By Daniel Foley
Where and When:
Highgate Recreation Reserve, Saturday 26 th June 12pm
Last time they met:
Round 21 2019, Coburg 10.6 (66) defeated by Footscray 13.23 (101)
In the final round of the 2019 season, the Lions got off to an impressive start at Whitten Oval kicking
7.4 (46) in the first quarter with the assist of a strong breeze. Coburg then failed to score in the
second quarter and Footscray took a one point lead at half-time. The Bulldogs recorded 22 inside
50’s to zero for Coburg in the second quarter and continued their ascendancy into the second half,
running away to a 35 point victory.
Former Western Bulldog Billy Gowers, who now plays for Southport, kicked three majors for
Footscray while Bailey Williams was named in the best for the Dogs.
Steven Stroobants and Jack Murphy were the equal highest goalkickers for the Lions with two goals
each. Midfielder Marcus Lentini starred on the day with 32 disposals and 10 clearances while Ryan
Exon, Jesse Corigliano and Harry Nolan were named among the best for Coburg.
Form in 2021:
The Lions suffered a disappointing three point loss to North Melbourne last Saturday in the
return to football. Coburg have shown promise with impressive wins over Brisbane and Port
Melbourne earlier in the season. The Burgers sit 16 th on the ladder out of the 22 VFL clubs and have
an important next few weeks coming up with matches against three AFL affiliate clubs in Footscray,
Carlton and Box Hill, who are all above the Lions on the ladder.
The Dogs have had an incredible start to the 2021 VFL season and sit alongside Casey as
the only undefeated teams in the competition. Footscray have won six matches, four of which have
been by 40 points or more. Their smallest winning margin was 18 points against Carlton in Round 4.
The Bulldogs are second on the ladder and will take top spot if they get the win over Coburg. In the
return to competition last week Footscray recorded a 33 point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium
on Friday night.
Bunker V Lipinski
Luke Bunker continued his consistent run of strong performances last week with 31 disposals against
North Melbourne. The midfielder is averaging 28 touches a game this season and has shown
particularly impressive form over the last three matches, he had 29 possessions and eight tackles
against Geelong while his best game for the season came in Round 5 where Bunker had 36 touches
and laid 12 tackles in the win against Port Melbourne.
Patrick Lipinski has dominated in the two VFL games he has played this season. He kicked three
goals, had 36 touches, five marks and six tackles last round against Geelong. In his other VFL
appearance against the Giants in Round 2, Lipinski had 35 disposals, six marks, four tackles and
kicked a goal. Lipinski has played nine AFL matches this year and has been dropped to the VFL side
twice, so another dominant display will be important for Lipinski to regain his spot in the AFL side.
Nolan/Maibaum V Ugle-Hagan
The number one draft pick of 2020, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has kicked 11 goals in his five VFL games in
2021 and will be hoping to put in a strong performance to put his hand up for an AFL debut. Ugle-
Hagan kicked two goals last week after returning from concussion. His best performance this year
was five goals against GWS in Round 2.
Harry Nolan and Jack Maibaum will spend time on Ugle-Hagan to try and limit his influence on the
game. Maibaum is averaging 5.3 marks a game this season. Coburg’s key defenders played an
important role last week, taking multiple intercept marks to cut off the opposition when going
Look out for:
Dinny Cleary will make his VFL debut this weekend following strong form for his local team Avondale
Heights. He will become the third member from the Cleary family to play for Coburg, following in the
footsteps of his father Coburg FC legend Phil Cleary and older brother Ruairi Cleary.
The 23-year old has been making a name for himself in his own right, being the reigning Best and
Fairest winner for Avondale Heights, as well as winning the EDFL Rising Star award in 2019. Cleary
has been named in the midfield for Saturday’s match and will help replace Jacob Ballard who misses
with a hamstring injury.
Cleary signed with the club in early 2020 and finally gets his opportunity to pull on the red and blue.
Footscray to come out firing
The undefeated Bulldogs have started their games off strongly this season. Last week’s match
against Geelong was the first occasion where they did not win the opening quarter. It was also the
first time that they did not score at least two goals in the opening quarter and was their lowest
scoring first quarter for the season with just 1.2 (8).
Coburg have had mixed results in opening quarters this season with two wins, three losses and a
draw. The Lions seem to be hit and miss in opening quarters, being held scoreless once, kicking one
goal twice and then kicking three goals twice and four goals once. The Burgers will be hoping to get
off to a strong start for the club’s first home game this year.