Brutal. That’s the word Phillip Island senior coach Brad Sinclair used to describe Cora Lynn’s performance in Saturday’s preliminary final at Garfield.
It’s hard to argue with, either, as the Cobras took advantage of an early lead to storm to a demoralising 89-point thumping of the Bulldogs 18.8(116) to 4.3(27).
All season the Island’s catch-cry has been ‘reliable, not remarkable’ and it’s a mantra that has taken them from just sneaking into the top five – with a 10-8 home and away record – to making a real September charge, and storming over the top of their old rivals from Dalyston in the process.
All season, Sinclair’s side has been reliant on an even spread of contributors with inspirational leader Brendan Kimber showing the way from the front and the likes of Nick Higginson, Jaymie Youle, Jarrod Witnish, Steven Pimm and Jarrod Andreatta right beside him.
But Cora Lynn has long been reliable – at being remarkable.
Come the business end of the season, the Cobras roll their sleeves up and seriously get to work – often dismantling strong opposition in the process.
After thumping Dalyston in the qualifying final at Kooweerup, the Cobras succumbed to a wayward Inverloch Kongwak in the second semi.
All eyes were on them on Saturday to see if they could respond after their third loss of the season to their new rivals, and what David Main’s men dished up was sure to raise at least a few eyebrows among the Sea Eagles players and coaches in attendance.
The rot started with Billy Thomas in the ruck against Higginson, skipper Tim Payne down back on Pimm, and a small army of dedicated midfielders rotating through Kimber.
Jason Toan had a blinder of a start for the Cobras on the pristine Beswick Street deck, booting all three of his goals in the first term to deliver his side a three-goal margin at quarter-time.
The Cobras then went on with it in the second due to a combination of brilliant defensive pressure and targeted, lethal ball movement forward of the centre.
At the other end of the ground, the Cora Lynn defenders refused give even an inch as the Island struggled badly for avenues to score.
Though the scoreboard didn’t fully reflect it, the heat was gone from the game by half-time with Main’s men up 8.4 to 3.1.
“Our out-number at the contest is fantastic,” he told the group in the rooms.
“That impact is there – it’s why we’ve rebounded so well.”
Main praised Thomas’s efforts in the ruck while also pleading for his side to continue working harder across the ground and at stoppages.
Along with Chris Johnson and Nathan Gillis, Brady White was brilliant through the middle of the ground while the likes of young guns Brayden Weller and Heath Briggs also stood tall.
Any time the Island looked to gain any ascendancy, Cora Lynn stamped it out – running away huge winners with goals to Nathan Gillis, Jackson Dalton and Jai Rout in the last, putting the icing on the cake.
Nathan Langley slotted four majors, while Dalton, Rout and Nathan Gillis snagged two apiece as their side stormed into yet another grand final.
Key back Mark Griffin, Matt Jones, Jack Taylor and Arie Cook were among the Island’s best contributors.

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