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Melbourne Football Club

Casey falls to Williamstown in qualifier

CASEY has suffered a 45-point qualifying final loss to Williamstown, with the Seagulls kicking the last eight goals of the game at Burbank Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Casey Demons 11.7 (73) defeated by Williamstown 18.10 (118).

Despite a 49-point deficit in the second-term, Casey charged back into the match to hit the front in the early stages of the last-quarter, before the minor premiers ran away with the win.

The see-sawing match was deeply effected by the howling breeze, but the home side made better use of the conditions to secure its spot in a preliminary final.

In his 200th game for the club, Williamstown captain Ben Jolley won the toss and bravely elected to kick into the strong wind. The decision proved to be a masterstroke, as Casey was unable to capitalise on the hefty advantage early, with the Seagulls quick out of the blocks to take a one-goal lead into the first change.

“We’ve got to be accountable for that,” senior coach Justin Plapp told melbournefc.com.au.

“They were up and they were after the game, we were second to the ball.”

When the time came for the Seagulls to utilise the breeze, they did just that.

In a 13-minute period, Williamstown piled on six goals, with the crowd getting involved to swing the momentum and put a 36-point gap between the two sides at half-time.

The game looked to be out of Casey’s reach, but an inspired Angus Brayshaw had other ideas. The 21-year-old was on a mission, mounting a spirited comeback and dragging the Demons back into the contest.

Jack Trengove was also gallant on his 26th birthday, while Josh Wagner rebounded well from defence.

“I thought our better players, particularly Wagner, Trengove, Brayshaw, those guys, when the game was there, they really took initiative and started winning their own ball,” Plapp said.

“There were a couple of things just before half-time with Trengove that I really liked.

“A couple of close outs and a couple of really good contested ball wins.”

Casey’s Bayley Fritsch was the focal point up forward, booting three majors in the third-quarter to get the game back on his terms. Angus Scott chipped in with two of his own as the Demons kicked six unanswered goals with the assistance of the wind, stripping the margin back to a solitary point at the final change.

Scott snapped through Casey’s ninth consecutive goal, giving them a hot start to the final term, but a five-point lead was not going to be enough to hold on to as the Seagulls stormed home with the breeze.

“I thought it was a huge effort to get back into the game the way we did, but we couldn’t maintain it for long enough,” Plapp said.

A pair of ex-Saints revived Williamstown, as Sam Dunell and Arryn Siposs combined for five goals in eight minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

Williamstown ruckman Nick Meese showed why he’s the most feared figure in the league, as the 105kg star gave his onballers first use in the centre all day. Meese then provided the knock-out blow with two late goals.

“It was disappointing,” Plapp said.

“There were parts, probably half a game that we were acceptable or pretty good, but about half where we were putrid.”

James Munro left the field holding his back in pain in the first-term and failed to re-emerge for the day.

The Seagulls will enjoy a week’s rest, while the Demons are left to battle out a semi-final next week at Fortburn Stadium (Port Melbourne). Casey will face Richmond after its 12-point elimination final victory over the Magpies on Saturday afternoon.

The Demons were upset by the Tigers with a 28-point loss away in round 12, but Plapp is confident his side will return to form for the do-or-die clash.

“It’s disappointing but we’ll bounce back, prepare and go again," he said.

“Beauty of it is we’ve got the double chance.

“I think these guys are pretty good so we should take a fair bit of confidence into next week.

“We know we’re capable, but we’ve just got to be able to do it for longer.”

CASEY DEMONS     2.2   4.3   10.6    11.7 (73)

WILLIAMSTOWN   3.2  10.3   10.7  18.10 (118)

CASEY GOALS

Fritsch 4, Scott 3, Bugg, Morris, Maynard, Kennedy

CASEY BEST

Brayshaw, Fritsch, Scott, Trengove, Keilty, Wagner