Coburg just falls short in history-making practice match

By Julia Montesano 

Coburg’s Senior Women’s team has done the club proud in its first ever practice match, going down to the experienced West Brunswick Football Club by one point at Sir Doug Nicholls Reserve. The Lions started off slow but outran and outscored the Magpies 22-2 in a scintillating second half under lights. Playing 15-minute quarters, Coburg’s newest side showed it has what it takes to match the more experienced sides in the state. 

The first quarter began in attacking fashion, with both sides moving the ball well up the ground, despite the hot and humid conditions. West Brunswick began the scoring with a long bomb midway through the quarter, complemented by three behinds. The Lions could only manage a point, but some attacking forward 50 entries meant they looked dangerous heading into the second term. Former Sunbury Kangaroos, Tylah Bell and Simone Craige linked up well through the midfield and forward line to give the Burgers a positive start. 

Tylah Bell flies high for a mark. Photo: Daniel Atamain

The Magpies began to get on top in the second quarter with two majors. However, Regina Said and Tash Phipps provided good targets up forward for the Lions, off good run and dash by Maddie Edwards and Lauren Sims in the midfield. Going into the main break, Coburg was down by 18 points, but not out of the contest. 

Mia Muscat’s burst off the half-back line kept the Lions in the contest in what was a tight third term. Then, just before the siren went to end a competitive stanza, history was made. Despite being recruited to Coburg as a defender, Alana Wenban played up forward and kicked the first ever goal by a Coburg Senior Women’s player. Upon being recruited to the Burgers, Wenban told Coburg Media that her one aim for the year was to kick a goal. Not only did she achieve that personal aim, but she also won her place in the club’s 130-year history.

The last term was dominated by the Lions, who peppered the goals throughout the quarter. The breakthrough major to get Coburg within a goal of the lead came from ruck, Sophie Damon. Pushing up forward, Damon took a strong contested mark about 40 metres out from goal and was then rewarded with a 50 metre penalty. The former Richmond VFLW ruck made no mistake from point-blank range, following up her solid work in the middle of the ground. After applying more pressure to the away team, it was Teagan Bradley’s snap on the run that left the Lions tasting victory with just minutes left in the stanza. However, after a few gallant attempts at the goals, it wasn’t to be, as the Magpies held on for the win by a solitary point. 

Sophie Damon dominated in the ruck. Photo: Daniel Atamain

Speaking after the game, Coburg Senior Women’s coach Liam Cavanagh praised his team’s efforts and said this hit-out provided a good blueprint for the future. 

“In essence, it was a game of two halves for us,” he said. “We had 25 first-time Lions play and we tried to manage the nerves that accompany that but naturally, it probably impacted our start to the game. 

“Having said that, after half-time, I challenged the girls to adapt a few little things and show how quickly we can learn. They took me up on that challenge and really impressed. A 22-2 second half brought us right back into the game, and our girls looked like they were ready to keep going, which is really pleasing to see.

“I think next week, we will pick up exactly where we left off. I know the girls took a lot of learnings out of the game, which was the primary goal.” 

Senior Women’s Coach Liam Cavanagh. Photo: Daniel Atamain

The Lions will aim to win their first ever game when they face Aberfeldie on Friday 19 March at 6.30pm. All Coburg fans are encouraged to come down to Sir Doug Nicholls Reserve and cheer on the team!




Coburg: 0.1 | 0.3 | 1.4 | 3.6 (24)

West Brunswick: 1.3 | 3.3 | 3.5 | 3.7 (25)


A. Wenban, S. Damon, T. Bradley


S. Damon, M. Muscat, T. Bradley, L. Sims, S. Craige, T. Bell