BY JACK KOVACIC
Coburg has today suffered defeat at the hands of a strong Port Melbourne outfit.
Following last week’s blistering nine goal opening term, Coburg had almost the opposite today.
Port Melbourne came out breathing fire and kicked the first six goals of the game in an opening quarter in which it had 18 inside 50’s to Coburg’s five.
The Lions struggled to get their hands on the ball as the Borough’s midfield got on top early, were dominant around the stoppages, and served their forwards on a silver platter.
The only Coburg goal of the opening term came at the 20-minute mark through Steven Stroobants after co-captain Peter McEvoy took a strong intercept mark in the middle of the ground.
Coburg’s midfield lifted in the second quarter and were able to even up clearances and match their opponents around the stoppages.
Despite this, the defence was still under a mountain of pressure as the Borough’s continued to efficiently use the ball going forward, an area in which Coburg struggled all day.
Jack Murphy was able to add his name to the goal kickers list after getting on the end of a nice piece of transition play, but the Borough’s still held a commanding 58-point lead at half time.
Coburg finally started to get the game on its terms in the third quarter but couldn’t manage to get this to fully reflect on the scoreboard.
The ball was locked inside the Lions’ 50 for long periods of time, but Port were able to continue their accuracy in front of goal and converted some tough opportunities while Coburg struggled in front of goal.
Stroobants had the highlight of the game taking a massive mark on the wing before hitting up Mitch Podhajski inside 50 who made no mistake with the set shot.
Stroobants kept himself involved in the game by kicking his second goal of the day later in the quarter before Marcus Lentini kicked a nice goal from 50 metres.
As he always does, Lentini chalked up plenty of disposals, finishing with 32 and 17 contested possessions despite copping a tag all afternoon.
The last quarter got off to the perfect start with McEvoy nailing his first goal of the game from a tricky angle in the pocket.
Coburg were again able to gain some momentum but like the previous term, despite having the ball held in its forward half for long periods, goals were not easy to come by.
Liam Whelan and Harry Nolan toiled hard in defence all day for Coburg,but their efforts were only able to limit the damage on the scoreboard so far.
Sam Lowson returned from an ankle injury to play his first game in eight weeks, and deputy vice-captain Mitch Podhajski spoke post-game about his influence.
“It was really exciting to get Sammy back, it adds a different dimension into the forward line with a bit more pace,” Podhajski said, “He attracts their best defender each week which allows a few of us to open up a little bit.”
Speaking post-game, midfield coach Chad Owens was disappointed with the opening term.
“Really disappointing first quarter, we got absolutely smacked in stoppages around the ground and in the centre, after quarter time we only went down one (in clearances) for the game, it’s a pure mindset thing,” he said, “You don’t all of a sudden get more ability at quarter time so we just have to adjust to things a little bit quicker.”
Port Melbourne 18.11.119
Best: Whelan, Nolan, Stroobants, Dickson, Lentini, Exon
Goals: Podhajski, Stroobants 2, Murphy, Lentini, McEvoy