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THE GRAND PLAN by KC from Casey

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The Casey Demons braved a tough afternoon in front of a hostile crowd and in mainly inclement weather to win a hard fought battle by 8 points against Essendon VFL at Stannards Stadium, Port Melbourne on Saturday to advance to their second grand final in three years.  

Over the course of the afternoon, players and spectators alike experienced sunshine, gloomy overcast skies, gusty winds and pouring rain; conditions that suited the Demons as their hard-bodied experienced relished the intensity of finals pressure.  

Casey went into the game with two changes that added to the team’s depth - experienced campaigners Bernie Vince (back from an AC joint issue) and Jay Kennedy Harris gave them a list of 12 current AFL players. They again left out Mitch King and went with an undersized ruck combination that served them well given the conditions despite being well beaten on the day in tap out numbers.  

The Demons opened strongly with Jeff Garlett’s mark and goal against the wind but the Bombers fought back as the lead seesawed for much of the opening term and Casey held the narrowest of leads at quarter time. 

The Bombers nudged in front immediately after the break but the Dees gained the ascendency to lead by 11 points after Mitch Gent’s goal at the 20 minute mark of the second term. The margin would have been greater but for poor kicking for goal.   

It was at that point that Essendon fought its way back into the game with two goals against the wind to allow them to go into the sheds at the half time break with the teams locked together at 39 points each. On the other side of the main break, with the rain pouring, it was the Bombers who took advantage of the wet weather conditions. They were quicker to the fall of the ball and manufactured two goals, one off the ground in the first minute and dominated the first 20 minutes of the term until Cam Pedersen stepped to turn the tide in as he has often done this season.  

With his team trailing by 13 points, having been led to the ball and outplayed on both sides of half time, Pedersen hauled in a huge mark in front and converted. Moments later, Garlett screwed one through over his shoulder and suddenly, it was game on again. A lapse at a boundary throw in gave the unattended Bomber ruckman a free shot a goal but that was cancelled out when Pedersen was freed in front of goal after an Essendon defender’s brain fade in running through a deliberate point. The margin was a solitary point in favour of the Bombers at the final break.  

With the wind at their backs, it was the experienced Demons who led the team home with their persistence and strong tackling. 

First it was Jimmy Munro who kicked truly just 37 seconds into the final term to restore the lead which Casey held onto for the remainder of the game. They pushed forward time after time, inspired by veteran Bernie Vince who finished with 22 possessions, 13 of them contested. Pedersen was indefatigable In the ruck against taller opponents and Munro, with  21 tackles to match his disposal count, was simply magnificent in the hard slog. Tom Bugg and Jay Kennedy Harris were strong while Joel Smith defended stoutly and his goal saving smother when the Bombers threatened was a highlight. The Wagner brothers, Corey and Josh belied their northern state origins and were important players and handled the ball well in the greasy conditions.

Garlett booted his third as time on ticked by to give his team a game high lead of 14 points before a late Bomber goal saw the siren sound moments later with Casey home by a margin of eight points.   

Peter Jackson VFL Coach of the Year, Jade Rawlings worked hard to vindicate the decision of the selection committee and lead his charges into the VFL grand final next Sunday at Etihad Stadium. In his time as a player and coach, he has never experienced premiership success but if things go according to plan, that will all change in seven day’s time.  

Peter Jackson VFL 2018  

Casey Demons 3.4  5.9  8.10.58 10.13.73  

Essendon VFL 3.3  6.3.39 9.5.59 10.5.65  

Goals  

Casey Demons Garlett 3 Pedersen 2 Gent  Lefau Munro Vince C Wagner   

Essendon VFL Lazzaro 2 Clarke Draper Heppell Hind Hocking Merrett  Stewart Younan     

Best  
  
Casey Demons
C Wagner Munro Kennedy Harris Vince Bugg Garlett  

Essendon VFL Clarke Ridley Lazzaro Mutch Long Heppell  

Statistics    

Tomas Bugg 14 kicks 8 handballs 22 disposals 2 marks 9 tackles 98 dream team points
William Collis 3 kicks 1 handball 4 disposals 1 mark 5 tackles 28 dream team points
Tom Freeman 5 kicks 1 handball 6 disposals 2 marks 5 tackles 25 dream team points
Jeffrey Garlett 3 goals 8 kicks 3 handballs 11 disposals 3 marks 1 tackles 62 dream team points
Mitch Gent 1 goal 1 behind 10 kicks 3 handballs 13 disposals 3 marks 1 tackle 50 dream team points
Jayden Hunt 12 kicks 2 handballs 14 disposals 2 marks 10 tackles 83 dream team points
Jack Hutchins 2 tackles 9 dream team points
Dion Johnstone 4 kick s 2 handballs 6 disposals 5  tackles 33 dream team points
Declan Keilty 3 kicks 1 handball 4 disposals 2 tackles 19 dream team points
Jay Kennedy Harris 1 behind 10 kicks 10 handballs 20 disposals 1 mark 11 tackles 94 dream team points
Mykelti Lefau 1 goal 3 kicks 2 handballs 5 disposals 2 marks 6 tackles 9 hit outs 58 dream team points
Jay Lockhart 2 behinds 9 kicks 7 handballs 16 disposals 1 mark 6 tackles 64 dream team points
Cory Machaya 1 behind 4 kicks 7 handballs 11 disposals 1 mark 4 tackles 48 dream team points
James Munro 1 goal 3 behinds 15 kicks 6 handballs 21 disposals 21 tackles 151 dream team points
Cameron Pedersen 2 goals 6 kicks 5 handballs 11 disposals 5 marks 10 tackles 31 hit outs 121 dream team points
Harry Petty 7 kicks 7 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 33 dream team points
Joel Smith 6 kicks 6 disposals 4 marks 8 tackles 62 dream team points
Tim Smith 2 behinds 8 kicks 8 handballs 16 disposals 3 marks 4 tackles 8 hit outs 72 dream team points
Cory Stockdale 4 kicks 1 handball 5 disposals 2 marks 1 tackle 21 dream team points
Bernie Vince 1 goals 15 kicks 7 handballs 22 disposals 2 marks 2 tackles 76 dream team points
Corey Wagner 1 goals 14 kicks 6 handballs 20 disposals 12 tackles 105 dream team points
Josh Wagner 18 kicks 5 handballs 23 disposals 4 marks 5 tackles 92 dream team points
Mitch White 10 kicks 2 handballs 12 disposals 2 marks 4 tackles 54 dream team points 

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