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FIELD OF DREAMS by KC from Casey


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The sunny skies and still, clear conditions that greeted fans on their arrival created a dreamlike Easter carnival atmosphere for Casey’s game against Footscray at Casey Fields. After their dreams of a flying start to the new season were shattered a week earlier with a disappointing error-riddled opening, the home supporters were given much hope with an improved performance from their team. 

They were treated with a high standard game of VFL football played in perfect conditions. It was Footscray’s steadiness under pressure and a huge advantage in experience that saw them run out victorious by 14 points, but what the fans saw in the Casey performance was not only improvement but also, a plethora of encouraging signs for the future.

Both sides came well out of the blocks early and traded goals until Casey got on top with three quick goals to hold an 18 point lead in mid-term. The Casey rucks and midfielders opened strongly giving the forwards room to move and the goals came. In defence, Jed Adams was a key in his defensive role but when he went off injured, the strong marking Rory Lobb booted two goals and Bianco another to even the scores with the goals deep into time on.

After the break, Casey dominated the first half of the second quarter but apart from an easy initial goal to Schache, his third, the Demons simply could not hit targets. Moved back to full forward this week, Matt Jefferson had a purple patch taking some strong marks but his good work was undone with wayward kicking for goal. During this period, he hit the post twice while two other shots failed to score at all. 

As often happens, the Bulldogs made them pay  for their errant kicking at goal scoring four of the next five goals (with Jefferson finally hitting the target for the first time) to go into the sheds at half time with an 8 point lead. 

The Dogs’ greater accuracy in the third quarter when the Demons kicked only six behinds, saw them stretch the lead to 19 points and while Casey finally got their kicking boots on in the final term, Footscray always had the answers and held on to record a well-deserved 14 point victory. 

The visitors were loaded with experience at the highest level including two 150 plus AFL games players Rory Lobb (5 goals) and Melbourne premiership player James Harmes (with a game high 33 disposals), 100 gamer Alex Keath and a bevy of other names like Garcia, Jones, McNeil, O’Donnell, Scott and Spicer. 

By way of contrast, Casey’s only Melbourne listers with experience at AFL level were Josh Schache with 76 games across three clubs and Brisbane recruit Tom Fullarton with 19 games at the Lions. Both had good games with Schache important with four goals but in the heat of battle, the experience differential was significant, especially after Bailey Laurie and Adam Tomlinson were withdrawn from the side and flew to Adelaide to be with the Melbourne team. 

One of the main functions of this tier of football is to provide a good platform for an AFL club’s youth and another, to give local communities access to a high standard of sport. In this regard, the game showcased the potential at Casey for the fulfillment of many future dreams.

Despite Jefferson’s missed goalkicking opportunities (he finished with 2.3 but his accuracy in the past has been sound), the game proved to be a massive confidence booster for him in terms of the way he clunked his seven marks and also, for his ground level play. His duel with fellow uncapped 2022 first round draftee Jedd Busslinger was a ripper and one can imagine similar contests in the future on a higher stage. 

Also impressive from that class of 2022 were key defender Jed Adams who played his best game yet at Casey, finishing with 11 disposals, rookie ruckman Will Verrall’s 25 hit outs, 19 possessions and two goals and late rookie pick Oliver Sestan (18 disposals, six tackles and a goal) whose improvement over summer has been remarkable. He crashed through packs and intimated the opposition at times in a strong display. 

Andy Moniz-Wakefield was good again with 23 disposals as he pushes hard for senior selection as he awaits an opening to present itself at Melbourne.

Adding to the excitement was the form of Melbourne’s 2023 first-round draftee Koltyn Tholstrup and father/son pick Kynan Brown. The Kolt was again super-impressive with his strength and maturity and the classy way he gathered his 19 touches and six tackles, setting up numerous forward opportunities. The club will have to find a way to include him in its AFL plans soon. Brown was busy again and finished with 16 disposals.

