BY NICK GALEA
Coburg has fallen short after a tight tussle against the Casey Demons going down by 15 points 8.2 50 to 9.11 65 at Piranha Park on Sunday afternoon.
It was a steady start by both teams in the first quarter with each team getting on the board in the opening minutes.
Casey struck the first blow but Coburg responded via its co-captains, after Ryan Exon found Peter McEvoy who duly converted his set shot from 40 metres out. For the remainder of the term both sides traded blows and played fluent football.
The ruck duel between Lions Adam Swierzbiolek and Casey’s Brayden Pruess was a physical and absorbing highlight of the term while veteran Hawthorn and Melbourne star Jordan Lewis was prominent early having eight touches
For Coburg, Marcus Lentini continued his fine season with eight of his own including a goal assist to forward Steven Stroobants while late inclusion Fletcher Carroll gathered seven possessions.
At quarter time it was Coburg who lead 3.0 18 to Casey 2.4 16.
The second term did not get off to the best start as Casey’s Corey Maynard kicked truly to regain the lead for the Demons. The Demons got control of the centre square which forced Coburg’s backline; lead by Harry Nolan and Jesse Corigliano, little respite with the barrage of inside 50 entries.
Despite holding firm for large portions of the term the weight of numbers eventually came through as the Demons kicked two red time goals through Mitch White and Brayden Preuss extending the lead to 26 points going into half time.
Although the Demons pushed the lead to 28 points early in the third quarter, Coburg were able to maintain possession, regain control of the centre square and apply greater pressure which interrupted Casey’s transition between the defensive and forward halves.
Eventually Coburg’s efforts were rewarded after a chain of handpasses through the corridor resulted in Stroobants’ second goal on the run from 50 metres and before a late major to McEvoy kept them in striking distance.
At three quarter time Coburg trailed 5.1 31 to Casey 7.11 53.
With the game still up for grabs the intensity, especially at the contest went up a notch with both teams displaying desperate acts but it was the Demons who struck first through Toby Bedford.
Coburg continued to apply pressure and took risks when going forward with the dangerous duo of Steven Stroobants and Peter McEvoy each kicking three goals for the game but time was the enemy and halted what would’ve been a memorable comeback.
On the injury front Marcus Lentini took a heavy hit late in the last quarter but put in a strong four quarter effort with 37 touches while Luke Bunker had 31 possessions.
Speaking post game, midfield coach Chad Owens believes there were some positives but highlighted the second quarter lapse as a key reason for the defeat.
‘We knew today that it was going to be a heavily contested style of footy, we were really happy with how we went about that in contested football and clearances,’ Owens said.
‘It was a big focus for us; I thought the boys executed pretty well baring the second quarter as they got a hold of us in the centre clearances …. We sort of got bogged down a little bit.’
‘I thought our off-ball running stopped and when the ball went deep we didn’t have people wanting to move in and force their defence a bit harder. We just allowed them to set up behind the football.’
Returning from injury, half-back Jesse Corigliano reiterated that the second term ultimately proved costly.
‘In the second quarter we got a bit done in the clearances, the weight of numbers inside 50 put us under the pump,’ he said.
‘We say the same thing every week but it is just going away from our structures for little bits of games and it ends up costing us. After half time we rectified some of the things and for the majority of the game; especially the third quarter, we matched them.’
We encourage all Coburg Football Club members and supporters to come down to our game and cheer on our boys when we take on the Frankston next Sunday at Skybus Oval. The opening bounce will commence at 2pm.
Coburg: 8.2 50
Casey Demons: 9.11 65
Goals: McEvoy, Stroobants 3, Podhajski, Carroll
Bests: Bunker, Lentini, Exon, Nolan, Foster, Binion