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Best: McConnell, Venditti, Clifton, Uysal, Christensen, Gregory
Goals: Carnell, Cauchi, Featherstone, Christensen, Thomas, McConnell, Mance
Errol McConnell impressed in his best performance of the season but it wasn’t enough as the low-scoring Lions fell to Geelong by 30 points at Piranha Park on Saturday afternoon.
Errol McConnell starred as Coburg’s standout inside ball-winner. Along with 24 disposals and a goal, he had 10 clearances and proved himself as one of the club’s best tacklers – finishing with 14 for the game.
Coburg’s midfield stalwarts also found a lot of the ball and did their best to help get the Burgers over the line in a scrappy affair. Daniel Venditti finished with a team-high 36 disposals and seven clearances while Ozgur Uysal had 33 touches. Cale Morton collected 27 possessions and seven rebound 50s.
Coburg competed reasonably well all day but couldn’t overcome a goalless second term. The Lions lifted in the second half and hit the scoreboard but the Cats constantly responded to maintain their lead.
A captain’s goal from Nick Carnell got the tight, even opening term off and running for the Lions. Lech Featherstone sidestepped his opponent and snapped from close range soon after to help give the Burgers an early lead.
Aside from an early turnover, Michael Hartley started brilliantly. He read the ball expertly to take multiple intercept marks, spoiled well when necessary and had 11 disposals in the first quarter. Calder-listed youngster Ben Allan hurt the Cats with his dangerous pace and foot skills but the visitors took their chances to take a slender lead into the first break.
Geelong did all the scoring in the second quarter with Coburg rarely able to generate inside 50s. The Lions suffered from a serious lack of scoring opportunities and, when they did go forward, were wasteful with key passes. Two late goals gave the Cats a comfortable buffer at half-time.
Coburg managed to respond after the break, with goals to Aaron Christiensen, Nathan Thomas and McConnell, but Geelong remained in control by matching the Lions scoring. The home side dominated possession and time in forward half in the last but struggled to use the ball well when passing and converting.
Rory Lehmann had one of his best games of the season in the Coburg defence. He worked tirelessly all day, used the ball well and often shut down his direct opponent. Josh Iacobaccio was another solid performer down back and used his pace to break up Geelong’s attacks.
A terrific goal by highly-regarded youngster Josh Cauchi goal provided the highlight of the day. He found the ball on the ground, burned his opponent with pace and danced past a would-be tackler in the goal square before calmly popping it through. Coburg displayed better ball movement and link up play late to set up a Cody Mance goal but the Cats commanding lead was never threatened.