Frankston have gone down by a straight kick to Coburg in the Dolphin’s second loss of the year by a goal or less.
Coburg were simply better when it mattered and were able to hold off a defiant Frankston kicking with the breeze in the final term, coming away 9.8 (62) to 7.14 (56) victors in a low scoring affair.
Coburg drew first blood inside the opening minute of the game before Corey Rich threaded a pass to a flying Jimmy Miller who levelled the scores.
Moments later Miller created another chance but could only hit the woodwork as he threatened to be the difference.
With a strong wind, the Lions kicked three goals to close out the opening term and go into the first interval with a 14-point break.
Despite trailing, Frankston were dominating possession but were unable to capitalise.
Midfielder Nathan Freeman had 15 disposals and three tackles to his name whilst Will Fordham also had nine possessions.
Frankston went inside their forward 50 from the very first stoppage and a magical left foot snap from Ali Zijai over his shoulder whilst being brought down trimmed the margin to eight and brought some life into the Dolphin’s.
Moments later Gus Styles guided a short ball through the congested forward line to Corey Rich who went back and drilled his first major for the afternoon.
Frankston were pressing hard and threatened to break the game open as they kept Coburg outside their forward 50 until the 12th minute mark of the term.
It then went from end to end as both sides missed their respective opportunities, until Will Fordham used the smallest of gaps from his opponent at the stoppage to put his side ahead by 6-points.
After having 17 disposals to his name in the early stages of the second term, Freeman hobbled off with a sore hamstring and was ruled out for the rest of the day.
Coburg hit back by going coast to coast, before Josh Newman tumbled a snap from the stoppage at which landed on Mitch Cox’s chest, a reward for Cox in his first game of the year for playing in front. He went back and gave the Dolphin’s their fourth main break lead for the season.
With the wind in Coburg’s favour, the third term was crucial for the Dolphin’s to keep in touch as they had wind in the last.
Frankston threatened to strike a telling blow early in the third when Blake Mullane floated the ball inside 50 but the Dolphin’s were unable to capitalise.
Alfie Jarnestrom displayed his elegant left foot as he laced out a full stretch Jimmy Miller on the lead for his second.
When Frankston were poised to run away with a comfortable victory, the Lion’s hit back with three unanswered goals to take a five-point lead into the final break.
At three-quarter time with the entire Frankston crowd surrounding the huddle, Danny Ryan affirmed to his charges that it won’t happen without hard work, they would have to take it from Coburg.
Coburg were first to strike, extending their lead to 11-points in the early stages of the final term.
James Rendell was awarded a ruck free kick in the centre of the ground and as his opponent stepped over the ball, Rendell was brought forward 50m and more importantly within range.
From 30 out Rendell knew as soon as the ball left his boot that it was sailing through. With both fists in the air, the young ruckman not only ignited his teammates, but added a 24th Dolphin in the form of the Frankston crowd.
Coburg responded and with time becoming a factor, the Dolphin’s began to pull the trigger.
The opportunities were aplenty as Frankston needed two majors to win the game, but the Dolphin’s were racing against the clock and added their own pressure with several set shots and kicked six straight behinds in the final ten minutes of the match.
Although Frankston improved the margin from their round three clash against Coburg by 69-points, Coach Ryan was still disappointed that his side couldn’t complete a winnable match.
“We need to finish our work, obviously that’s clear, we kicked 1.6 to 2.1 in the last quarter, the game for me was lost in the second quarter, we had our moments and we didn’t capitalise.
“We had our foot on the throat in the second and didn’t really show a big enough lead at half-time and then we didn’t really handle their heat in the last quarter,” He said.
Ryan was unhappy with a lot of areas of the ground and upheld they all added up in why his side lost.
“Issues right across the field in terms of our defenders playing back shoulder and not defending, allowing them to mark the ball into a five goal wind.
“Our midfielders didn’t stand up in the last quarter, didn’t get the possessions, weren’t able to affect the game.
“Across all three lines, bottom line is we just didn’t get the job done,” Ryan said.
Nathan Freeman was on fire early and threatened to have a monster day on the stat sheet before he went down with a hamstring injury.
“We lost Freeman early in the second quarter, but that wasn’t here nor there in the scheme of losing the game.
“It’s actually his good hamstring, I don’t know the extent of it, I don’t know if he will be okay next week but we will wait and see next week,” He said.
After the game, Danny Ryan often asks his side what they learned from the game. Following the loss to Coburg, Ryan said he learned a lot about his side.
“Our group isn’t good enough yet, we are still looking for those lessons to learn, I always talk about ‘You get what you deserve’ and in the end Coburg won the game because we didn’t take it from them.
“As I said in all three areas of the ground, we allowed their forwards to mark the ball, our midfielders didn’t handle the pressure and our forwards when they got their chances didn’t kick straight.
“We didn’t take the game and it’s as disappointing loss we have had all year,” He said.
Frankston will move on from the loss to the six-day turn around when they travel to Williamstown next Saturday at 2PM.
FRANKSTON 7.14.56 DEF BY COBURG 9.8.62
Miller 2, Zijai 1, Rich 1, Fordham 1, Cox 1, Rendell 1.
Fordham 28, Mullane 20, Newman 20, Harnett 19, Jarnestrom 18.
Rendell, Fordham, Jarnestrom, Woodman, Rich, Newman.
Article by Tyler Lewis / Photography by Diggle Photography