Main content
Melbourne Football Club

VFL player review: round 17

Overall, it was a fantastic effort, as we played the brand of football we’ve been working hard on during the year
Justin Plapp

CASEY coach Justin Plapp reviews the Melbourne-listed players who played in the VFL

2016 Peter Jackson VFL
Saturday, July 30, 2pm, Piranha Park
Casey Scorpions 16.20 (116) d Coburg 6.2 (38)

From the coach …
“We played in trying conditions, which aren’t conducive to playing footy in. There was a really strong breeze and it’s been trying conditions for the past three weeks. It ended up being a five or six goal wind. We started the game pretty well and wasted a few opportunities early, which was disappointing, but the players adjusted well to the conditions in the second quarter. Our ability to use the football and use it smartly was the most impressive thing. They learned from the first quarter, so that was really pleasing and it set the game up for the rest of the game. We had plus-30 inside 50s, plus-50 contested possessions and plus-10 clearances, so we dominated the game. Our inability to finish the game off was disappointing, as we kicked 16.20. It’s been three weeks now where we could’ve increased our percentage, but that’s something we’ll address during the week. Overall, it was a fantastic effort, as we played the brand of football we’ve been working hard on during the year. ” – Justin Plapp 

Lynden Dunn: Lynden had 20 disposals, two tackles and four rebound 50s. He continues to be working on his game, and although he’s been at VFL level, his attitude has been fantastic. His leadership to try and organise and help our young Casey defenders has been tremendous. He’s in a position at the moment where he has to work through his football – and different areas of his game – where we need to see improvement in. He’s a very good player at VFL footy, but we’re working very hard with Lynden to get him an opportunity in the AFL again.

Colin Garland: Col had 17 possessions, seven marks, including three intercepts, plus six rebound 50s. He has put together two solid games and I was really pleased with some of his defensive actions and he made some pretty big tackles. Col shows good patches in games and then he can do some things, which we know he could be better in. I felt the last two weeks that Col’s back on track and getting himself to the levels we know he can play to.

Jack Grimes: Jack had 40 disposals, including 15 contested possessions. He also had four tackles and four clearances. Once again, Jack impressed at VFL level. His strength and size around the ball are the highlights for him. He played wing and inside mid. Jack has a great ability to win critical contests. To have the numbers that he did was a credit to himself because he worked very hard defensively and offensively. It was a good all-round performance and he got a lot of reward for effort.

Liam Hulett: He had 10 possessions, three marks and two inside 50s. We thought Liam played his role and competed when we needed him to, but probably from a goals perspective, he didn’t have a great impact in that area of the game, but we have three or four genuine key forwards and sometimes we’re going to have one or two miss out on the scoreboard. Liam was probably a reflection of that on the weekend. He’s certainly taken his football to another level and he continues to improve each week.

Ben Kennedy: Ben had 40 possessions, including 16 contested possessions. He also had six effective tackles, eight inside 50s and kicked 1.2. Ben has been back at VFL level for the past two weeks and his attitude to compete and play the roles we’ve asked him to have been fantastic. He’s a player that really led by example from contest to contest. He won critical ball and brought teammates into play with his hands and creativity. It was another impressive performance and if an opportunity presents, he’s going to be around the mark at AFL level.

Viv Michie: Viv had 31 possessions, including 27 uncontested, plus five inside 50s. He also kicked two goals. Viv’s had a fantastic month and continues to dominate the VFL. He’s a fantastic decision-maker and user of the ball, while he continues to create opportunities for us, when he gets the ball in his hands. He also finishes his work off well. His attention to detail is very good and he continues to play at a high level. He’s another one who is pushing for a call-up to the AFL.

Alex Neal-Bullen: It was a good response from Alex, after being dropped from the AFL team. He had 31 possessions, including 15 contested. Alex also had five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s. He also kicked 2.3. Alex played as a high half-forward – different to what he’s been used to – but he also played wing. We were just trying to educate him on other parts of the ground. His numbers suggest that he was able to get in the thick of the action. Alex’s ability to go forward and create opportunities was a highlight. He actually had the opportunity to kick four or five goals, but just missed a few. Alex came back to the VFL with a really strong attitude and responded really well.

Ben Newton: Ben had 34 possessions, including 27 uncontested, plus 11 marks, six tackles and eight inside 50s. There were some pretty impressive numbers there for him and it was the third week in a row that he’s been able to create a lot of opportunities. He’s been in the thick of having a big impact on games, and has been working really hard on his game, particularly his work around the ball. Benny played a number of different roles – half-back, wing and inside – so his flexibility to play several positions is something we really value from him. He’s another one who continues to impress and stake his claim for AFL selection.

