BY NICK GALEA
Coburg has gone down to Sandringham at Piranha Park on Sunday afternoon after a tight contest which saw the Lions fall short by 10 points. The defeat is Coburg’s third this season by 10 or less points.
Developing prospects in Floyd Bollinghaus and Ben Reddick made their Coburg debuts and did not look out of place showing exciting signs.
Mitch Podhajski gave Coburg the best possible start with a well executed set shot from 45 metres out in the opening minute of the game. Coburg continued to press forward and had the early running but weren’t able to capitalise on that dominance with the Zebras getting on the board through key forward Max King.
Despite being a low scoring quarter both sides were able to move the ball from end to end and develop several chains of possession. Coburg’s Ben Reddick found plenty of the ball in his first game gathering six possessions. At the end of the first quarter it was Sandringham up by eight points, 1.5 11 to 3.1 19.
The second quarter can simply be described as dour and defensive. Sandringham started the term strongly and continued to press forward targeting King as much as possible.
For Coburg it was ruckman Adam Swierzbiolek who had a strong impact giving his midfielders silver service before a dashing run by half back Jesse Corigliano saw him finish truly from 50 metres, slotting his fourth goal of the season. For the remainder of the quarter both teams weren’t able to make a huge impact with just the one goal apiece. At half time Coburg trailed Sandringham, 2.7 19 to 4.7 31.
It was in the third quarter where the Lions made their move kicking three consecutive goals with faster and direct ball movement being the key reason for the improved passages of play.
Forward Steve Stroobants was a prominent figure for the quarter having a hand in all three of Coburg’s goals, one being a long range pass to set up co-captain Peter McEvoy before slotting two goals of his own. Stroobants’s second goal put Coburg in front by six points before the Zebras steadied and reclaimed the lead.
Gun midfield duo Marcus Lentini and Lochlan Dickson had nine and six possessions for the quarter respectively and played a huge role in our third term revival while first gamer Floyd Bollinghaus presented as a strong marking target.
A goal in the final minute of the third quarter to Sandringham’s Jack Mayo had them in front at three quarter time by nine points.
Sandringham extended the lead to 17 points half way through the final quarter before the Lions sparked back into action. A wave of handpasses from a stoppage at half forward between Dickson and Josh Guthrie resulted in a classy snap by Josh Weightman who brought the margin back to nine points.
The momentum constantly kept switching between the two clubs with neither able to land a killing blow but quick goals to Coburg’s Will Donaghey and Mitch Podhajski brought the margin to four points. With five minutes left each side showed desperation but it was the Zebras who remained more composed to kick the sealer through Sam Fox and hold on until the final siren.
On the injury front, forward Billy Cannolo was taken off the ground mid way through the third quarter and did not return for the remainder of the match.
Speaking post game, defensive coach Ben Osborne said that the opening quarter was a real focus for the playing group this week after
‘I think we’ve lost five out of seven first quarters so it has been a real highlight for us today to get that start right, unfortunately we weren’t able to put a score on the board with one goal five behinds,’ Osborne said.
‘It was a bit disappointing we couldn’t finish off our hard work but we were impressed with the way the group came out and put them on the back foot nice and early.’
‘Unfortunately we weren’t able to move the footy through there and get it over the back or a bit deeper inside 50. They structure up pretty well back there.’
Both first gamers put in impressive performances, each holding their own against the AFL affiliated team.
‘I thought he (Floyd) was great, I thought both of our debutants were really good,’ Osborne said.
‘I thought Ben Reddick was great today but Floyd took some really good marks for us and showed what he can possibly do moving forward as a backup ruck option or as a deep forward.’
‘He’s got a really good run and jump at the ball, I think he’ll only get better after playing at the level for the first time, we’re looking forward to seeing how he progresses for the Club.’
Ruckman Adam Swierzbiolek backed up last week’s fighting effort with a commanding performance as he collected 52 hit outs and took crucial marks down back when required.
‘I think around the contest, we won the hit outs pretty convincingly but they owned the outside a bit better than us and got the ball forward at crucial moments,’ Swierzbiolek said.
‘We just weren’t able to move the ball the way we wanted which hurt us. I thought we started really well, probably didn’t take some opportunities but our intent was there all day.’
‘We did a lot of things right; it’s just that 10 percent that we’re not getting right at the moment. We just have to work towards that.’
‘We want to move the ball quick and use the overlap, which we did at times. We just have to keep moving forward as a group, the more games we get as a group the better we’ll get.’
We encourage all Coburg Football Club members and supporters come down to our game and cheer on our boys when we take on the Northern Blues next Sunday. The opening bounce will commence at 1pm.
Coburg 8.10 58
Sandringham 9.14 68
Goals: Stroobants, McEvoy 2, Corigliano, Podhajski, Donaghey and Weightman.
Best: A.Swierzbiolek, J Murphy, J Corigliano, L Watkins, S Stroobants, H Nolan.