Coburg has gone down in a hard-fought game against a very good Port Melbourne side, which outclassed the young Lions by 27 points at North Port Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Port Melbourne came out of the gates flying, kicking the first goal and maintaining possession of the football for the first ten minutes. However, Coburg was able to fight back and ended up dominating the second half of the quarter with slick ball movement and attacking football; their efforts rewarded with a 14 point lead at the first break.
The Borough got off to a quick start again in the second, but the remainder of the term was pretty even with both Port Melbourne and Coburg trading goals; including a great passage of play from the Lions that led to a Sam Lowson goal. Going into halftime, Coburg was down by 7 points, but full of confidence with their efforts.
Yet again, Port Melbourne’s fiery start in the third looked like they were going to kick away, but the young Lions continued to ground their opponents.
Ball-magnet Marcus Lentini (32 disposals) kicked the first of the quarter, before Lowson (three goals) kicked his third before three-quarter time. A late run from Coburg had them within 9 points at the final break.
Port continued to extend their lead in the last term, with a goal each from Hish Kerbatieh and Adam Swierzbiolek not enough of a chase. The final siren sounded with Coburg going down to Port Melbourne 105 – 78.
Speaking with midfield coach Andrew Sturgess post game, he credited the team and saw it as “another step forward”.
“Defensively, to keep pressuring the ball-carrier and to take the game on and be brave (was a step forward). I thought we were pretty good around the clearances again, and what we are now seeing is some consistency and we are becoming harder to play against.”
Entering the second half, he noticed that Port Melbourne had begun to “change a couple things structurally because we were getting what we wanted”.
“We tried to change as well, but they had it on their terms in the second half,” he continued.
“The difference was they capitalised while we might not have as well as we could have.”
Sturgess also praised Jack Murphy’s game, who recently returned to the side after a run of games in local football.
Despite the result, Sturgess was proud of the team’s development throughout the season and hopes they can continue this pathway.
“Look back to round six when we lost to Frankston by 40 points, and then last week we won by 45 points. That’s an 85 point turn around.”
Telling the boys to “have belief we can compete against teams like Port Melbourne” pre-game, it seems the Lions definitely listened and believed they could.
Next week sees Coburg have a bye, before returning home to Piranha Park to take on Werribee on Saturday August 4th.
Coburg 3.5 5.6 9.10 11.12 (78)
Port Melbourne 1.3 6.7 10.12 15.15 (105)
Goals: Lowson 3, Swierzbiolek 2, Mellington, Weightman, Lentini, O’Donoghue, Guthrie, Kerbatieh.
Best: Murphy, Nolan, Kerbatieh, Iacobaccio, Swierzbiolek, Dickson.