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SEASON OVER by KC From Casey


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The Casey Demons made like desperados as they entered the last chance saloon for their VFL Elimination Final against the Footscray Bulldogs at Box Hill City Oval on Saturday. With most of their experienced Melbourne-listed players pulled from the game to ensure they were fit if called upon for a Thursday night’s AFL Qualifying Final, Casey was put into the position akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight and it didn't end well. The result was a 79-point massacre … season over.

Casey’s title defence has been flagging in recent months. The Demons were heading for a double chance as they entered the final rounds but single digit defeats in their last three matches forced them into the Wildcard Round and a six-day break before this match up against a fully rested Bulldogs who had 15 of their AFL-listers available. 

Casey’s cause was also hampered with the loss through injury of players who would otherwise have been eligible and the ACL damage to Luke Dunstan was a major blow, followed up by the player withdrawals that left the club with one AFL experienced MFC player and seven others who have yet to achieve that level.

In the place of elite level footballers, Casey was forced to rely on foot soldiers who have been battling away at lower levels including one who last played in the AFL in 2019. It truly was a case of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

In the event, the Demons battled it out early in the piece, absorbing the game’s early heat and with thanks to the indestructible Jimmy Munro, talented midfielder James Harmes and a handful of overworked contributors led by Roan Steele and Tom Freeman, they momentarily held a one-point lead in the shadows of quarter time. This would have pleased first year coach Taylor Whitford but suddenly, he was helpless as the floodgates opened with three Footscray goals in as many minutes at the end of the term and his team went into the first break with a 17 point deficit.

Having established superiority, the Bulldogs worked their opposition over in the next twenty minutes. The Demon cause was hit hard by the fact that many of their number were unable to get their hands on the football.

They were lucky that the Doggies were off target with six behinds in a row … until the goals inevitably started to flow. Three goals in three minutes saw them out to a 41-point lead before the battling Demons got their second wind.

Steele and Ryan Valentine goaled and the former added another to give him three for the game so far. At the 29 minute mark, it was incredibly almost back to game on but once again, a couple of late goals saw the Bulldogs back in total control with a 35-point lead at the main break.

After that, it was a case of too many Bulldog guns against too few Casey knives. They added six more unanswered goals until George Grey found the big sticks 26 minutes into the premiership quarter. Andy Moniz-Wakefield and Steele added two each in the final term as the Demons battled to avoid a humiliating 100 point defeat which they thankfully did well to avert.

For Melbourne fans, it was a game that left something of a poor taste but the explanation is to be found in the fact that the club has bigger fish to fry in the coming week. But that is no consolation to those who worked their butts off to bring about the dream of back to back premierships at Casey. 

Munro (32 possessions and 9 tackles) was easily his team’s best and Harmes (25 touches) the best of the motley Melbourne crew but they, along with skipper Mitch White couldn’t be expected to carry the heavy load of a cutthroat final. Roan Steele had a day out with a fantastic five goal contribution, Moniz-Wakefield had his moments as did Deakyn Smith and Freeman in defence but they were generally overwhelmed in the absence of some of the AFL-listers who were left out of the side. Will Verrell and Jed Adams tried hard but they and their teammates needed the support that was deprived to them.

The statistics don’t lie. Too many of the team made little or no contribution to the cause and some appeared completely unarmed in this gunfight. One can only hope that they can take something from the experience and return to fight again without damage caused to their careers.

CASEY DEMONS 2.4.16 5.4.34 6.9.45 10.9.69

FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS 5.3.33 10.9.69 16.11.107 22.16.148


CASEY DEMONS Steele 5 Moniz-Wakefield 2 Grey Munro Valentine

FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS Clarke Garcia Khamis Poulter 3 Craig-Peters Macpherson Sullivan West 2 Goater Sweet 


CASEY DEMONS Munro Steele Freeman Harmes Edwards Moniz-Wakefield

FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS Poulter Sullivan Sweet Garcia Crozier Khamis


Jed Adams 7 kicks 1 handball 8 disposals 5 marks 2 tackles 46 dream team points
Jack Bell 6 kicks 4 handballs 10 disposals 1 mark 6 hit outs 30 dream team points 
Heath Briggs 3 handballs 3 disposals 3 dream team points 
Matt Buntine 5 kicks 1 handballs 6 disposals 4 marks 26 dream team points
Tyler Edwards 12 kicks 6 handballs 18 disposals 5 marks 7 tackles 94 dream team points
Finn Emile-Brennan 3 kicks 1 handballs 4 disposals 1 marks 14 dream team points 
Kyah Farris-White 1 tackle 2 hit outs 6 dream team points 
Tom Freeman 22 kicks 1 handballs 23 disposals 7 marks 2 tackles 101 dream team points
George Grey 1 goals 8 kicks 3 handballs 11 disposals 4 marks 2 tackles 53 dream team points
James Harmes 1 behind 14 kicks 11 handballs 25 disposals 5 marks 4 tackles 90 dream team points
Matt Jefferson 1 kick 1 disposal 3 dream team points 
Tom McRae 7 kicks 3 handballs 10 disposals 2 marks 34 dream team points 
Andy Moniz-Wakefield 2 goals 1 behind 10 kicks 3 handballs 13 disposals 2 marks 2 tackles 57 dream team points 
Ned Moodie 10 kicks 5 handballs 15 disposals 5 marks 1 tackle 1 hit out 56 dream team points
James Munro 1 goal 16 kicks 16 handballs 32 disposals 5 marks 9 tackles 131 dream team points
Harvey Neocleous 6 kick 7 handballs 13 disposals 4 marks 1 tackles 42 dream team points
Deaykin Smith 12 kicks 3 handballs 15 disposals 8 marks 2 tackles 72 dream team points
Roan Steele 5 goals 9 kicks 5 handballs 14 disposals 3 marks 1 tackles 76 dream team points
Ziggy Toledo-Glasman 2 kicks 2 handballs 4 disposals 2 marks 13 dream team points  
Kye Turner 9 kicks 1 handball 10 disposals 5 marks 1 tackle 48 dream team points
Ryan Valentine 1 goal 1 kicks 1 handballs 2 disposals 1 marks 11 dream team points 
Will Verrall 1 behind 7 kicks 5 handballs 12 disposals 2 marks 2 tackles 12 hit outs 60 dream team points
Mitch White 2 behinds 15 kicks 2 handballs 17 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 72 dream team points 


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