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Best: Boyd, Easton, Iacobaccio, Madden, Kovacevic, Hunt
Goals: Madden 3, Iacobaccio 2, Featherstone 2, Symes 2, Hemala, Kalanj, Tang, Hunt, Kovacevic, Sturgess
Coburg dominated the scoring but held strong defensively to defeat Port Melbourne by 66 points in the AFL Victoria Development clash at Piranha Park on Saturday morning.
A consistent four-quarter effort saw the Lions add to their lead throughout the game while keeping the Borough goalless for two quarters. Port Melbourne managed to reduce the margin late but it was Coburg’s 35 scoring shots to 14 that was the difference.
Andrew Sturgess was Coburg’s major ball-winner, finishing with a team-high 28 disposals, six clearances and a terrific goal. Fellow inside tough nut Josh Totino was also instrumental. He constantly won the hard ball and hit up leading forwards in a 19-disposal display. Josh Iacobaccio (two goals) and Jordy Easton were solid performers while Joel Madden was a threat up forward, booting three goals.
An opportunistic Lech Featherstone and impressive youngster Damon Symes finished with two majors each.
The majority of the opening term was playing in Coburg’s half as the Lions dominated possession and hurt the Borough on the scoreboard. Symes again showed good agility for a big man with a terrific dummy, sidestep and snap to get Coburg’s first. A vintage long set shot from Featherstone – who was a valuable inside 50 ruckman – set up the Lions’ early lead.
They also restricted Port’s ability to get forward and starved them of scoring opportunities when they were able to creep inside 50.
The Borough were gifted two goals in the second, thanks to sluggish defending and poor discipline, but it was still all Coburg. Michael Tang’s early goal saw the Lions continue where they left off. Madden slotted his second before a brilliant solo effort from Sturgess put the home side further ahead. After a handy tap from Featherstone, the tough inside midfielder broke multiple tackles and converted.
Jake Kalanj – on development debut after a string of injuries – was lively early and kicked his first goal for a club with a well-taken mid-air volley from close range. He finished with 10 disposals.
Julian Hemala nailed another from the boundary right before the siren as the Burgers took a commanding 54-point lead into the main break.
Featherstone proved too strong for his opponent, holding him off easily before booting his second early in the third quarter. The key forward also provided some valuable hit outs to advantage to set up his teammates. The Borough – who still struggled to generate chances but were also hurt by wasteful conversion – again went without a major for the term.
Both sides found it hard to score in the last but it was the Borough who struck first, reducing the margin slightly with three goals. Coburg’s big men Symes and Mark Kovacevic provided late goals as the Burgers won big at home.