Round 18 Preview: Coburg vs Werribee

Werribee will enter Sunday’s clash with fellow standalones Coburg eyeing a third successive victory, which if achieved will move the club one step closer to breaking its four-year VFL finals drought.

Skipper Michael Sodomaco will make a timely return from a hamstring injury to lead Werribee out with the number zero on his back in support of AFL Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) inaugural Towards Zero Round, which aims to engage the community and increase awareness about critical road safety issues.

MATCH DETAILS

Sunday August 4
12.30pm at Piranha Park, Coburg
TEAM

THE STORY SO FAR

Werribee’s 50-point win over Frankston last round was the side’s second triumph on the trot after a month of narrow defeats. An even spread of goalkickers contributed to the ‘Big W’s’ fourth 100-point score of the season, further strengthening their already healthy percentage and locking them into sixth spot with four rounds remaining.

Similar to Frankston, Coburg’s ladder position (15th, 2-13) isn’t a true representation of their competitiveness. Their two victories have come against the Dolphins, however they’ve been within three goals when the final siren has sounded on six occasions, and within a kick three times.

RECENT HISTORY

These two sides squared off under lights back in round two at Avalon Airport Oval, and it was Werribee who reigned supreme, registering a 32-point win courtesy of a dominant first three quarters. Goalsneak Ryan Kemp kicked three on debut, while ruckman Angus Clarke and playmakers Dane McFarlane and Josh Clayton dominated their respective positions.
Werribee has enjoyed a successful seven-year period over Coburg, winning the past three encounters and eight of the last ten.

KEY QUESTIONS

Compare the pair: Who wins the battle of the ball magnets?

Werribee’s Tom Gribble and Coburg’s Marcus Lentini have been two of the most consistent midfielders this season, and on Sunday the prolific pair go head-to-head. 20-year-old Lentini took the competition by storm in his debut VFL season in 2018, winning Coburg’s best and fairest and earning selection in the VFL Team of the Year. He has backed that up and leads the VFL in disposals, two touches ahead of Gribble. Werribee's No.4 has taken his game to a new level in 2019, adding a proficient outside game and goalkicking knack to his strong contested style. Often targeted by the opposition, Gribble has worked through the close attention and continued his ball-winning ways to become one of the competition's most damaging midfielders. 

2019 Averages

Marcus Lentini: 29.9 disposals (#1), 12 kicks, 17.9 handballs (#1), 4.3 tackles, 1.3 marks, kicked 4.3

Tom Gribble: 29.7 disposals (#2), 15.1 kicks (#3), 14.7 handballs (#3), 4.4 tackles, 2.8 marks, kicked 9.6

Can Coburg counter Werribee’s weaponry?

Mark Williams has the boys in black and gold playing a fast flowing and high-scoring brand of footy (averaging 88.73 points a game), which sees them ranked only behind Essendon for points scored this season.
Coburg have conceded the third most scores throughout 2019, and will run into a Werribee forward setup that has cracked the ton in consecutive weeks. Teenage talent Jake Riccardi sits equal second in the ‘Frosty’ Miller Medal race with 28 goals, while Matt Munro has been one of the most dangerous pressure forwards, particularly in his last six starts which have yielded 12 majors and countless highlights.

AARON FETTER

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