Clayton Oliver: He was another one with big numbers, winning 37 disposals, including 22 contested. Clayton also had eight tackles and 11 clearances. The most pleasing thing about him on the weekend was his ability to really utilise every possession that he had. We’ve really challenged him over the past few weeks to make sure he uses every possession that he has. He was able to be really creative around the stoppages. Clayton’s a really hard player to play on, so it was his best performance by far at VFL level this year. He’s another player that pushes his name up for AFL selection.

Cameron Pedersen: Cam had 21 possessions, seven marks, 13 tackles and 16 hit outs. He also kicked 1.4. Cam played predominantly as a key forward, but also gave Jake Spencer a chop-out in the ruck. To have 13 tackles for a key position forward is a fantastic effort and it was something that we really rated about his game. The only disappointing aspect of his game was his inability to finish off his goalkicking – had he finished off his work it would’ve capped off a fine game. But he’s another one who performed strongly on the day. 

Christian Salem: He had 16 possessions, six tackles and three clearances. It was Christian’s second game back – and first in the senior VFL team – after an eight-week break with illness. He needed the run after playing a really solid game in the Development League last week. Christian played an inside role, which is new to him at VFL level. There is some stuff he needs to work on, but we’ll work really hard with him and his craft. We expect him to improve in the coming weeks.

Joel Smith: Joel had 15 possessions, including 10 contested. He had three inside 50s and kicked one goal. He was really impressive, particularly with the way he attacked the ball. He won some critical one-on-one contests and did some things with ease. You sit back and say ‘wow that was pretty special’. He’s a fantastic kid who just wants to learn and he’s got a fantastic attitude, while he’s trying to put into place what we’re asking him. He’s had an inconsistent year because of his body, but I think he’ll play his best football near the backend of the season, which will be a massive bonus for us.

Jake Spencer: He had 11 disposals and 28 hit outs. Jake played predominantly ruck and a little bit forward. He certainly gave us a really good contest around the ball, but didn’t have the impact he usually does. But on the day, he played his role well and gave our midfielders first opportunity. He’s been in really good form in the past five weeks.

Dean Terlich: Dean had 24 possessions, four tackles, five inside 50s and kicked 3.1. I felt it was probably Dean’s most complete game for the year in the VFL. It’s been a bit of a grind for Dean – we’ve played him in new positions – and on the weekend, he created a lot of his opportunities off his pressure, when the opposition had the ball. He hit the scoreboard and missed one, but his influence on the game was as good as anyone’s on the day. It’s two weeks in a row now that he’s put two really good weeks together, so I was really pleased with Dean.

Jack Trengove: Jack had 29 possessions, including seven contested. He also had 13 tackles, six clearances and kicked a goal. Jack continues to impress – he continually competes and cracks into the ball with his bigger body. The pleasing thing with Jack on the weekend was his tackling, which was a highlight. Off the back of missing so much football, he continues to play at a high standard. His leadership, organisation and direction on the ground has been a massive bonus for us as well.

Sam Weideman: Sam had 14 disposals, nine marks, two tackles and kicked 3.1. We were really impressed with his game. His ability to lead at the ball strongly and take three or four really good contested marks was a highlight. There was a passage of play late in the game, where Sam had to go hard and back into the contest in the air, against two Coburg players. It was a fantastic effort and very inspiring. We acknowledge that’s a strength of his game – he’s a kid who doesn’t take a backwards step. It was probably his best four quarter performance in all areas of his game – offense and defence – this year. He was very impressive on the weekend.

AFL Victoria Development League
Saturday, July 30, 11am, Piranha Park
Casey Scorpions 12.22 (94) d Coburg 6.9 (45)

Jay Kennedy-Harris: Jay had 30 possessions, six marks, six tackles and kicked 1.1. He’s missed a lot of football this year through hamstring injuries, but has played the past two weeks in the Development League. Last week, he was very solid and this week, he improved again. He’s worked a lot on his body in the time off that he’s had and it’s really noticeable in his game, by watching him play. He played with a lot of energy. When he had the ball, he created a lot of opportunities through his running and his ability to get away from stoppage. For Jay, the past two weeks have been really good for him – to get his hands on the ball and to get a smile on his face, as it’s been a frustrating year for him. He’ll be a player who pushes really strongly to play in the VFL seniors this week. I was really happy with his performance.

Max King: Max had 10 disposals, four marks and kicked one behind. He was injured on the weekend, hurting his wrist. We’re not sure if he’ll be up for selection this week. He didn’t have a massive impact on the game and he’s really clear on what he needs to work on.