By Brooke Varney.
A number of Lions have been named to make their VFL debut during Coburg’s round one clash with Casey on Sunday afternoon at Piranha Park.
Billy Cannolo, who made regular appearances in Coburg’s Development League last season will finally get to make his Senior debut, while new recruits James Belo, Josh Fox, Lochlan Dickson, Josh Guthrie, Jack Murphy, Jake Page, Marcus Lentini, and Max-Mitchell Russell as 23rd man will all get their chance to have a taste of VFL competition in Lions colours.
Billy Cannolo enters his second season with the Lions this year, recruited from Rupertswood in the Riddell District Football League (RDFL) senior competition and Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup.
A small forward who is also capable of playing in the midfield, Cannolo managed to play 10 developments games and finished just nine votes behind the Eric Lines medallist in last year’s Development League Best and Fairest count.
Former East Ringwood player James Belo had a stand-out 2017 season in the Eastern Football League (EFL), where he was named best and fairest winner and selected in the EFL Team of the Year.
Standing at 186cm tall, Belo has already showed some of his potential during Coburg’s practice matches, possessing the ability to impact the game from any position on the ground.
Set to add some more depth and aerial ability to Coburg’s forward line, Josh Fox joins the club from Sandringham (VFL), where he featured in two senior games late last season and kicked five goals.
Prior to his two seasons with the Zebras, the 197cm key forward played for North Hobart and Clarence in the Tasmanian State League (TSL).
Lochlan Dickson also played in the EFL last year with Norwood, and was one of Coburg’s first signings during the off-season.
The 23-year old represented the EFL in the interleague match against the Essendon District Football League (EDFL) last May, and is now ready to take his football to the next step in the VFL as a strong and determined defender.
Recently signed Josh Guthrie had been a part of Geelong’s VFL program for the last three seasons, after graduating from Calder Cannons in 2014.
Also featuring in some games for Sunbury in the Ballarat Football League last season when not playing for the Cats, the hardworking and disciplined defender was named amongst the best on ground six out of 10 times.
Jack Murphy, another new recruit this season, joins Coburg after his run with Seymour in the Goulburn Valley Football League (GVFL).
Managing 50 senior games in the GVFL and playing private school football with Assumption College Kilmore, Murphy is a hard running wingman, with potential to also play as a half-back.
Entering his first year as a Lion, Jake Page achieved a number of honours during his junior football career, including representing Vic Country at under 16s, under 18s, and more recently under 19s this year.
Also a part of the Murray Bushrangers side in the 2016 TAC Cup Grand Final, the 189cm tall, 20-year old already has a significant amount of senior footy under his belt by playing for Albury.
A former Northern Knight, youngster Marcus Lentini has showed patches of his potential during the practice matches, and given time will develop more as a senior football player throughout the year.
Lentini also made one appearance in Northern Blues’ Development League side last year, and prior to that was named as one of the better players during in the Diamond Creek 2017 finals loss.
Named as the 23rd man, former Port Melbourne Colt Max Mitchell-Russell’s most notable game so far was Coburg’s third practice match against North Melbourne, where he kicked four goals.
A key forward who managed 19 goals from 11 games in Division One of the Southern Football Netball League last year, the 19-year-old also played junior footy with South Melbourne Districts, and Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup.
While the final team is yet to be confirmed, this Sunday will still prove to be an exciting and memorable moment for the debut players and their families.
Congratulations to all those who will be running out as a senior Coburg Lion for the first time in Round One against Casey!
We Are Coburg. Are You? With round one just around the corner, it’s not too late to sign up as a Coburg FC member! For more information or to purchase your membership, head to the Coburg FC Online Store or call (03) 9354 8228.
Images courtesy of Jordan Zmood.