Lions fail to overcome slow start against Seagulls

BY JACK KOVACIC

 

Coburg has today suffered defeat at the hands of an impressive Williamstown outfit.

 

Kicking with a strong breeze, the Seagulls got off to a flying start, kicking six first-quarter goals to zero as Coburg struggled to get its hands on the ball.

 

Tyson Lever found plenty of the ball early for the Lions, chalking up nine disposals in the first term.

 

Unfortunately, not enough of his teammates were able to match his output as the Lions struggled with their disposal allowing Williamstown plenty of opportunities to score from turnover.

 

Luke Bunker (26 disposals, 9 tackles) and Brodie Foster started to get their hands on the ball in the second quarter as Coburg were able to become more competitive in the contest.

 

This did not initially translate to the scoreboard as the Seagulls extended their lead by kicking the first two goals of the quarter.

 

Jack Murphy was the first Lion to get his name on the goalkickers list, after he converted a simple set shot following a 50-metre penalty.

 

Coburg’s ball movement started to become a lot cleaner, which was evident when Sam Lowson’s left foot kick hit Steven Stroobants in stride as he ran inside 50 and then made no mistake with the kick.

 

Coburg debutant and former Seagull Fletcher Carroll got in on the action late in the first half when his crafty kick spotted co-captain Peter McEvoy alone inside 50.

 

McEvoy went back and kicked an important goal after the half time siren which marked three in a row for the Lions and bought the margin back to 33 points.

 

In an interesting move from coach Leigh Adams, 192cm midfielder Mitch Podhajski (20 disposals and 15 hitouts) spent a lot of the second half in the ruck while Adam Swierzbiolek went forward.

 

This move made a big impact with Podhajski being competitive in the ruck, then playing as an extra midfielder around the ground while Swierzbiolek was able to continually create a contest inside 50.

 

Lowson also saw a bit more time up the ground and his and Jack Sandric’s tackling pressure (15 tackles between the two) was evident as the Seagulls’ disposal efficiency dropped.

 

Coburg again gave up the first two goals of the third term and looked to be down and out before a strong fight back.

 

Billy Cannolo’s classy finish on the run was followed up by Sam Binion who snapped truly for goal and made something out of nothing.

 

Podhajski then made his impact felt on the scoreboard, goaling late to cut the margin to 31 points at the final break.

 

Both teams traded goals early in the last term, but none were more impressive than Carroll, who in his Coburg debut, kicked his first VFL goal.

 

He perfectly roved a forward 50 stoppage and his checkside kick sailed straight through the big sticks to bring the margin back to four goals at the ten-minute mark.

 

Unfortunately for Coburg fans, Williamstown were the stronger finishers of the two and were able to take the four points.

 

Billy Cannolo performed strongly across half forward all day and kicked two goals.

 

Speaking post-game, he said that the first half was where the Lions let themselves down.

 

“The message all week was to beat them on the inside. We knew that with our pace and run that we could probably get them on the outside but in the first half they just beat us on the inside and the outside and we were chasing tail,” Cannolo said.

 

“We turned it around in the second half and started to win the contested ball and blokes started to react a bit quicker and get forward then we were able to kick some pretty easy goals.”

 

Coburg 10.8.68

Williamstown 14.16.100

Best: Podhajski, Lever, Bunker, Murphy, Corigliano, Exon

Goals: Cannolo 2, Murphy, Podhajski, McEvoy, Stroobants, Carroll, Binion, Lentini, Swierzbiolek

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