COBURG made a mockery of the interstate challenge and announced itself as a team to watch with a stunning 18-point upset of NEAFL reigning premiers Brisbane at the South Pine Sports Complex on Sunday.
Coming off an early bye, the Victorian Lions travelled to Queensland as rank outsiders against a strong opposition on the rebound and controlled the contest from start to finish to break a seven-match losing streak dating back to June 30, 2019.
In fact, it was only poor kicking that stopped Coburg recording an even more convincing win, as it racked up 28 scoring shots to 15 but finished with a wasteful 9.19 to keep Brisbane in the game.
Marcus Lentini once again dominated, recording his second successive 40-disposal game as he finished with 42 and seven tackles, but he was the worst offender in front of the big sticks with 0.4.
He had plenty of mates in an inspirational display, with Richmond recruits Charlie Thompson (31), Tom Silvestro (27), Jacob Ballard (26) and Luke Nelson (24 and 2.3) all prominent to help Coburg win the disposal count by 65.
Coburg got out by 22 points in the second quarter, but unlike round one when it handed up a similar lead against Frankston, it was never headed to record a character-building maiden triumph for new coach Andrew Sturgess.
The home team was bitterly disappointing, although Keidean Coleman (28), Carter Michael (26) and Tom Berry (25) could hold their heads high.
Greater Western Sydney broke through for its maiden VFL victory with an impressive 30-point win over the previously undefeated Southport at Blacktown International Sports Park.
The Giants lifted after an even first quarter, kicking five goals to three in the second term to lead by 16 at the half and won every quarter as the Sharks missed chance after chance to work their way back into the game.
Jake Riccardi produced a career-best game for GWS after being dropped from the AFL, enjoying a move up the field to rack up 40 disposals and a whopping 19 marks, while rookie Jacob Wehr (27), Tanner Bruhn, Wiilliam Clark, James Peatling and Nick Shipley also fired.
Michael Manteit was easily Southport’s best with 36 touches and a goal, while Jacob Dawson worked hard under the packs and Jesse Joyce and Mackenzie Willis also did well.
Nic Newman and Tom De Koning made successful returns from injury as Carlton overcame a slow start to dominate an injury-riddled Essendon by 49 points at Windy Hill.
The Blues trailed by 14 points at quarter-time but held the Bombers scoreless and added 5.7 themselves in the second term to take a stranglehold on the contest.
Ben Crocker kicked 3.4 and three out on the full while grabbing 14 marks, Toby Wooller took 11 marks and kicked 3.3, Will Setterfield overcame a slow start to have 26, Newman was solid with 23 and De Koning was menacing up forward and in the ruck to be credited with 31 hitouts and a goal.
Nick O’Kearney played a lone hand on his VFL return for Essendon with 36 touches, but the Bombers were racked by injury and played most of the last quarter with only 17 men on the field as Tom Cutler, Cian McBride, Alec Waterman, Josh Tynan and James Harrold finished the contest on the bench.
Box Hill Hawks overcame a second-quarter blitz from Sandringham to win by 30 points at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
The Zebras kicked a sensational 9.4 to 0.2 in the second term with the wind to turn a 19-point deficit into a 39-point lead at the half, but didn’t fire another shot as the Hawks kicked seven, six and six in the other three quarters.
Fergus Greene booted five and Vince Adduci four for Box Hill, while Dan Howe (30) and Josh Deluca (29) were prominent, while Luke Dunstan played another brilliant game in a losing cause with 35 disposals and three goals for Sandringham.
THURSDAY, APRIL 29
North Melbourne 3.6 (24) def by Casey Demons 19.17 (131)
FRIDAY, APRIL 30
Collingwood 9.11 (65) def Gold Coast 9.8 (62)
SATURDAY, MAY 1
Northern Bullants 6.11 (47) def by Footscray 12.18 (90)
Werribee 18.16 (124) def Richmond 6.7 (43)
Sydney 8.12 (60) def by Geelong 9.10 (64)
Frankston 13.14 (92) def Aspley 10.11 (71)
Williamstown 15.17 (107) def Port Melbourne 10.9 (69)
SUNDAY, MAY 2
Brisbane Lions 8.7 (55) def by Coburg 9.19 (73)
GWS Giants 14.10 (94) def Southport 8.16 (64)
Essendon 8.4 (52) def by Carlton 14.17 (101)
Sandringham 14.14 (98) def by Box Hill Hawks 19.14 (128)