburg’s desperate defending and tackling.
The Dogs again went goalless in the last as the game became a tight, tense affair. MacDonald broke through for his third before Orr slotted his fourth after the siren to complete a terrific day for Coburg.
The Lions will now travel across the CBD to Port Melbourne to face the Borough at North Port Oval next Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm.
(PHOTOS: Liz Vagg)