By Mathew Asciak
The end has come for Coburg’s pre-season campaign, finishing with a narrow 15 point defeat to Frankston last night at Skybus Stadium. There were positive signs early on, with a five goal to one quarter, but the Dolphins settled after quarter time to be secure the win 13.4.(82) to 13.14.(97). This match will be a great tune up for the start of season, as the teams meet again on April 16 to begin their VFL campaigns.
The opening quarter began with a stalemate, with neither team able to seize clear control of the contest in the first half of the term. It was Frankston who would eventually break the deadlock with the first goal but they would be unable to covert multiple goal scoring opportunities, ending the quarter 1.6.(12). The second half of term belonged to Coburg. Tom Silvestro was busy early, extracting the ball from the contest and was influential in moving the ball forward. The Lions booted 5 unanswered goals and took a 19 point lead into the first change. The Lions first goal came through Nathan Boucher who kicked truly from 50m. The forward pressure from the likes of D’Intinosante was instrumental in the first quarter, causing a turnover, which resulted in a goal for Charlie Thompson. Pete McEvoy was a regular recipient of inside 50 entries for Coburg, having multiple marks and 1 goal to his name at the first break.
Frankston settled into the game in second quarter, kicking the first two goals of the quarter, putting that scoreboard pressure on that they were unable to apply in the first. The flurry of goals was halted for the time being, as Coburg responded with goals of to wrestle back momentum in the first half of the 2nd quarter. Following a great find by Jack Malbaum, Adam Swierzbiolek was able to covert a superb set shot from a tight angle. Some clever tap work by young tall forward Aaron Clarke was rewarded as the rover Ben Riddick found D’Intinosante for an handball receive in the goal square. Ultimately, the quarter was won by Frankston, who kicked the last 3 goals of the quarter, cutting the half-time deficit to two points.
Another strong quarter by Frankston in the third, as they added another five goals to their tally. Much like the second term. The Dolphins were in the ascendancy, hitting the scoreboard first yet again, giving them the lead for the first time since the opening term. Coburg’s first goal of the second half was courtesy of Sam Lowson, who evaded his defender for the opportunity for a right foot snap. This goal helped regain the lead, which was extended soon after as D’Intosante kicked truly once again from 50m, managing to keep it between the big sticks with the left to right swing. Similar to the second term, Frankston controlled the 2nd half of the 3rd, executing a quick counter attack from a Coburg error, bring the margin within a goal. They continued to have control of the play, going on another three goal run to enter the final break with a 19 point buffer.
Coburg came out for the final term eager to chip into the Frankston lead, with Luke Nelson looking particularly dangerous. While being pressure against the boundary line, Nelson executed a clever underground handball to his own advantage, which unfortunately did not eventuate in a Coburg goal, an inspiring play, nonetheless. Coburg were able to chip into the lead, following an instinctive off the ground finish by Mitch Podhajski. Pressure was mounting on the Frankston defence; as Coburg had the ball entrenched in their forward half, creating repeat inside 50 entries. The pressure would pay off, as D’Intosante would hit the scoreboard once again, cutting the margin to 7 points. The momentum was temporarily halted, as Frankston replied instantly, winning the ball out the middle and reinstating their 13 point buffer. From this point on it was goal for goal, as McEvoy and Nelson would hit the scoreboard for Lions, but a late goal from Frankston would put the game out of reach.
Speaking to head coach Andrew Sturgess following the game, he spoke about the positives from last night and how it would affect preparation for the rematch in round one. “From a positive aspect we had some good individual performances tonight I though Luke Nelson was really good… particularly late when we asked the boys to lift it up another notch at three quarter time. I thought JD (Josh D’Intinosante) performed quite well and was really busy,” Sturgess said.
“What it does is give us a look at how they’re going to play… at the end of the day you train a method and train a system and style of play, we got a good look at what they’re trying to do and they got a good look at us as well, it’s a bit of a stalemate.”
Speaking further about Luke Nelson’s performance, Sturgess said, “He’s got some pretty simple functions; that’s to put on some forward pressure and make sure the ball is under the pump when the opposition have the ball inside our forward 50 and be busy when the ball gets kicked to our big talls is to be busy at their feet and I feel he did both those things tonight… as well as kick some goals.”
Frankston: 1.6.12 | 6.7.43 | 11.10.76 | 14.13.97
Coburg: 5.1.31 | 7.3.45 | 9.3.57 | 13.4.82
Goals: D’Intinosante 3, McEvoy 2, Lowson 2, Boucher, Lentini, Thompson, Swierzbiolek, Podhajski, Nelson