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  1. 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 GOALS 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 BEST CASEY DEMONS Munro Steele Freeman Harmes Edwards Moniz-Wakefield FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS Poulter Sullivan Sweet Garcia Crozier Khamis Statistics 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
  2. The Casey Demons unfurled their 2022 premiership flag early on Saturday afternoon at Casey Fields and commenced their campaign to earn the honour of back to back champions in 2023. They did so emphatically beating Footscray by 37 points in a contest they dominated throughout and, but for some wayward kicking for goal early in the piece, they could have determined the issue a lot earlier in the day than during the final term when the Dogs finally hit the wall. The Demons were forced to make changes to the selected side with Jake Melksham and Adam Tomlinson in Brisbane and Daniel Turner also out. Trent Burgoyne, Max Gregory and Miles Shepherd came into the side to replace them leaving 14 AFL listed players in the side. Last week against the same club, Casey was listless and struggled to score. This time, the game was played in near perfect conditions with just a slight breeze but the Demons were struggling to find the middle of the big sticks. James Jordon and Luke Dunstan held sway in the clearance battles but the forwards were missing some easy shots at goal, as reflected in the quarter time score line. The trend continued early in the second term with a couple of behinds added to the score before Josh Schache, Jordon and Dunstan found the goals opening up a 26-point lead. A late Bulldog revival narrowed the margin back to 8 points at half time. Michael Hibberd was in everything during the second term, Bailey Laurie was coming into his own and Josh Schache was putting his hand up for the likely vacancy caused by the injury to Max Gawn at Melbourne. There were some hints of future forward line strength through Jacob van Rooyen and newcomers Matt Jefferson and Oliver Sestan. Jefferson was winded and came off temporarily after taking a great mark. The Doggies came hard early in the second half but Casey’s class came to the fore and a flurry of goals to the home team including two in quick succession to Sestan saw them off to a handy three quarter time lead which was stretched to 37 by the final siren. Sestan finished with three goals while Schache and Andy Moniz-Wakefield scored two each in their team’s impressive start to the season. Hibberd was the star with 36 disposals and 10 marks. Other strong performers were Dunstan with 29 disposals, seven clearances and a goal, Laurie with 27 possessions and four tackles and Jordon (25 touches, 2 goals). Schache took a knock to the head and was off after the final break and if cleared of concussion, is a good chance for Melbourne against Sydney on Sunday. Note however, that Schache did not take the ruckwork in this game. Jacob van Rooyen continues to promise to become a potential point of difference at AFL level with his enthusiasm, leap and versatility. He finished with 19 disposals, 11 marks, six hitouts and a goal and surely must get his chance soon? James Munro was again a tower of strength amassing 16 tackles while Max Gregory made an excellent 20 touch debut in these ranks. Next week, the Demons play host to the strong Sydney side with an early start at 11:00am on Sunday. CASEY DEMONS 1.7.13 4.10.34 10.11.71 13.16.94 FOOTSCRAY VFL 1.1.7 4.2.26 7.5.47 8.9.57 GOALS CASEY DEMONS Sestan 3 Jordon Moniz-Wakefield Schache 2 Dunstan Grey J Smith van Rooyen FOOTSCRAY VFL Goater Hannan 2 Clarke Johannisen Khamis McPherson BEST CASEY DEMONS Hibberd Jordon Dunstan van Rooyen Laurie Munro FOOTSCRAY VFL Sullivan McPherson Khamis Craig-Peters Garner Hannan Statistics Jack Bell 7 kicks 4 handballs 11 disposals 4 marks 2 tackles 22 hit outs 67 dream team points Jed Adams 6 kicks 1 handball 7 disposals 4 marks 1 tackle 33 dream team points Matt Buntine 10 kicks 4 handballs 14 disposals 5 marks 53 dream team points Trent Burgoyne 1 behind 2 kicks 4 handballs 6 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 22 dream team points Paddy Cross 5 kicks 4 handballs 9 disposals 2 marks 1 tackle 34 dream team points Luke Dunstan 1 goal 20 kicks 9 handballs 29 disposals 6 marks 2 tackles 107 dream team points Max Gregory 12 kicks 8 handballs 20 disposals 9 marks 2 tackles 87 dream team points George Grey 1 goal 1 behind 4 kicks 5 handballs 9 disposals 3 marks 3 tackles 47 dream team points Michael Hibberd 23 kicks 13 handballs 36 disposals 10 marks 1 tackle 128. dream team points Blake Howes 11 kicks 8 handballs 19 disposals 7 marks 5 tackles 90 dream team points Matt Jefferson 4 behinds 9 kicks 2 handballs 11 disposals 7 marks 2 tackles 66 dream team points James Jordon 2 goals 2 behinds 13 kicks 12 handballs 25 disposals 7 marks 4 tackles 116 dream team points Bailey Laurie 16 kicks 11 handballs 27 disposals 7 marks 4 tackles 101 dream team points Andy Moniz-Wakefield 2 goals 12 kicks 4 handballs 16 disposals 3 marks 4 tackles 78 dream team points James Munro 12 kicks 4 handballs 16 disposals 16 tackles 94 dream team points Josh Schache 2 goals 1 behind 8 kicks 2 handballs 10 disposals 7 marks 60 dream team points Oliver Sestan 3 goals 1 behind 10 kicks 2 handballs 12 disposals 6 marks 1 tackle 76 dream team points Miles Shepherd 13 kicks 3 handballs 16 disposals 6 marks 2 tackles 71 dream team points Deaykin Smith 9 kicks 6 handballs 15 disposals 2 marks 4 tackles 62 dream team points Joel Smith 1 goal 10 kicks 4 handballs 14 disposals 8 marks 1 tackle 72 dream team points Roan Steele 6 kicks 9 handballs 15 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 44 dream team points Kye Turner 11 kicks 6 handballs 17 disposals 7 marks 3 tackles 78 dream team points Jacob van Rooyen 1 goal 1 behind 12 kicks 7 handballs 19 disposals 11 marks 2 tackles 6 hit outs 102 dream team points
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