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The Casey Demons snared their first big scalp for the season when they ended the Box Hill Hawks’ unbeaten run at Casey Fields on Sunday. The 39 point victory was a great come back after back to back defeats and sees them placed in the VFL top eight after six rounds. All eyes were on Demon co-captain Jack Viney who was making his comeback after being blighted with foot injuries beginning in the latter stages of 2017, resulting in a long rehab period that stretched into the first third of this year. Viney was in the thick of things with an early touch that led to a Jay Kennedy Harris goal and was solid throughout, albeit on limited game time of about 70% in his first outing. The home side took most of the first term to size up the opposition and drew away to an eight point lead at the first break with an after the siren goal from Angus Scott who was at the end of a fine pass from Jeff Garlett. The second quarter was something of an arm wrestle with the Hawks proving a difficult opponent to shake off until about midway through the third with Tom Bugg and Tim Smith adding some brilliance up forward, capitalising on some classy work from Billy Stretch who was having a day out in the perfect conditions. He was ably assisted by speedy redhead Oskar Baker who is improving with every run. The fine weather and excellent condition of the ground despite the rains of recent days made for a high standard game. Despite constant attention from his Box Hill opponents Viney demonstrated his toughness and quality and if comes up feeling cherry ripe after the game, it’s unlikely that he will be seen playing at this level very often again, if at all. Garlett was also full of class while Stretch and T Smith put their hands up for a recall but, given Melbourne’s recent form, will have to bide their time. Cam Pedersen was, as usual, a tower of strength. The game was a good showcase of the club’s depth both at AFL and VFL level with skipper Jack Hutchins’ return imminent along with a few others unlucky to miss out this week. Corey Wagner was the best of the VFL players and would have relished playing alongside brother Josh who was also handy in defence. The Demons’ dominance continued throughout the final term after a period with the defence led by Joel Smith and Declan Keilty asserting their authority and the final margin of 39 points marred by some inaccuracy in front of goal, really didn’t do justice to their effort around the ground on the day. It was a welcome victory however, after a few weeks in the doldrums with consecutive losses and the break for the bye. The Demons are looking forward to their encounter at SkyBus Stadium, Frankston against the reformed Dolphins who are enjoying their return to the competition with two wins to date. PETER JACKSON VFL 2018 Casey Demons 4.4.28 6.6.42 10.11.71 16.15.111 Box Hill Hawks 3.2.20 5.5.35 7.5.47 11.6.72 Goals Casey Demons Bugg 4 T Smith 3 Scott 2 Baker Balic Garlett Kennedy Harris Pedersen Stretch C Wagner Box Hill Hawks Lewis 4 Brolic Ceglar Glass Hanrahan Moore Pittonet Schoenmakers Best Casey Demons Stretch T Smith Pedersen Baker Bugg J Smith Box Hill Hawks Mirra Moore Jones Lewis Cousins Ceglar Statistics Oskar Baker 1 goal 1 behind 12 kicks 8 handballs 20 disposals 6 marks 1 tackle 81 dream team points Harley Balic 1 goal 1 behind 12 kicks 5 handballs 17 disposals 10 marks 2 tackles 91 dream team points Tomas Bugg 4 goals 10 kicks 10 handballs 20 disposals 2 marks 10 tackles 120 dream team points Jake Di Pasquale 2 kicks 5 handballs 7 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 23 dream team points Lachlan Filipovic 4 kicks 2 handballs 6 disposals 4 tackles 16 hit outs 46 dream team points Sam Frost 8 kicks 4 handballs 12 disposals 4 marks 41 dream team points Jeff Garlett 1 goal 2 behinds 12 kicks 7 handballs 19 disposals 1 mark 4 tackles 84 dream team points Jayden Hunt 14 kicks 5 handballs 19 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 59 dream team points Dion Johnstone 1 behind 3 kicks 3 handballs 6 disposals 1 marks 3 tackles 28 dream team points Declan Keilty 3 kicks 4 handballs 7 disposals 1 tackle 19 dream team points Jay Kennedy Harris 1 goals 4 kicks 11 