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The opening stanza at North Port Oval was as bizarre a start to a game of football as you will ever see. For the second week in a row, the Casey Demons were overwhelmed by a fast-starting opponent away from home, and for the second week in a row, the opposition blew it with atrocious kicking for goal. Last week, the Dolphins paid dearly and lost by over 100 points. This time Port Melbourne hit the post five times in the first quarter, lost the lead before half time and broke away again in the third quarter before their fast finishing visitors took control with five goals to two in the last. The game opened with the ground bathed in sunshine and a zephyr of a breeze whistling across the ground. The Borough dominated but were erratic in front of goal, at one stage, having scored only one goal from ten shots. Those posters were expensive considering that at the 25 minute mark, the Demons were scoreless while Port Melbourne had amassed 2.9.21 - eleven scoring shots to nil. It was at precisely this juncture that Harley Balic ran into an open goal and Port’s punishment began. Jay Kennedy Harris scored another and when the siren sounded, the home side only had a lead of eight points to show for its hard work. When the teams changed ends, the Casey charge continued and ironically, it was deadly accurate in front of the goals. Both sides had seven shots for the term - the Demons split the middle six times, the Borough twice. At one stage the lead was out to 19 points but a late goal to Port saw the half time score at 8.2.50 to 4.14.38. Port was if nothing else persistent, despite the loss to injury of captain Jordan Lisle and Dylan Van Unen, both out of the game by the main break. They came out firing and, once again held sway to quickly make up the deficit and zoom ahead. Twenty minutes into the second half, it was all Port - the Borough had added 4.3 to a single point to lead 8.17.65 to 8.3.51. Casey’s class turned the game around for a second time. Players like Billy Stretch and Dom Tyson who had been working hard in the midfield for most of the game, came to the fore and together with the speed of youngster Oskar Baker, heavy pressure applied to the Borough backline caused another momentum change. Tyson goaled and Kennedy Harris followed with another and the Demons trailed by a solitary point at the last change. Much of the Borough’s ascendency for the first three quarters was due to its ruck dominance and the lack of marking power on the Demons’ forward line. Casey coach Jade Rawlings moved Declan Keilty, who had been playing well down back, into attack and the move immediately paid dividends. After Balic kicked his second to put Casey back in front, Keilty swooped to kick another and the Demons were suddenly 10 points up and never to be headed for the match although it must be said that Port never gave up. Kennedy Harris, Tom Bugg and Balic all added goals to their rallies and, while the 15 point victory was flattering in light of the awful kicking of their hosts, it was nevertheless a hard earned victory. For the second week in a row, the defence deserved praise for its courage under fire and for applying pressure when the opposition was pumping the ball forward with regularity. Keilty, Sam Frost and Harry Petty were outstanding in their roles as tall defenders with the latter’s name to be marked down for the future. The Wagner brothers provided great run down back as well. Stretch wasa prolific ball winner all day and had 28 touches to deservedly be named best player for the second time in three matches. Baker continues to improve and is a likely AFL debutant for later in the season while Tyson was a class above at this level (35 disposals, 2 goals). Jay Lockhart was solid again and Mitch Lewis confirmed the selectors’ faith in him but Mitch White who had been solid, seemed to badly injure his shoulder late in the day. The quirky VFL fixture sees the Demons away from home for the third week in a row. They visit Williamstown in what is always a tough trip to make and next Sunday’s match up promises to be no different. PETER JACKSON VFL 2018 Casey Demons 2.1.13 8.2.50 10.5.65 15.8.98 Port Melbourne 2.9.21 4.14.38 8.18.66 10.23.83 Goals Casey Demons Balic 3 Bugg Kennedy Harris Tyson 2 Garlett Keilty Munro Quigley J Smith C Wagner Port Melbourne Conway O'Sullivan 2 Carr Haretuku Lange Lisle Pearson Wooffindin Best Casey Demons Stretch Lewis C Wagner Petty Frost Keilty Port Melbourne Conway Dickson O'Sullivan Beddison Lange Carr Statistics Oskar Baker 1 behind 10 kicks 5 handballs 15 disposals 4 marks 1 tackles 58 dream team points Harley Balic 3 goals 9 kicks 9 handballs 18 disposals 7 marks 81 dream team points Tomas Bugg 2 goals kicks handballs disposals marks tackles dream team points Lachlan Filipovic 2 kicks 8 handballs 10 disposals 2 marks 3 tackles 26 hit outs 57 dream team points Sam Frost 9 kicks 7 handballs 16 disposals 12 marks 77 dream team points Jeff Garlett 1 goal 1 behind 9 kicks 7 handballs 16 disposals 2 marks 1 tackles 59 dream team points Dion Johnstone 6 kicks 2 handballs 8 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 41 dream team points Declan Keilty 1 goal 7 kicks 14 handballs 21 disposals 9 marks 1 tackles 86 dream team points Jay Kennedy Harris 2 goals 1 behind 14 kicks 11 handballs 25 disposals 5 marks 5 tackles 113 dream team points Mitchell King 3 kicks 5 handballs 8 disposals 2 marks 12 hit outs 32 dream team points Mitchel Lewis 11 kicks 9 handballs 20 disposals 4 marks 2 tackles 73 dream team points Jay Lockhart 10 kicks 5 handballs 15 disposals 4 marks 43 dream team points Goy Lok 1 