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A PLACE IN THE SPRINGTIME SUN by KC from Casey

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A dominant second half by the Casey Scorpions against a desperate Coburg at Pirhana Park has secured them a place in the Peter Jackson VFL finals series. The victory came after the team had a bright opening but squandered a four goal first quarter lead to trail by 20 points at the main break.

The game demanded a backs to the wall performance and the team produced just that in the final two quarters. Four weeks ago Casey was sitting pretty with prospects of finishing in the top four but injuries and reversals of form had left them in a precarious position.

Skipper Evan Panozza and beanpole Jack Fitzpatrick had been the glue that kept the team's defence together for most of the year but were now missing as were leading goal kickers Max King and Jayden Hunt who had been instrumental in the mid season surge. The team was down to just ten Demon listed players including Dean Kent who was lacking match fitness after he badly injured his hamstring in the Anzac Eve game v Richmond and playing ½ a game in the development league four weeks earlier. He was used sparingly in the hope that he can add to the team's playing stocks in the finals and did well to get 11 touches but it was always going to be a risk playing him in such a vital match.

As it happened, the Scorps were able to make do with using twin tower ruckmen in Jake Spencer and Mark Jamar to kick goals while resting up forward. They were simply too tall and too strong for the Coburg defence and between them, they booted seven goals. Key forward Tim Smith made a timely return after missing most of the last half of the season. He had a purple patch in the first quarter booting three goals and then bobbed up with another in the third when the comeback was on.

It was still a very inexperienced team with three players Jackson Anderson, Sean Corrigan and Matthew Rennie coming in for the first time this year. Between them they have played a handful of senior games.

Perhaps it was the youth and inexperience or perhaps it was the flatness of the Demon-listed players after a tough campaign but the team simply stopped running in the second quarter and all the momentum went the way of the enthusiastic Lions who knew they had to win this and next week's final round game to displace the visitors from the finals but it was all one way traffic as they piled on six goals six behinds to two points to push the Scorpions to the brink of the abyss.

However, it must have been something Justin Plapp said because a different breed of Scorpion came out of the sheds at half time. It was Spencer's quarter with the opening goal and another vital one in a six goal to two spree that had them in from with a goal to Rennie on the siren. The experience of veteran midfielders in McKenzie and Jones and the steadiness of Dean Terlich were invaluable in turning the tide in Casey's favour.

Then it was the turn of another youngster in the form of the team's lucky charm 23rd player, Tom Papley, who was handy in a couple of wins early last month in the middle of the team's mid season winning streak that put it in finals contention in the first place. His goal to open the final stanza was critical and was followed by two each to the big blokes and it was all over - mission accomplished and the Scorpions were headed towards the finals and a place in the springtime sun.

Peter Jackson VFL

Casey Scorpions 6.1.37 6.3.39 12.6.78 17.9.111

Coburg Lions 3.0.18 9.6.60 11.8.74 14.10.94

Goals

Casey Scorpions Smith Spencer 4 Jamar 3 Jones McKenzie Papley Rennie Riley Terlich

Coburg Lions Johns 3 Hill MacDonald Younan 2 Carnell Cauchi Clifton Thomas Venditti

Best

Casey Scorpions Smith McKenzie Spencer Riley Jones Jamar

Coburg Lions Johns Thomas Clifton Carnell Venditti Christensen

Statistics

Mark Jamar 3 goals 1 behind 13 disposals 11 kicks 2 handballs 6 marks 1 tackle 34 hit outs 102 dream team points

Matt Jones 1 goal 30 disposals 13 kicks 17 handballs 5 marks 3 tackles 100 dream team points

Jay Kennedy-Harris 9 disposals 5 kicks 4 handballs 2 marks 6 tackles 53 dream team points

Dean Kent 1 behind 11 disposals 8 kicks 3 handballs 1 mark 2 tackles 40 dream team points

Oscar McDonald 1 behind 11 disposals 4 kicks 7 handballs 3 marks 1 tackle 40 dream team points

Jordie McKenzie 1 goal 12 disposals 4 kicks 8 handballs 1 mark 2 tackles 45 dream team points

Aidan Riley 1 goal 24 disposals 6 kicks 18 handballs 2 mark 10 tackles 118 dream team points

Jake Spencer 4 goals 1 behind 19 disposals 12 kicks 7 handballs 12 marks 5 tackles 30 hit outs 157 dream team points

Dean Terlich 1 goal disposals 17 kicks 14 handballs 10 marks 1 tackle 119 dream team points

Mitch White 15 disposals 11 kicks 4 handballs 4 marks 53 dream team points

The development league team was overwhelmed for the third time this year by its bogey team, Coburg.

2015 Peter Jackson VFL

Casey Scorpions 3.2.20 5.3.33 7.7.49 12.10.82

Coburg Lions 3.6.24 8.10.58 15.13.103 19.16.130

Goals

Casey Scorpions Wyatt 3 McDonald Scott 2 Gawley Hillard Moncrieff Paredes Wilson

Coburg Lions Madden 4 Cooper Kalanj 3 Hemala Schraven 2 Bailey Featherstone Hunt Miles Rogers

Best

Casey Scorpions Wyatt McDonald Rutherford Walmsley Scott Hillard

Coburg Lions Sturgess Cooper Blair Madden Rogers Hunt

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