Coghlan leads Dragons’ charge for glory


SANDHURST captain Lee Coghlan will be aiming to square his premiership tally at two-two this Saturday when the Dragons tackle Golden Square in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL senior footy grand final.

After consecutive grand final defeats in 2014 and ’15, Coghlan and his team-mates beat Golden Square in the 2016 grand final by 32 points.

There’s been plenty happen since then, particularly a Covid pandemic which meant no play in 2020 and abrupt end at the halfway mark of the ’21 campaign.

After missing last year’s finals Sandhurst is now a win from capturing the Bendigo Advertiser premiership cup.

“For the whole club it’s great to be back playing on grand final day.

“It’s what every player wants to achieve, no matter what level they are at.”

It was an incredibly consistent run by Sandhurst as it ended the 18-round home-and-away series on top spot after chalking up 16 wins, a draw, and just one loss to grand final opponent, Golden Square.

“A lot of credit has to go to Ash Connick and Bryce Curnow. They are brilliant coaches,” said Coghlan.

The Dragons will be fired up after a 14-point loss to Golden Square in the second semi.

“They outplayed us that day. We took a lot from that match.

“Golden Square is incredibly strong at stoppages and set up well in defence,” said Coghlan.

Among the many keys for the Dragons will be pressure and workrate at stoppages and the ability to move the ball quickly into attack.

Coghlan said the Bulldogs have plenty of attacking options to try and stop.

“They are not overly tall, but quick on the lead, and just as dangerous at ground level.”

Equally as important is Sandhurst’s forward line which has Matt Thornton, Andy Collins, Lachlan Wright and Cobi Maxted to test the Dogs’ back six.

Since his senior debut in 2007, Coghlan has racked up plenty of accolades.

One of his greatest highs was the Michelsen Medal as league fairest in 2009.

A teacher at Catherine McAuley College, Coghlan teams up on the footy field with some of the students he coached in the college’s footy team.

“Sam Conforti, Cooper Smith and Noah Walsh were in the year eight footy team that I was coaching.

“Now they are playing in the same team with me.

“I am incredibly proud of what they have done so far.

“They are super players in their own right and will be for a long time,” Coghlan said.

There’s also long-time team-mates such as Nick Stagg and Matt Thornton who continue to play crucial roles for the maroon and blue.

“Having Nick Stagg and Andy Collins back at the club is great.

“Their leadership and ability to step up the big moments is inspirational.

“They did it in the last quarter of the preliminary final, and both are capable of just about anything on the footy field.”

Although his role has changed markedly in recent years, Coghlan said he looks forward to the challenge of every match, no matter the opponent.

PHOTO: Darren Howe