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SCORPIONS v MAGPIES

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A TOUCH OF HISTORY by Whispering Jack

It turns out that Saturday 4 April, 2015 has gone down as an historic day for the Melbourne Football Club. It not only won an opening round match for the first time in a decade, introducing a bevy of first gamers for the club with an attractive new style of play, but even those on its list who didn't make it to the big stage on this day, were a part of history.

Long before Eddie McGuire and his Collingwood Football Club occupied the Westpac Centre and the adjoining ground at Olympic Park, that place was known as the "Motordome"* and owned by another Collingwood identity in John Wren. Back in 1932, when Melbourne was known as the Fuschias, the team played three VFL matches there while the MCG was undergoing resurfacing works.

The team was well beaten in all three contests including a 61-point hiding to the ultimate premier Richmond, coached by FV "Checker" Hughes in the first game. Melbourne moved back to its spiritual home at the MCG and late in the same year, Hughes walked out in the Tigers and joined Melbourne, turned them into "Demons" and won four premierships in the club's first golden era of the late 30s and the 40s. He remained at the club to see another six flags mentoring the great Norm Smith in the club's second golden era in the 50s and 60s.

Yesterday, 16 current day Demons returned to the ground as part of their club's alignment, the Casey Scorpions to finally secure a victory after more than eight decades. They were Rohan Bail, Jack Fitzpatrick, Max Gawn, Jack Grimes, James Harmes ®, Max King ®, Oscar McDonald, Jordie McKenzie, Viv Michie, Cam Pedersen, Aidan Riley, Jake Spencer, Billy Stretch, Dean Terlich, Bernie Vince and Mitch White ®.

The conditions were perfect for a practice match. I noticed Demon coach Paul Roos on the boundary fence before the start of the game, there was a good crowd in attendance and the weather was great. It was a such a pity therefore that Eddie's mob couldn't provide team sheets for the crowd or a scoreboard for that matter and it was difficult at times to pick up the Demon players let alone the Casey lads so please forgive me for any inadequacies in this report.

The Magpies also fielded 13 of their AFL list and while the Demon contingent looked to have the greater experience, it was a solid workout and a close game for three quarters until the Casey team put on the afterburners and outran a tiring Magpie outfit.

After conceding an early goal amid an early run of skill errors, the Scorpions controlled most of the opening term with Jake Spencer killing it in the ruck after a dreadful miskick to start proceedings. He got better and better as the game went on and it was he, and the strength of midfielders Bernie Vince and Jordie McKenzie, who kept the team on top for most of the game, the exception being in the second quarter when the Magpie runners were on top. Once the Casey forwards started presenting themselves, the goals came and the team exerted its dominance over the opposition.

The team was a little on the top heavy side in the warm conditions with Max Gawn, Jack Fitzpatrick and Max King joining Spencer in the 200cm plus bracket but the height was probably an advantage as the Magpies wilted in the end.

The Casey Scorpions are definitely set for a better season in 2015. They went into this game without a number of their leading lights from previous weeks and brought in a mix of experience in assistant coach Shannon Byrnes and stalwart Will Petropoulos and youth. Small man Nathan Paraedes was particularly impressive. The style of play was much more open and attacking than last year and I have little doubt that they will be a much better team to watch than they were last year when they finished second last to the now defunct Bendigo Gold.

If the team stays healthy, they will most likely figure in the finals but whatever happens, they've already been a part of history.

Casey Scorpions 3.5.23 5.6.36 11.10.76 15.11.101

Collingwood VFL 2.1.13 6.4.40 10.6.66 10.9.69

Goals Gawn Harmes King Paredes Petropolous 2 Riley Spencer Michie Pedersen Riley Spencer

Best Michie Vince White Stretch Spencer Paredes

HOW THE DEMONS FARED

Rohan Bail - was in and out of the game and didn't have much impact.

Jack Fitzpatrick - played a reasonable game, mainly in defence where he is learning the caper.

Max Gawn - filled a number of big man roles but was best when up forward where he took some strong marks and kicked a couple of goals.

Jack Grimes - generally played his role in defence well although there were one or two skill errors that he needs to iron out of his game if he is to fight his way back into the Demons' side.

James Harmes ® - is really coming on as a footballer. Linked up well all day and kicked two goals for the day.

Max King ® - had a minor role for the day and is very much at the back of the queue when it comes to talls at the club but he did kick two goals, one a nice running goal in the third quarter. He's a development player at the club and, at this stage, it's possible given the players available that he might spend a part of the year in Casey's Development League team.

Oscar McDonald - showed some great composure in defence and should benefit from a year learning the trade at Casey where he will be under little pressure for promotion.

Jordie McKenzie - showed out with his strength and experience and got lots of the football. One of Casey's best.

Viv Michie - had a bright start but a bit patchy at times after that. Not as good a game as last week.

Cam Pedersen - kicked a goal in the second quarter but lacked a bit of zip.

Aidan Riley - hard over the ball and some strong tackling but struggled at times to compete with the pace of the Magpies.

Jake Spencer - dominated the ruck and, despite the occasional Spencil glitch, he was very good on the day. He will provide ideal cover for Mark Jamar if and when required.

Billy Stretch - real classy with outside run and good skills. I expect him to get a game in the seniors by the halfway mark of the season and eventually to be a long term player at the club.

Dean Terlich - first game up in the preseason and was working off the cobwebs.

Bernie Vince - really classy in the midfield and did enough to earn a call up for next week's game with the Demons in Canberra.

Mitch White ® - a strong lad with a beautiful left foot kick. Might take time to develop but looks a handy acquisition. I heard Paul Roos saying in an interview that one of the considerations when recruiting is to look at the direction in which the game is going. I think White is somewhere in that direction.

THE DEMONS WHO DIDN'T QUITE FARE

Chris Dawes - suspended. I was told by a couple of people that Dawes wanted to play but did not get the necessary permission.

Jayden Hunt - the speedster is still a month off but doing well in rehab after back problems ended his 2014 season.

Matt Jones - sat out the weekend with emergency duty for the Demons.

Alex Neal-Bullen - the midfield extractor from Glenelg is well into his recovery from a knee injury. Expect him back in a few weeks.

Christian Petracca - on the long term injury list with an ACL.

Jack Trengove - indefinite out with foot injury but reported to be coming along well.

COMING UP

Saturday 11th April - Casey Scorpions v Werribee at Casey Fields at 2.00pm (Development League at 11.00am)

* For more on the Motordome, see this article in Demon Wiki

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