BY KELLY MASTERS
‘The Battle Of Bell Street’ between Coburg and Northern Blues is on again at Cramer Street Preston for the 2019 VFL heritage round.
In honour of the round and to celebrate both clubs’ history, both clubs will be wearing their tribute guernseys made for the occasion.
The Lions will don the old style dark navy Coburg colour with the red slash which honours our VFA Premierships on the back. The Dark Blue with a collar and old Lion logo is sure to bring back memories for some of our most passionate supporters.
The Northern Blues will adopt the Preston Bullants name and iconic red guernsey with the large white Bullant in the centre. The Preston Bullants took the name and colours of their AFL affiliated club Carlton to become the Northern Blues in 2012.
The current “Battle of Bell St” head to head record is:
155 games played
75 Coburg wins
77 Preston/Northern wins
Against Sandringham last weekend, the Lions were more threatening from the first bounce although fell short by 10 points at the final siren.
There were smoother passages of play throughout all four quarters of footy, although Coburg couldn’t capitalise on the opportunities in their forward 50.
‘The Lion of the week’ went to both Adam Swierzbiolek and Jack Murphy for their efforts against the Zebras. It is the second consecutive week Adam Swierzbiolek has been awarded the Lion of the week after he chose to analyse and reflect on his own game. Since putting in extra strength and positioning work, there is no doubt he is a benchmark ruck man in the VFL which the Northern Blues are sure to find out.
After starting the season representing his local club Seymour, Jack Murphy has been a secret weapon in the past three matches. Named up forward again, Murphy will provide a challenge for Blues defenders as he can always get possession of the ball in our forward 50.
Hedley Smith, Liam Whelan, and Luke Di Lizio are all in contention to potentially make their debuts this week after being named on the extended interchange bench.
Hedley Smith has been playing well for Fitzroy Stars, Liam Whelan has joined us from North Melbourne VFL which will provide another experienced option, and Luke Di Lizio has displayed his capabilities for St Bernards in the VAFA.
Last week’s debutants Floyd Bollinghaus and Ben Reddick will both approach this week with a successful first game under their belts.
Floyd Bollinghaus made the VFL team of the week after his remarkable performance on debut. As our 23rd man this week you can again expect to see Bollinghaus taking strong contested marks, spending some time in the ruck or as a deep forward option.
Marcus Lentini and Lochlan Dickson will no doubt be a dynamic duo in the midfield this week. Against the Zebras, the pair were able to read the hit outs of Swierzbiolek while clearing the ball out of stoppages and the centre so well that they made it look easy.
Corigliano was a solid wall for us up back, and as one of Coburg’s most consistent players this season you can expect plenty of relentless pressure and rebounds from him again this week.
On the injury front, Kane Noonan and Harry Simington are back this week after both being struck out by injury earlier this season.
Lachlan Whelan (potential debut), Hedley Smith (potential debut), Josh Guthrie, Kane Noonan, Tyson Old, Harry Simington, Jackson McDonald, and Luke Di Lizio (potential debut) are all named on the extended interchange bench. The final squad will be decided Sunday morning.
Mark Baker and Mohammad Saad will both represent Macleod on Saturday while the remaining players not selected for VFL duties will have a bye over the Queen’s birthday weekend.
The Northern Blues were defeated by Essendon last week at Windy Hill and have won four of their seven matches. Dale Thomas was a significant contributor who will be back in the AFL squad this week and not be a danger to the Lions. However; Sam Fisher, Frank Anderson, and Angus Schumacher have all dominated in the navy blue in recent weeks. The Lions will look to shut down these prolific players early before they cause significant damage.
Our old style Coburg replica guernseys are available for purchase by contacting the club during business hours and will also be available on our online store after Sunday’s match.
We encourage all Coburg members and supporters to travel to Preston City Oval this Sunday to support the group as they represent Coburg Football Club in the ‘Battle of Bell Street’, kicking off from 1 pm.