BY BROOKE VARNEY.
Coburg was overrun by North Melbourne at Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday morning, going down by 57 points in a tough contest.
The Lions had a great start and looked very convincing in the first term, but it wasn’t too long before the Kangaroos regained control on home turf.
Mitch Conn opened the scoring with a quick goal inside the first minute of play, while North struggled to convert.
The Lions cleared the ball out of the centre well, and hard running from the midfielders helped provide the forwards with opportunities to score.
When the ball was out of their possession, Coburg’s defensive pressure was at a high and forced North Melbourne to panic.
Despite doing a lot of things right, there were still moments of lapses from the young Lions; more evident in the quarters to come.
Scores from turnovers became a bigger issue, as risky kicks and poor decision-making turned costly.
The Kangaroos dominated the second half, and kept the Lions goal-less in the third while they continued to kick away and extend their lead.
Josh Fox kicked the Lions’ sixth goal of the day late in the final quarter, but by that stage the North damage had already been done.
Mitch Podhajski kicked one after the siren to finish on a positive.
Hish Kerbatieh added two goals to his highlights reel, while Ben Allan and Tyson Lever both snuck one in each as well.
Josh Guthrie (30 disposals, four tackles), Tyson Lever (28 disposals, five rebound-50s) and Lochie Dickson (23 disposals, three inside-50s) to name a few were forced to work over-time when North were on the attack, and did their best in the circumstances.
If Coburg can continue to play the way they did in the first term, they shouldn’t be far off their maiden win of the season.
Speaking post-match, back-line coach Ben Osborne was impressed with how the side played at the start of the game.
“We probably played some of our best footy in that opening term, and the question that has to be put back on that is ‘well, why did that stop?’” he said.
“North Melbourne adjusted, and that’s what those good sides will do; they’ll outlast us, so we’ve got to be able to stand up for longer.”
He also recognised Sean Gregory’s efforts in defence, stating he “loved his game today”, and thought there were a few good contributors in the backline.
“Every time Sticks (Gregory) was off, North Melbourne probably scored a goal, but he was really, really good.”
“This game that we play is not about individual accolades, it’s about working well as a group and we did that for a period of the game but we just went away from that at the end a bit.”
Next week will see Coburg go up against Sandringham on Saturday afternoon, back home at Piranha Park.
Coburg: 4.2 5.4 5.6 7.9 (51)
North Melbourne: 2.5 6.8 11.11 15.18 (108)
Goals: Kerbatieh 2, Conn, Allan, Lever, Fox, Podhajski.
Best: Weightman, Gregory, Guthrie, Dickson, Lentini, Conn.