I went to the Casey game yesterday as I wanted to have a look at the new blokes. Conditions were perfect although it was quite humid and the smoke haze and smell were quite strong.
It was a resounding win by Casey who completely outplayed Brisbane around the ball and of course were helped by Viney, Jones and Melksham who were just a class above. This is how I saw the Demons:-
Kade Chandler:- Didn't know he was on the ground in the first quarter as I was mainly watching the big three but I certainly noticed him in the second and subsequent quarters. He's small but he looks strong and quick, not lightening, but quick and he has good hands and a good kick. He took a good contested mark at one point and kicked a couple of goals in the second. He covered the ground well and tackled. He used the ball well with several passes inside forward 50 to teammates and was the most impressive of the new blokes from my point of view. He looks like he could become a good player.
Nathan Jones: Often when you see a senior player come back to a lower grade they seem a little at sea and don't dominate the way you'd expect. Jonesy didn't have that problem. From the first bounce he just kept getting the ball and managed to find space in tight and continually won the ball at stoppages. His skills were rusty as he missed several handballs and kicks I'd normally expect him to nail but it was a little like watching a year 12 boy play with the year 10's. He was just better than the rest. Seemed to run out the game well and I've no doubt he'll play round1.
Jack Viney: Was pretty dominant around the stoppages and on occasions used his strength really well just bashing through tackles at stoppages and clearing the ball. Played quite some time in the forward 50 but doesn't look a natural forward at all. He got plenty of the ball and used it well. He looked pretty spent towards the end and appeared to hurt himself when he attempted a spoil from behind and may have jarred his knee/leg on landing. I watched carefully as he went to the bench where a trainer/physio (I was on the other side of the ground) talked to him for a minute or two. There didn't appear to be any testing of the leg or any ice used and he walked reasonably comfortably after the game. Like all, I'm just hoping for the best.
James Jordan: Looked a class player and while he didn't get a heap of it when he did he used it well and looked confident in what he was doing. Played off half back and covered a lot of ground. He is a sure ball handler and a lovely kick and appeared to be in the right place at the right time. He's still quite slight but showed courage and a willingness to tackle. I liked what I saw.
Corey Wagner: Showed some speed and footy smarts at times and if he was a first year player you'd be quite excited but he's not and if he's going to make it needs to find something more. He certainly has a go and won his fair share in the forward 50.
Jake Melksham: Didn't really see him in the first quarter but started to play well in the second and was dominant in the last half. His contested ball work was great, he was strong in the air, he found space and his kicking was fantastic. He was close to BOG for me in the second half and will be a great addition with his kicking skills particularly.
Sam Frost: Just a game. Always looks a class above until he fumbles the simple ones or makes a rookie mistake. He did get better as the game wore on but not one of his better games because of the mistakes. Also there wasn't a lot to do down back for Casey.
Tom Sparrow: I was disappointed with his first half and can't say I really noticed him but sometimes when you're watching for the first time you don't notice players so maybe I'm being unfair. He started to get more involved in the third but I was disappointed with his disposal but as the game wore on he got better and better and displayed some really good clearance work and kicking skills. He's very much in the mould of an inside mid with a see ball get ball approach and was at the bottom of a lot of packs. I was much more confident at the end of the day than at half time with him as he definitely has some AFL attributes.
Cory Maynard: Not a dominant game but maybe was pushed out of his normal role with Viney and Jones doing a lot of the centre clearance work. Just a game really and not one to get excited about.
Toby Bedford: Now here is an interesting one. In one sense he's got it all. He's quick and nimble, he covers a lot of ground, he's a willing tackler and he works hard. Looks to be a sure ball handler and a good kick but reality about yesterday is he didn't get it enough to make a judgement really But every time he was around the ball or got it he caught your eye. I'm glad he's on the list but he's got to learn the best trick in footy - to get the ball.
Braydon Preuss: Dominant ruck in the first half and gave silver service to the mids while he was on. As you know, he injured himself in the first minute of the third quarter and wasn't seen again.
Austin Bradtke: Got Casey's first goal (I think) with a really good contested pack mark in the first few minutes of the game and followed up later in the quarter with another. He's got good hands and can kick it quite well and found a bit of it around the ground but I don't think he added to his two first quarter goals. He did quite a bit of rucking when Preuss went off and was monstered. Lots of time in the gym and a clear project player but looks a good long term prospect and although it's too early to call looks more a forward than a ruck.
Jost Wagner: Not a lot to do but what he did he did well. Very brave on occasions particularly in the air and was spoiling the ball very well to the boundary on many occasions. He's a good VFL player and performs regularly at this level from what I've seen but didn't do enough to push a case for senior selection.
Harry Petty: I've liked this kid from the first time I've seen him and again he looked very good yesterday. He reads the play really well, he's a very strong overhead mark and his kicking is very good. He got to the right place regularly and played a very good game. Towards the end of the game he had a couple of spells in the ruck which looked quite promising as he was okay with his tap work and agile and mobile enough around the ground to have an impact. Given our relative glut of KPD I wouldn't be surprised to see him trialled forward at some point. With his contested marking strength and kicking ability he could be a handful. I'm very confident this kid will be an excellent AFL footballer.
Oscar Baker: Clearly needed a run. Looked rusty and didn't get into the game as you'd have hoped but he's had a long spell on the sidelines. He loves to get involved and he loves to take people on, not always with the desired outcome. But he has a go, he's got very good pace and he clearly believes in himself. Having said that, it wasn't a good game by his standards from my point of view.