A six-goal final term and another big-numbers haul from Marcus Windhager has helped steer Sandringham to its third win of the season, culminating in a 57-point win over Coburg at RSEA Park.
While the numbers have been secondary to Ross Lyon as Windhager works on his running patterns and the defensive side of his game, Saturday’s under lights affair was the ideal blend of both, which had the midfielder finish with 38 disposals, 12 inside-50s and a goal in a well-rounded display.
Jake Batchelor’s brigade bookended the game in commanding fashion to keep their opposition goalless in the first and fourth terms, but were forced to work in-between as the Lions re-stabilised and even drew within striking distance on a handful of occasions.
Despite Coburg’s mid-game revival, it was close to one-way traffic for the home side, who blitzed the inside-50s count 75-32 and saw every single Zebra on the ground register a kick going into the attacking arc in the 15.13 (103) to 7.4 (46) result.
Sandringham’s three-headed, revolving forward monster of Isaac Keeler, Max Heath and Tom Campbell were close to untouchable in the air and were vital in the final result, combining for seven majors to match Coburg’s entire score for the day.
Coupled with the service from the likes of Leo Connolly (28 disposals), Jack Billings (24) and skipper Anthony Seaton (19), the forward trio had no shortage of opportunities and ensured they counted with strong finishes in front of the sticks.
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Heath was brilliant in the game’s opening minutes and couldn’t be contained as he soared for contested marks, while Keeler was just as clean out on the lead, capping off his work with a precise set shot from the pocket to get his name on the board.
Campbell shared the bulk of ruck duties with 21 hit-outs to go alongside his 22 touches, but spent less time in the middle after dislocating his finger prior to half-time. Jack Bytel (nine disposals) was also treated after two successive bumps in the shadows of the main break and didn’t return afterwards, seeing Darby Hipwell (19 disposals, two goals) take his place at centre bounces.
Tim Membrey had glimpses in his return game from concussion but was unable to have a huge impact, eventually getting on the end of a coast-to-coast goal in the third term instigated by some gutsy play from Tom Highmore (19 disposals, 10 marks) from full-back.
The Saints leader could have finished with another if not for a selfless handball off to get Billings (24 disposals) on the board as the Zebras slotted the last seven majors of the game with little resistance.
Tyson Milne provided zip off the half-back line to finish with 31 disposals, Zaine Cordy was the bedrock of the backline and looked aggressive in his bounce out of defence, while Jack Peris' two-way running was on show with 19 touches, four inside-50s and four rebound-50s by the final siren.
James Van Es (14 disposals) and Oscar Adams (16) again had more of the football with Highmore and Cordy manning the key defensive posts, with the pair continuing to add new elements to their game under Batchelor’s watch.
Sandringham will have its bye scheduled for next week in line with St Kilda, while Coburg will return to Piranha Park on Saturday afternoon to face fellow standalone Werribee.
SANDRINGHAM 3.5 6.9 9.13 15.13 (103)
COBURG 0.1 4.3 7.3 7.4 (46)
Sandringham: Keeler 3, Latreille 2, Hipwell 2, Heath 2, Campbell 2, Membrey, Windhager, Lowe, Billings
Coburg: Kemp 2, McGlashan, D’Intinosante, Clarke, Boucher, Bella
Sandringham: Windhager, Milne, Campbell, Heath, Hipwell, Connolly, Keeler, Cordy
Coburg: Podhajski, Corigliano, McGlashan, Gillard, Jepson, Walker