Coghlan ready to lead Bendigo into battle against Ballarat

Lee Coghlan

Lee Coghlan

LEE Coghlan has mixed memories when reflecting on his previous two inter-league games for Bendigo against Ballarat.

In 2009 – the same year he won the Michelsen Medal as an 18-year-old – Coghlan was part of a Bendigo team that put behind it a disjointed build-up and string of withdrawals to the extent that then-BFNL chief executive officer Steven Oliver was a last minute inclusion to upstage Ballarat by 21 points in a major boilover.

Yet six years later in 2015 Bendigo’s game against Ballarat isn’t one Coghlan looks back on fondly.

Bendigo barely fired a shot that day in a 77-point hiding.

On Saturday the two goldfields rivals meet again at the Queen Elizabeth Oval in the 9 v 10 ranking game in the AFL Victoria Community Championships.

In what will be his fifth inter-league game, Coghlan has been appointed captain of Bendigo for the first time.

The captaincy vacancy follows an injury to Golden Square’s Jack Geary (fracture under his right eye).

“It’s a fantastic honour to be given the opportunity to captain Bendigo,” Coghlan said on Thursday.

“I’ve been involved with inter-league for a few years now and very much admired the way Jack has gone about his business as captain.

“What Jack did very well was the way in which he led with his performances out on the ground and I hope that I can do the same on Saturday.”

Coghlan has been named rover for Bendigo, which hasn’t lost an inter-league game at the QEO since 2007.

“One thing I’ve learned about inter-league over the years is anything is possible,” Coghlan said.

“You look back at the 2009 win over Ballarat... it showed what you can do when you have a group of guys who are committed to playing an exciting brand of footy and hopefully, we can do the same on Saturday.”

Coghlan, 26, is one of seven Sandhurst players who will take to the field against Ballarat.

An eighth – Mitch Dole – is one of the emergencies.