BY ALEX MORELLA
Coburg has defeated Frankston for the second time this season, this time on Frankston’s home turf at Skybus Stadium.
In windy conditions down by the coast, both sides traded the lead several occasions, as the breeze favoured the Kars Street end of the ground, but ultimately it was a strong last quarter against the breeze which allowed the Lions to hold on for victory by 6 points.
Coburg started with the wind in the first quarter, and were rewarded for their early pressure with a Josh Weightman goal within the first minute, Weightman would continue to be a handful for the Dolphins’ defenders throughout the match.
Frankston were able to respond quickly through Jimmy Miller, before Brodie Foster’s first VFL goal and a strong mark and goal from co-captain Peter McEvoy allowed the Lions to come into the first break with a 14 point lead.
Despite going in ahead, the Lions were still disappointed to not have taken some more opportunities to take advantage of the wind, with a number of shots sailing wide of the mark.
The roles between the sides were reversed in the second quarter, with the Dolphins capitalising early through the strong breeze. Ali Zijai and Corey Rich both converted in the early stages to drag the margin back to just a couple of points. After further pressure and a number of clearances from the Coburg defensive fifty, the Dolphins took the lead after Rich kicked his second and Nathan Freeman snapped truly.
The Lions refused to surrender though, and some outstanding hard running from Hedley Smith and Jack Murphy set up a crucial Peter McEvoy goal that kept Frankston’s lead down to 9 points at the main break.
The third quarter saw the Lions once again have the opportunity to utilise the breeze, but it was Frankston who converted the early opportunity to extend their lead.
After struggling to convert opportunities through the first half of the third term, a brilliant snap from Hedley Smith broke the game back open for the Burgers, and Luke Bunker quickly followed with another goal from a forward stoppage to bring the sides within 2 points of each other.
A late free kick to Adam Swierzbiolek proved vital, as he converted from 4o metres out to give the Lions a 5 point leading heading into the final change.
It was going to take a mammoth defensive effort in the last quarter to keep Frankston out, and the Lions showed incredible toughness early to score the first goal in the last quarter. Another goal from a forward stoppage, this time to Weightman for the small forward’s second goal of the game, and the Lions were able to push out to an 11 point lead.
A 50 metre penalty against Marcus Lentini allowed Frankston to bring the margin back to 5 points, before Steve Stroobants converted a rapid counter attack from the Lions to once again push the margin out beyond a goal.
The final ten minutes of the game saw relentless pressure from both teams, as Frankston continued to bomb the ball inside 50 and create opportunities, but ultimately they were unable to strike a killer blow, and the Lions bravely held on for a 6 point victory.
Marcus Lentini and Luke Bunker were once again influential in the midfield, with Lentini amassing another 35 disposals, and Bunker acquiring 25 possessions and laying 10 tackles. Jesse Corigliano and Liam Whelan were strong across half back in very difficult conditions, while Josh Weightman was named best on ground by Senior Coach Leigh Adams for his relentless pressure and strong ball use, finishing with 22 possessions.
The Lions were thrilled to sing the song for the second time this year, and snap an 8 game losing streak, and move above North Melbourne into 13th on the VFL Ladder.
Goals: P.McEvoy 2, J.Weightman 2, L.Bunker, B.Foster, H.Smith, S.Stroobants, A.Swierzbiolek
Best: J. Weightman, M. Lentini, L. Whelan, P. McEvoy, L. Bunker, J. Murphy
— Coburg Football Club (@CoburgFC) June 30, 2019