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Casey Demons 2017 season preview

Matt Burgan  April 14, 2017 10:29 PM

We want to follow up with a good year

2017 CASEY DEMONS

KEY DETAILS

President: David Dillon

General manager of football: Matthew Young

Football operations manager: George Morgan

Coach: Justin Plapp

Captain: Jack Hutchins

Vice-captains: Ed Morris, Jimmy Munro, Angus Scott

Leadership group: Jordan Moncrieff, Tom Baker, Aloysio Ferreira

Joined VFA/VFL: 1982 (previously Springvale)

VFL/VFA premierships: 5 – 1987, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999; 1 – 1983 (division two)

Runner-up: 2 – 1990, 2016

2016 best and fairest winner: Jack Hutchins

2016 leading goalkicker: Tim Smith (31 goals)

Home Ground: Casey Fields, 160 Berwick-Cranbourne Road, Cranbourne East

Key recruits: Yilber Zijai (Sandringham Zebras), Mitch Gent (Noble Park), Nathan Gardiner (Frankston), Gach Nyuon (Essendon), Nathan Foote (Frankston), Dan Allsop (Dandenong Stingrays), Liam Hiscock (Sandringham Zebras), Jai Rout (Gippsland Power)

Key losses: Oscar McInerney (Brisbane Lions), Paul Pattison (Catani), Bryce Rutherford

VFL PREVIEW

Coach Justin Plapp says a host of clubs are right in contention this year, with the likes of Williamstown and Port Melbourne again to be right up there.   

“Williamstown is a powerful club and it attracts really strong ex-AFL players, so we can see they’ve recruited really well. We were lucky enough to knock them off last year, but I’d expect them to be right up there, along with Port Melbourne, as they’ve recruited well over the summer,” he said.

“The big mover, for mine, is going to be Northern Blues. I think that they’ve got some consistency under Josh Fraser and they’re going to have a lot of players with AFL experience each week. I think Richmond is also going to be a mover under ‘Fly’ (Craig McRae). They have a pretty handy list as well.”

“It’s hard to know on a week-to-week basis, but most weeks I expect those sides to be firing on all cylinders. That doesn’t mean that no other club will push up.”

CASEY EXPECTATIONS

After making last year’s Grand Final against eventual premier Footscray, Plapp says he’s determined to back up with another strong season.

“We want to follow up with a good year,” he said.

“We want to be able to create the best environment possible for our players to learn and improve.

“We’d like to think if we get that right and the brand of footy, hopefully the success will come. We’ve had a few injuries to start the year, but it’ll give some of our younger players the opportunities at Casey to step-up.”

Plapp said Casey had played practice matches on the same weekends of the first three AFL rounds, so that every player was best prepared to play in the AFL and VFL.

“For our Casey boys, we’ve had to manage their game time – we’ve played one or two more than we wanted. We’ve had really good hit outs against Port Melbourne, Box Hill, Williamtown and Werribee – we’ve won all of those games,” he said.

THE MELBOURNE/CASEY ALIGNMENT

The partnership has grown significantly in the past three years.

Plapp said there had been some big changes in that time, including the name change from Casey Scorpions to Casey Demons. He added that Melbourne had invested strongly in recent years, which had built a closer alignment.  

“It is always a balancing act,” Plapp said in regards to AFL/VFL partnerships.

“[Melbourne general manager of football operations] Josh Mahoney has really invested a lot of time and resources into rebuilding that partnership.

“We think there have been a range of improvements. Last year, we had a lot of mature players playing with us like Jack Trengove. We’ve had Sam Frost and Tom Bugg play at VFL level … and the younger players really build off that."

THE SMITH/KEILTY FACTOR

Casey had three players drafted last year: Tim Smith and Declan Keilty to Melbourne, and Oscar McInerney to the Brisbane Lions.

Plapp said it was a “great year” to have a trio of VFL-listed players end up on AFL lists. And he said he wouldn’t be surprised if more were drafted later in the year.

“I’ve got a real soft spot for Tim. He’s a young man who has had to work really hard to get his opportunity. He’s a plumber-turned-AFL footballer now. Tim breathes everything you want in a player. He’s a competitive, resilient person and I love coaching him. I’m grateful that he’s still here at Melbourne and Casey and I can still work with him. I’m really excited for him,” he said.

“Declan is younger and going to take time. We see him developing in the next two to three years into different roles, which the club is really keen for him to explore.

“We hope we’ve got another two or three there to be drafted, moving forward.”

THE CASEY COACHES

Plapp said Casey had assembled a strong coaching panel for 2017. Here he runs through his assistants …

Danny Ryan: He’s had a lot of experience and spent a fair bit of time at St Kilda. He’s been in oppo [analyst] at Port Adelaide, so he’s going to play a close role to me and be a more senior figure at Casey. He’ll look after strategy and structure roles at the club.

Mick Stinear: He’s come on board after coaching the Melbourne women’s team. He’ll be our offensive coach and be out at Casey three nights a week on our training nights.

Sam Radford: Sam was also part of the Melbourne women’s coaching panel. He’s going to be our defence coach. Sam’s coached local footy and he’s a school teacher by trade, so he’s another important part of our panel.

Max Rooke: Max is a development coach at Melbourne and he’s going to do our contest area on game day. We’ve got some young and enthusiastic coaches

Development coach: Paul Carbis

Development line coaches: Jamie Marshall, Tim McGibney

PLAPPY’S PLAYERS TO WATCH IN 2017

Bayley Fritsch: He’s a very exciting medium forward that marks the ball really well for his size and can find the goals.

Aloysio Ferreira: He’s a second-year player from Gippsland Power, who has got real excitement around the way he runs, uses the ball and his hands. He brings a lot of people into the game.

Brenton Hillard: He’s been on our list for a long time – four years. But he’s really starting to show some genuine signs of improvement. He’s a hard-nosed defender with real aggression. He’s the type of player you love to have.

Jordan Moncrieff: He’s another player building. It’s his third year at the club and he’s got pretty good bloodlines (his father of former Hawthorn star Michael Moncrieff). He can play at either end of the ground, key position wise. He’s another we think will come on and develop this year.

Dan Allsop: He’s a young Indigenous player from Dandenong Stingrays. He’s got a lot of flair and excitement about him. He’ll feature during the year.

Jordan Kingi: He’s a local boy with a hard-nosed attitude about him. He’s really good aerially, intercepts and marks the ball really well. We’ve been able to recruit him in locally, as we think he can have an impact as well.