In an arm-wrestle of a contest, Coburg have dealt an undermanned Frankston a 5-point defeat on the eve of round one.
From the first bounce, the improvement of this Frankston side in comparison to season 2018 was evident everywhere but the scoreboard. Shem Tatupu laying a ferocious tackle to implement his presence into the contest.
In windy conditions, the Dolphins were solid defensively in the first term, keeping Coburg to just four behinds. Josh Newman was tremendous, finding the football with ease on the half back flank and more importantly using it efficiently.
In attack, the Dolphins could only manage the 2 majors but demonstrated some strong spread and the youth were displaying their full potential.
By the 6th minute mark of the opening term, the Dolphins had been suffocated by repeat entries, barely having a look forward of centre.
Nathan Scagliarini was rewarded with a free kick before turning wide to a bursting Riley D’Arcy. The ex Dandenong Stingray chiseled a ball to a leading Corey Rich who went back and opened the Dolphins account.
The second term was one to forget for the Dolphins and it loomed as a game changing 30 minutes; the rain came in a rush and so did Coburg, piling on 3 unanswered goals.
Captain Blake Mullane limped off the ground with a knee injury and was shortly followed by Angus Styles after a nasty collision. Two down on the bench, the Dolphins didn’t trouble the scorers in the second to be down by 4 points at the half.
An animated Danny Ryan at the break was seething over the scoreless quarter from his men and demanded a smarter and harder brand of footy.
A wounded Blake Mullane returned from the bench to lift his side immediately after the break. The Frankston captain took a strong contested mark before going back and giving the Dolphins the lead.
Mullane’s mark and goal instantaneously boosted Frankston’s energy, emerging from the very next centre bounce was Scagliarini to find the chest of Beau Bailey who nailed another.
For the rest of the third quarter Frankston and Coburg landed respective blows, Beau Bailey converted his second of the quarter and third for the match before Aloysio Ferreira snapped truly to give the Dolphins an 11-point buffer into the final break.
Despite losing the grip of the game in the last quarter, the Dolphins would have been pleased with the clear connection between dynamic forwards Beau Bailey and Corey Rich.
Bailey and Rich often found each other in the final term and were never in each others way when fronting up for a lead. Along with Will Fordham, who dominated the stoppages in the final quarter, the Dolphins will be frustrated in the 5-point loss.
Coach Danny Ryan was disappointed in his group and the way they used the ball from the stoppages.
“The second quarter really hurt us.
“Coburg had a very quick side in today and we didn’t handle that well, we won our share of ball from the stoppages but weren’t able to translate into inside 50s.
“I thought Will Fordham was outstanding, playing as a big bodied mid, he is taking his game to another level and that’s really exciting for him and the year,” Ryan said.
Whilst Ryan was undoubtedly upset with the performance, he says there was some strong positives to take out of the game.
“The positive out of today is we can play a lot better.
“We think there is parts of our game plan that we didn’t execute well.
“We are an aspiring and developing team so we will take the learnings from today.
“I thought Blake was quite dynamic when he was forward.
“He (Mullane) just wrenched his knee a little bit, one of his studs got caught in the cricket pitch, he came off as a precaution,” He said.
The Dolphins will bounce back from the practice match loss and prepare themselves for round 1 clash against Essendon next Sunday at Skybus Stadium.
Frankston: 7.10. 52
Coburg: 7.15. 57
Bailey 3, Rich 2, Ferreira 1, Mullane 1.
Fordham, Bailey, Mullane.
Dolphins Digital Media Team