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VFL player review: round 17

Matt Burgan  August 16, 2017 10:48 AM

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

2017 Peter Jackson VFL

Saturday, August 5, 2pm
Casey Demons 16.6 (102) d Northern Blues 8.17 (65)
Casey Fields 

From the coach …

“For a number of different reasons, we felt it was a good team performance. We had a strong start to the game. We had a big focus on denying the Northern Blues of their uncontested marks, because they rank pretty high in that area, when they win games of football. We were able to shut down their attacking space and keep the ball off them. Our first half was brilliant and it was some of the best footy I’ve seen us play. It set up the win from that, even though some of our players drifted away from the game and lost a bit of intensity in the third quarter. We allowed them to get back into it and give them a slight sniff, but to our players’ credit, they were able to dig in, during the last quarter and get the job done. It was a strong performance. Having the least amount of AFL experience in our team for the year – and considering we almost got beaten by 100 points against the Northern Blues last time – it was a pretty good response. We had some challenges, but our players were magnificent in setting the game up in the first half. It was a good result.” – Justin Plapp 

Liam Hulett: Liam had 12 disposals, two marks, one goal and three tackles. He continues to improve on his past two to three weeks. Although he’s not at the level he can get to, we know that he’s contributing. Defensively, it was probably as strong as I’ve seen him over the past two or three months. It was little steps for Liam, and there is certainly improvement in his game, so he’s adding value to the side, which is pleasing.

Dion Johnstone: Dion had 11 disposals, two inside 50s and one tackle. It was a quieter game from Dion. He got caught in between a lot, even though that didn’t reflect the energy or effort he brought to the game. Dion didn’t seem to get the rewards that we would’ve liked. He’s a fantastic young man who really invests himself in the team and the players build off his game. He was quiet on the weekend and we know he’s capable of much better.

Declan Keilty: Declan had 22 disposals, 11 marks, including eight contested, two inside 50s and one tackle. It was a big step forward for Declan on the weekend. His aerial work and his ability to be able to read the ball in flight was outstanding. He took 10 marks from opposition kicks, which must be some sort of record at VFL level. It was one of the best games I’ve seen him play, which was fantastic. He’s been building and although there are still some things in his game we’d like to see improve, it was a massive step forward for him and his most consistent four quarter performance we’ve seen him play, which is really exciting for him.

Ben Kennedy: He had 35 disposals, eight clearances, eight inside 50s and kicked 3.2. His performance on the weekend was outstanding. He hit the scoreboard and was a real driver around contests and stoppages. Ben was able to take us forward a lot and played some physical, hard football. He had a massive influence on the game and he’s been in some good form in the past two to three weeks.

Jay Kennedy-Harris: He had 27 disposals, four clearances and six tackles. Jay was a little bit slow to get going, and although we felt he did some good work, there were still a few areas in his game that we needed to get some more consistency from him, such as the way he was connecting and using the ball. He was a little bit wasteful on the weekend, and for a player of his type, we need to get some consistent ball use from him. It’s an area of his game he needs to clean up.

Mitch King: Mitch had four disposals, 26 hit outs and five tackles. The opposition ruckmen probably got the better of Mitch on the weekend. We see him being our main ruckman at the moment, because Jake Spencer is out injured. So, it’s a great opportunity for Mitch – it gives him continuity in game-time, but there is also a level of pressure to perform, which I think is healthy for him as well. It was a good growth opportunity for him. His effort to compete was strong, but as a second-year ruckman, he’s probably where we thought he’d be. We know that he’s got a lot of developing to do.

Christian Salem: He had 28 disposals, including 12 contested possessions, seven clearances, one goal and nine tackles. I thought Christian’s performance was strong. He was able to use his speed and ball-winning ability around the contests. There was a patch in the second quarter where he had three or four repeat efforts that were strong, which was probably an area he was lacking in at AFL level. It was good to see him investing himself into that side of the game. He showed some classy ball use at times, where he was able to set-up some forward 50 entries and ball movement through composure. It was a big step forward for Christian and we were pleased for him. Unfortunately, he was reported and has accepted the one-match suspension.

Billy Stretch: Billy had 29 disposals, including 19 uncontested possessions, four inside 50s and six tackles. His past three games at VFL level have been as consistent football as I’ve seen from anyone in the VFL this year. We felt his contest-to-contest work and his ability to win contested ball, and use his numbers and take us forward with the ball, was good. We’ve got some consistencies from him in that part of the game, which is an area that’s going to set him up well if he gets an opportunity. We think his behaviours around what we need to see, over the past three weeks, have been really good and he was a major player for us.

Jack Trengove: He had 32 disposals, seven rebound 50s and one tackle. I really liked Jack’s game. He played as a high defender, where he was able to join in offensively. Jack gave us some good ball use across half-back. It was one of the better games of football I’ve seen him play – in the years I’ve been at the club – which is a massive step forward for him. We thought his influence on the game was pretty big.

Jack Watts: He had 22 disposals, including 10 contested possessions, six marks, six hit outs and kicked 1.2. For the reasons why Wattsy was left out of the AFL team, I thought a number of good things came out of it. He was able to get his hands on the ball and generated some scoring opportunities through some of his ability to win the ball. There were signs of improvement around his performance and I think he would’ve got a bit of confidence from it. We still think that he’s capable of being better, but it was an improvement.

2017 AFL Victoria Development League
Sunday, August 12, 11am
Northern Blues 7.7 (49) d Casey Demons 5.9 (39)
Casey Fields 

No Melbourne-listed players played in the Development League