Jesse Corigliano took the reins as Coburg in 2023. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

It was a tough year on the field for Coburg but there were plenty of green shoots during the winless campaign. 


Position: 21st
W-L-D (%): 0-18 (55.8%)
Players used: 43
Played every match: 10 – Nathan Boucher, Aaron Clarke, Jesse Corigliano, Flynn Gentile, Hugo McGlashan, Ben Jepson, Luke Nelson, Mitch Podhajski, Lachlan Walker and Kyle Weightman
Debutants: 11 – Luke Bailey, George Belcher, Ben Cameron, Ingo Dammersmith, Daniel Johnston, Sam Mason, Hugo McGlashan, Campbell Moorfield, Daniel Owen, Nic Quigg and Ben Rigoni


Best and Fairest: 1st: Ben Jepson, 2nd: Luke Nelson, 3rd: Aaron Clarke, 4th: Flynn Gentile, 5th: Mitch Podhajski
J.J. Liston Trophy votes: Ben Jepson (2), Aaron Clarke (1), Lachlan Walker (1)
Coaches MVP votes: Ben Jepson (25), Aaron Clarke (11), Luke Nelson (10), Mitch Podhajski (10)
VFL Team of the Year representatives: Nil
Goalkickers: Aaron Clarke (32), Kyle Weightman (15), Mitch Podhajski (13)

Ben Jepson (R) was a shining light in a tough 2023 campaign for Coburg. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos


(Averages – Minimum 6 matches)

Disposals: Ben Jepson (25.1), Flynn Gentile (23.2), Braedyn Gillard (23.1)
Kicks: Mitch Podhajski (17.4), Ben Jepson (17.3), Luke Nelson (11.7)
Handballs: Luke Bailey (13.2), Braedyn Gillard (12.2), Flynn Gentile (11.8)
Marks: Mitch Podhajski (6.7), Lachlan Walker (6.0), Jesse Corigliano (5.8)
Tackles: Luke Bailey (5.4), Hugo McGlashan (4.7), Flynn Gentile (4.6)
Hitouts: Liam Podhajski (21.7), Will Bella (12.2), Josh Kemp (5.5)
Clearances: Luke Bailey (6.5), Braedyn Gillard (4.6), Flynn Gentile (4.5)
Inside-50s: Flynn Gentile (3.6), Braedyn Gillard (3.0), Hugo McGlashan (3.0)
Rebound-50s: Ben Jepson (6.5), Mitch Podhajski (4.9), Jesse Corigliano (4.2)


It was a tough year for the Lions, but there were plenty of green shoots. They were competitive for large periods of games without being able to string together the four quarters they needed to get over the line. Led Geelong, Northern Bullants, North Melbourne and Southport (away) and were within four points of Port Melbourne at three quarter-time and were less than three goals behind Williamstown, Sandringham, Footscray and Frankston at half-time before falling away. Ben Jepson had a breakout season and Aaron Clarke booted 32 goals from limited opportunities.


The inability to play four quarters was the biggest reason why the Lions failed to win a win a game this season. They also had the propensity to produce a shocker, such as kicking just 1.3 in a second half of Round 1 against Collingwood and 1.1 in the first half against Carlton, which resulted in a few hefty defeats. Losing coach Andrew Sturgess late in the pre-season was a setback and Jamie Cassidy-McNamara will be better for having a full season and now a pre-season to keep the club moving in the right direction.


While there were some extremely disappointing results, there were also some positives. Clarke is developing into a good player and Mitch Podhajski relished a return to his natural position in the forward line in the second half of the season. Those two will hopefully continue to develop a strong synergy going forward with support from smalls such as Kyle Weightman, while the midfield will be better for the experience if the Lions can keep them all together. There was also some promise among the 14 debutants, particularly VAFA recruits Hugo McGlashan and Sam Mason.