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Casey’s season comes to an end

James Brosnan  September 7, 2015 1:05 PM

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 6: Aidan Riley of Casey marks the ball during the 2015 VFL 1st Elimination Final  match between Essendon and the Casey Scorpions at North Port Oval, Melbourne on September 6, 2015. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 6: Aidan Riley of Casey marks the ball during the 2015 VFL 1st Elimination Final match between Essendon and the Casey Scorpions at North Port Oval, Melbourne on September 6, 2015. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)

THE Casey Scorpions VFL season is over following a 21-point loss to Essendon in Sunday’s elimination final at North Port Oval.

The Scorpions never recovered from a terrible first quarter whilst the Bombers were steadfast in defending their lead – winning 10.11 (71) to Casey’s 7.8 (50).

Essendon took full advantage of a strong wind in the first quarter, opening their account with a goal from Jacob Thompson. Dean Terlich was in everything early and Max King had a chance to kick Casey’s first but missed everything kicking out on the full with the wind playing havoc on disposal efficiency.

The Bombers made the Scorpions pay for the errors inside defensive 50 and shot out to a six goal lead before Casey-listed James Munro kicked a massive goal from outside 50 to reduce to margin to 31 points at the quarter-time break.

The Scorpions seemed to adjust to the finals tempo in the in the second quarter. Shannon Byrnes, Jack Fitzpatrick and Matt Jones combined to work the ball inside 50 where Jayden Hunt took a great mark one out in the pocket before playing on and finishing with a goal under pressure. Fitzpatrick reduced the margin to 19 points at the eight-minute mark, gathering a half volley and snapping Casey’s second of the term.

From that moment on however the game completely locked down with play hugging the Norm Goss Stand side of the field with repeated stoppages. It would be close to 20 minutes later that Byrnes added himself to the goal kickers list with a snap that was aided by a fortunate bounce which reduced the Bombers lead to 13 points at the long break.

The Scorpions looked the better of the sides early in the third quarter but failed to convert golden opportunities from Tim Smith and Aidan Riley against the wind. An opportunistic soccer goal from Essendon’s Daniel Willis started what was the most entertaining period of the days play with both teams making an impact the scoreboard. Some great work from Terlich was rewarded with a goal from Fitzpatrick soon after as the Scorpions stayed in touch.

Essendon’s lead stretched out to 20 points thanks to a snap goal Kyle Hardingham, but two quick goals from Max King and Tim Smith into time-on got Casey’s deficit back within single figures for the first time since the opening term. A late goal from James Polkinghorne gave the Bombers a 15-point advantage at the last change.

With their season on the line, the Scorpions were unable to find any last quarter heroics with the Bombers content to protect their lead. 12 minutes went by before the quarters opening score, a behind to Essendon. Casey couldn’t find passage to attack through the corridor, as time quickly became the enemy. Aidan Riley fought valiantly all game but missed the Scorpions first shot on goal for the quarter at the 15 minute-mark. As the clock clicked into the red, any hopes of an upset Scorpions win faded and when Jacob Thompson kicked his second for the Bombers, the game was all but over.

Melbourne listed players were leading the way when it came to Casey's major ball winners for the afternoon.

Aidan Riley was his usually hard self with 31 disposals and 11 tackles but missed the opportunity of having a great day with two misses on goal.

Jordie McKenzie capped off a consistent VFL season with 29 possessions, eight tackles and four inside 50's while fellow midfielders Rohan Bail had 28 touches and five tackles and Matt Jones collected 27 and three tackles.

Playing just his third VFL game of the year, Dean Kent had 22 touches, seven tackles and a team high six inside 50's. Dean Terlich was another to find 22 disposals along with four tackles.

Mark Jamar was the dominant big man and a force in the ruck with 64 hit outs to go with his nine possessions as the Scorpions won the hit outs by 39 and got on top in the clearances.

Max King was the best target on the ground all day, taking a game high eight marks coming from his 15 touches.

Jack Fitzpatrick was Casey's only multiple goal kicker with two and 11 disposals and four tackles while Jayden Hunt had seven touches.