Much has been written about the departure of a number of Casey regulars at the end of last season. Some, like heart and soul player and hard tackler Jimmy Munro are irreplaceable but the club’s recruitment has, on this game’s evidence, been very strong. Campbell Husthwaite was again prolific in the middle, Leo Connolly, a revelation off half back (both had 24 disposals) and Mitch Szybkowski was excellent, particularly early in the game. Skipper Mitch White plugged away to be his team’s best for the day while Tyler Edwards also picked up plenty of the football.

The end result was most satisfying for the fans who came to support the team over the Easter holiday. A win is not far away and could come next Saturday week against Port Melbourne. Such an outcome might not be the stuff of dreams but the promise of good times is definitely on the horizon for the Melbourne/Casey alliance.

CASEY DEMONS 6.2.38 8.7.55 8.13.61 12.13.85

FOOTSCRAY 6.2.38 10.3.63 12.8.80 15 9.99

GOALS 

CASEY DEMONS Schache 4 Jefferson Verrall 2 Connolly Sestan Steele White

FOOTSCRAY Lobb 5 Clarke Jones Spicer 2 Benendo Bianco Garcia Harmes

BEST

CASEY DEMONS White Verrall Edwards Sestan Hustwaite Tholstrop

FOOTSCRAY Harmes Garcia Lobb Bianco Freijah Hunt

Statistics  

Jed Adams 10 kicks 1 handballs 11 disposals 4 marks 1 tackle 46 dream team points
Kynan Brown 1 behind 6 kicks 10 handballs 16 disposals 5 marks 1 tackle 58 dream team points
Leo Connolly 1 goal 1 behind 19 kicks 5 handballs 24 disposals 4 marks 80 dream team points
Paddy Cross 5 kicks 7 handballs 12 disposals 3 marks 1 tackle 42 dream team points
Tyler Edwards 1 behind 16 kicks 5 handballs 21 disposals 10 marks 2 tackles 95 dream team points
Kyah Farris-White 1 kick 1 disposal 3 dream team points
Tom Freeman 5 kicks 1 handballs 6 disposals 3 marks 2 tackles 34 dream team points
Tom Fullarton 1 behind 10 kicks 8 handballs 18 disposals 4 marks 1 tackle 6 hitouts 70 dream team points
Max Gregory 5 kicks 8 handballs 13 disposals 3 marks 3 tackles 53 dream team points
Campbell Husthwaite 11 kicks 13 handballs 24 disposals 4 marks 5 tackles 94 dream team points
Matt Jefferson 2 goals 3 behinds 9 kicks 9 disposals 7 marks 5 tackles 78 dream team points
Andy Moniz-Wakefield 17 kicks 6 handballs 23 disposals 5 marks 75 dream team points
Ned Moodie 6 kicks 6 handballs 12 disposals 4 marks 2 tackles 51 dream team points
Charlie Peters 2 kicks 2 handballs 4 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 17 dream team points
Josh Schache 4 goals 6 kicks 5 handballs 11 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 74 dream team points
Ollie Sestan 1 goal 2 behinds 10 kicks 8 handballs 18 disposals 5 marks 6 tackles 94 dream team points
Tom Sheridan 2 kicks 2 handballs 4 disposals 1 mark 10 dream team points
Roan Steele 1 goal 1 behind 7 kicks 6 handballs 13 disposals 2 marks 46 dream team points
Mitch Szybkowski 10 kicks 7 handballs 17 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 52 dream team points
Koltyn Tholstrup 8 kicks 11 handballs 19 disposals 6 marks 6 tackles 88 dream team points
Ziggy Toledo 4 kicks 2 handballs 6 disposals 3 marks 1 tackle 29 dream team points
Will Verrall 2 goals 7 kicks 12 handballs 19 disposals 4 marks 1 tackle 25 hitouts 95 dream team points
Mitch White 1 goal 1 behind 21 kicks 7 handballs  28 disposals 7 marks 3 tackles 118 dream team points

CaseyRd022024.png

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