Despite a blistering opening half, Coburg fell short in its bid for its second win of the 2019 VFL season, going down in a fiery contest by six points after a determined Port Melbourne outfit overran the Lions in the second half.
A minutes silence was conducted pre-game to honour the passing of club legend Ian “Jex” Liversidge who was one of Coburg’s 11 club legends in its 129 year history. According to club great Phil Cleary, who delivered a touching tribute to the hall of famer, Liversidge was Coburg’s greatest ever ‘defender’ (known for mortgaging his house to save Coburg during the 1980s).
Tyson Old and Will Donaghey also made their Coburg debuts taking this season’s tally of debutants to 10.
The opening quarter was a tale of two halves as Port Melbourne gained control of the corridor helping them kick the opening two goals of the game. Coburg forward Sam Lowson was prominent early setting the standard with his ferocity and pressure at ground level.
Coburg hit back in the latter stages of the quarter with goals to Steve Stroobants and Jesse Corigliano which put the Lions back on level pegging. A behind to Port’s Jordan Lisle had the Borough up at quarter time, 2.4 16 to 2.5 17.
Corigliano lead the way with nine disposals while Lochlan Dickson and Marcus Lentini found the ball eight and seven times respectively.
An exhilarating second quarter by Coburg saw the Lions kick eight goals from 14 inside 50s including a run of five consecutive goals. Forward Steve Stroobants got Coburg off to the best possible start in the opening stages of second quarter as he slotted his second goal of the game.
The free flowing ball movement was a pleasing sight for many of the Coburg faithful as the Lions run and carry was deadly, especially on the rebound creating several strong passages of play and entries going forward. Even with this new found gear, Coburg’s pressure was still at a high standard.
A fine finish on the run from 50 metres by Jesse Corigliano saw Coburg take a 36 point lead going into half time, 10.5 65 to Port Melbourne’s 4.5 29.
If the second quarter was a sight to behold for Coburg, the third quarter was the complete opposite of it. Port came out with a point to prove kicking three goals in a row including one to former Coburg captain Tom Goodwin who brought the margin back to 16 points. With the momentum shifting to the Borough, ruckman Adam Swierzbiolek steadied the ship with a classy finish from the pocket but the Borough were able to control the clearances for the remainder of the term trimming the margin to eight points. At three quarter time Coburg lead 11.6 72 to Port Melbourne 9.10 64.
With the game turned on its head, Port continued its charge in the final quarter reducing the difference to just a solitary point before a stalemate for the middle part of the term had both teams locked in a battle of will power and territory.
Port hit the lead at the 17 minute mark through Khan Haretuku but not before Coburg regained the lead two minutes later by a point with Stroobants’s fourth major as he ran into an open goal after a skilful pass from Sam Lowson.
The Borough dug deep once again taking the lead by five points soon after. In a frenetic final five minutes of the contest, Coburg’s desperate efforts unfortunately were in vain as Port held on by six points.
On the injury front Kane Noonan’s day was over in the first quarter after suffering ankle injury, ruckman Adam Swierzbiolek also joined him on the sidelines in the second term but passed a concussion test and was able to return in the 3rd. Harry Simington too was taken from the field in the latter stages of the third term and didn’t return.
Speaking post game, development coach and Coburg forward Steve Stroobants discussed his dual roles at the club and praised Coburg’s younger brigade for being able to do its job when called upon.
‘It has been a really good experience (combing coaching and playing). Obviously with a very young list that we’ve got, to be able to jump in during the week and assist the guys where they need to improve their game is pleasing,’ Stroobants said.
‘It’s very important, if you get a couple of injuries you need guys that are able to come in and fill the roles of guys who get injured.’
‘You saw it today with Tyson Old and Will Donaghey, they did that and played really well for their first game of VFL football and for the Coburg Football Club, it was a real credit to them.’
Half back Jesse Corigliano believes that the contest between the two stand-alone VFL clubs on Sunday did the famous rivalry proud.
‘There’s a lot of history between the two clubs and it’s always a good contest against Port Melbourne,’ Corigliano said.
‘They’ve had our measure the past few years, it was really tight in the contests and there was a lot of contested footy as there usually is against a good side like Port Melbourne.’
Despite the tough loss the club is on the right path and is the bridging the gap between them and the powerhouses of the competition.
‘We did a lot of things right but didn’t get the result which hurts a bit. We’ve had a couple of close games but there are just a few small things that we have to do better to get the result, a couple of structural things that cost us goals,’ Corigliano said.
‘It’s not drastic changes that need to happen but just a few little things that well touch over on the vision on Monday. Port Melbourne are a strong one on one team and we weren’t able to switch the ball as much as we’d like but at the same time we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit kicking down the line.’
‘They often set up with a spare man behind the football and we just played into their hands a little bit so it’s something to learn as we go forward into the next few games.’
We encourage all Coburg Football Club members and supporters come down to our next home game and cheer on our boys when we take on Williamstown on May 19th. The opening bounce will commence at 12.30pm.
Port Melbourne 12.13.85
Goals: S. Stroobants 4, S. Binion 2, J. Corigliano 2, B. Cannolo, S. Lowson, A. Swierzbiolek and J. Weightman Best: J. Weightman, T. Lever, J. Corigliano, S. Binion, B. Foster, S. Stroobants