behind 2 kicks 3 handballs 5 disposals 1 mark 1 tackles 17 dream team points James Munro 1 goal 1 behind kicks handballs disposals marks tackles dream team points Harrison Petty 12 kicks 3 handballs 15 disposals 11 marks 3 tackles 83 dream team points Aidan Quigley 1 goal 2 kicks 4 handballs 6 disposals 1 mark 2 tackles 39 dream team points Angus Scott 1 behind 13 kicks 6 handballs 19 disposals 7 marks 3 tackles 86 dream team points Joel Smith 1 goal 4 kicks 7 handballs 11 disposals 4 marks 1 tackles 48 dream team points Billy Stretch 18 kicks 10 handballs 28 disposals 5 marks 10 tackles 129 dream team points Dom Tyson 2 goals 18 kicks 17 handballs 35 disposals 10 marks 10 tackles 161 dream team points Corey Wagner 1 goal 1 behind 15 kicks 9 handballs 24 disposals 4 marks 6 tackles 104 dream team points Josh Wagner 15 kicks 7 handballs 22 disposals 4 marks 4 tackles 87 dream team points Mitchell White 6 kicks 1 handballs 7 disposals 4 marks 2 tackles 6 hit outs 43 dream team points
There is not much that can be said about the capitulation of the Casey Demons against Port Melbourne at North Port Oval. The Borough lost to the Demons six weeks ago by 43 points in a game that saw Casey begin the five-match winning streak that catapulted the team into premiership contention and a top eight position. This week's turnaround was emphatic as Port Melbourne made the visitors look embarrassingly weak with its foot on their throats from the word go as it booted the first four goals of the match against the wind to secure a handy quarter time lead. Then, from the mid point of the second quarter and we into the third, they produced an onslaught of nine unanswered goals and ran away to win by 65 points. The turnaround was an outstanding 108 points from their Round 6 encounter. The lack of any pressure acts, the drop in enthusiasm and endeavour and the falling away in skills was dramatic . The Demons had 11 AFL listed players on the ground (Liam Hulett was selected for the game but was a last minute inclusion in the Development League team) and given the injuries and a lilkely suspension from the previous night's AFL clash one would have expected a lot more. Instead, the Casey fans who had witnesses their recent dominant performances were puzzled and searching for answers to explain the sudden form slump. It looked as if the entire side was undergoing a Van Gogh moment - a complete meltdown complete with self-mutilation. Yes, it was that bad. It was only later that it emerged that four members of the team has played up and broken team rules and gone drinking after the Box Hill game (ironical because that part of town was once known as an alcohol free zone). Three of the players in question had all been on the cusp of selection for Melbourne - a very important consideration in view of the need for freshness after three six day breaks. However, the players, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Ben Kennedy, Dean Kent and Jake Spencer were all told they would not be picked on Friday's starry night against the Swans. However, they did play in the VFL game leaving one to wonder what impact the whole sad and sorry saga had on both their Demons' AFL and VFL teammates. There is no excuse for the conduct and the losses but it couldn't have come at a worse time for Melbourne and Casey. In the event, the three K's played well enough, while Spencer was subdued and beaten by a rookie ruckman. Two former basketballers and Category B rookies were Casey's best. Corey Maynard continues to impress in the Demon midfield and Joel Smith was strong after a long lay off with injury. Peter Jackson VFL 2017 Casey Demons 1.2.8 2.4.16 4.8.32 5.7.37 Port Melbourne 4.0.24 9.4.58 14.5.89 16.9.105 Goals Casey Demons Fritsch Giobbi Kennedy-Harris Kent Morris Port Melbourne Conway 4 Nahas 3 Cain Searle 2 Arnot Lisle Pearson Pinwill Sandilands Best Casey Demons Maynard Smith Kennedy-Harris Kent Kennedy Trengove Port Melbourne Carey Viojo-Rainbow Cook Conway Templeton Clarke Statistics Dion Johnstone 5 kicks 10 handballs 15 disposals 6 tackles 56 dream team points Declan Keilty 6 kicks 4 handballs 10 disposals 4 tackles 41 dream team points Jay Kennedy-Harris 1 goal 15 kicks 10 handballs 25 disposals 2 marks 8 tackles 107 dream team points Ben Kennedy 1 behind 11 kicks 19 handballs 30 disposals 12 tackles 119 dream team points Dean Kent 1 goals 1 behind 18 kicks 9 handballs 27 disposals 4 marks 4 tackles 104 dream team points Mitch King 1 behind 8 kicks 2 handballs 10 disposals 2 marks 1 tackles 16 hit outs 50 dream team points Corey Maynard 1 behind 12 kicks 20 handballs 32 disposals 4 marks 16 tackles 145 dream team points Joel Smith 9 kicks 12 handballs 21 disposals 8 marks 3 tackles 83 dream team points Jake Spencer 1 behind 2 kicks 6 handballs 8 disposals 1 marks 6 tackles 37 hit outs 83 dream team points Jack Trengove 7 kicks 13 handballs 20 disposals 4 marks 1 tackles 60 dream team points Sam Weideman 2 behinds 4 kicks 11 handballs 15 disposals 3 marks 4 tackles 14 hit outs 75 dream team points In the Development League game, Port Melbourne overpowered Casey by 14 points. Nathan Gardiner continued his strong goal kicking vein of goal kicking form with five goals. Perry Lewis-Smith was best on ground. AFL Vic Development League 2017 Casey Demons 5.1.31 7.1.43 11.3.69 12.5.77 Port Melbourne 1.2.8 7.5.47 9.6.60 13.13.91 Goals Casey Demons Gardiner 5 Vander Haar 2 Armour Baker Ferreira Foote Hillard Port Melbourne Hogan 3 Golby Kelso Renooy 2 De Soysa Hayes Houghton Treverton Best Casey Demons Lewis-Smith Lovett Machaya Hillard Gains Baker Port Melbourne Golby Treverton Hooper Wenn Jaffer-Williams Atkins