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Best: Johns, Thomas, Clifton, Carnell, Venditti, Christensen
Goals: Johns 3, MacDonald 2, Younan 2, Hill 2, Cauchi, Carnell, Venditti, Thomas, Clifton
The Lions started slowly and fell away in the second half, eventually going down to Casey by 17 points at Piranha Park on Saturday afternoon.
The loss ended Coburg’s impressive four-game unbeaten run and ruled out a finals berth in 2015. In inspirational captain Nick Carnell’s last home game, the Lions started poorly but recovered, only to be overrun by a fast-finishing Casey side.
Lachie Johns continued his goal kicking form with three majors, Daniel Venditti (24) topped Coburg’s disposal count and Carnell worked hard all day to try to drag the Burgers over the line. Ozgur Uysal collected 22 possessions in his 50th VFL game.
Casey silenced a big home crowd by putting through four quick goals as a shellshocked Coburg struggled to get hands on the ball. Unlike in recent weeks, the Burgers were second to contests, used the ball poorly and were generally not switched on in the opening 20 minutes.
Carnell snapped the Lions’ first to help inspire his troops but dubious umpiring decisions didn’t help the home sides’ attempts to halt the Scorpions’ scoring.
Lachie Johns popped up with a late goal as Coburg tried to recover from Casey’s blistering start but still went into the first change behind.
Nick Robortella – who rarely missed a target by foot – was one of the few standouts in a tough first term.
It all changed in the second term. Coburg looked a new side as they lifted their pressure and hunted the hapless Scorprions, who were held goalless.
As the Lions’s decision-making improved so did the impact of the side’s forwards. Danny Younan set up teammates and booted two goals of his own while Dion Hill claimed a big team-lifting pack mark and finished well.
Hope faded in the third as Hill left the field after a head clash in a quarter that belonged to the visitors.
Decision-making and disposal errors crept back into Coburg’s game as the Scorpions lifted and hit the scoreboard. The Lions managed to break up Casey’s scoring runs through goals to Ben Clifton and Johns but three late goals – including one after the three-quarter-time siren – saw the Burgers relinquish their lead.
Casey were relentless in the last and made it extremely difficult for Coburg to get out of their half. The Lions were under siege in defence and struggled against both the Scorpions big men and more controversial umpiring.
Michael Hartley and Sean Gregory battled valiantly but the Burgers simply couldn’t compete with Casey’s resting ruck man.
Late goals to Josh Cauchi and Dean MacDonald were all too late on a disappointing day for Coburg.