handballs 15 disposals 1 marks 3 tackles 52 dream team points Jay Lockhart 14 kicks 2 handballs 16 disposals 3 marks 3 tackles 65 dream team points James Munro 7 kicks 11 handballs 18 disposals 1 marks 6 tackles 65 dream team points Cameron Pedersen 1 goal 1 behind 6 kicks 12 handballs 18 disposals 9 marks 8 tackles 10 hit outs 120 dream team points Harrison Petty 7 kicks 4 handballs 11 disposals 4 marks 2 tackles 49 dream team points Angus Scott 2 goals 4 kicks 4 handballs 8 disposals 2 marks 6 tackles 62 dream team points Joel Smith 1 behind 11 kicks 11 handballs 22 disposals 9 marks 5 tackles 103 dream team points Timothy Smith 3 goals 3 behinds 14 kicks 6 handballs 20 disposals 10 marks 7 tackles 134 dream team points Billy Stretch 20 kicks 13 handballs 33 disposals 5 marks 7 tackles 130 dream team points Jack Viney 1 behind 8 kicks 13 handballs 21 disposals 2 marks 1 tackles 74 dream team points Corey Wagner 1 goal 13 kicks 6 handballs 19 disposals 5 marks 2 tackles 74 dream team points Josh Wagner 13 kicks 6 handballs 19 disposals 5 marks 4 tackles 83 dream team points Mitchell White 9 kicks 3 handballs 12 disposals 3 marks 13 tackles 94 dream team points
The small crowd that ventured out to Casey Fields got more than its money worth (admission was free) after a mainly dour, lacklustre performance by the VFL Demons and Hawks ended in a cliffhanger with the home team coming home with a rush and kicking the winning goal late in the final term. Apart from a brief period early in the game, Casey had trailed all day after struggling to find the goals for most of the first half. The Demons notched up nine consecutive behinds (including a couple of posters) to the visitors' seven goals four before their star of the day Yilber “Bella’’ Zijai from the Sandringham Zebras via Noble Park posted the first from a free kick in front of the big sticks. Zijai had a great first up game both in the midfield and up forward and his three goals were crucial in the team's second half comeback. Ed Morris was his partner in crime in a midfield which eventually got on top in a second half in which the Hawks managed just one goal in a second half that provided a stark contrast to each team's first. Sam Frost returned from injury and showed great toe in defence and was rock solid there although he was clearly being held back in terms of game time. The Hawks were in fine fettle in the early going with their talls controlling the air and their strong midfield looking more polished and dominating proceedings. Josh Wagner was another player coming back from injury who worked his way into the game. Pat McKenna showed some good glimpses until injured. Dean Kent showed plenty of pace up forward in another encouraging performance. Tim Smith and Declan Keilty overcame quiet starts to kick three goals between them. Smith was often drawn too far under the ball when leading in the first half but was much better in the second while Keilty moved between the forward line and the ruck where he added mobility later in the game. Jake Spencer worked hard and eventually got on top against the Hawks' big man brigade which included former Melbourne Demon Jack Fitzpatrick who is no stranger to this ground. Tomas Bugg flashed in and out directing the traffic well and Jack Trengove held the midfield together before spending some time in defence later in the game. Bayley Fritsch who is highly thought of at the club but has had his injury woes kicked two goals. The home team missed an experienced pair in skipper Jack Hutchins and James Munro and relied very much on an inexperienced group of VFL listers who worked hard. Two players who were not on the official list were Aloysio Ferreira and Sandringham Dragons' Goy Lok. Both did well and the strongly built Lok booted a goal. It was certainly a game of two halves which mirrored each other in reverse. The Hillmen looked top heavy in the latter stages of the game and appeared to run out of steam as the new look Casey poured on the pressure to achieve what looked impossible in the game's first hour. Casey Demons 0.6.6 2.10.22 7.12.54 10.15.75 Box Hill Hawks 2.2.14 9.6.54 10.8.68 10.12.72 Goals Zijai 3 Fritsch T Smith 2 Bugg Keilty Lok Best Bugg Zijai Morris Kent Frost Spencer