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Casey’s campaign comes to an end

Ben Gibson  September 9, 2017 6:54 PM

I’m frustrated, I’m annoyed, but at the end of the day you get the double chance for a reason but we just weren’t able to capitalise on it

CASEY’S 2017 VFL campaign has come to an end after a second quarter obliteration set up a 27-point semi-final victory for Richmond at Fortburn Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Casey Demons 15.11 (101) defeated by Richmond 19.14 (128).

Despite a spirited fight back, the Demons were left with too steep a challenge, unable to peg back the 61-point third quarter deficit.

Casey got within 20 points in the final term, but when three consecutive shots floated out on the full, the Demons had blown any hope of victory.

Shaun Mannagh kicked two running goals to shift the momentum late, before Sam Lloyd sealed the win in the dying stages for Richmond.

The Tigers had a whopping 18 AFL-listed players take the field and proved too strong for Casey, utilising the pristine conditions on offer in Port Melbourne.

“They had a pretty good team in today,” senior coach Justin Plapp told melbournefc.com.au.

“These guys (Richmond) are a legitimate chance now (to win the premiership), so we played a pretty good team today … full credit to them.”

Angus Brayshaw left the ground after just five minutes of action with yet another injury concern, which landed him in hospital.

“It was a neck injury,” Plapp said.

“They took him to hospital just for precautionary reasons, but I haven’t heard yet.

“I think a little bit around the head too … but he certainly had an issue wrong with his neck.

“I didn’t even see it; I think it was pretty inconspicuous.”

Casey’s attack on the ball was ferocious early, but the Demons were unable to capitalise on their dominance forward of centre, with 11 chances going begging in front of the sticks in the opening quarter.

The Tigers scored four goals straight on the counter-attack to remain within two points at the first change, with Tyson Stengle proving the liveliest forward snapping three majors in the period.

Casey’s poor efficiency with ball in hand was problematic for much of the afternoon.

“We didn’t hit the scoreboard early,” Plapp said.

“There were little moments that really hurt us.

“We didn’t use the ball well and it’s an area we need to improve on.”

The window was left ajar for a Tigers rampage, and that is exactly what occurred.

A yellow and black onslaught saw Richmond slam home seven unanswered goals in 18 minutes of play to open-up a match-winning 39-point buffer at the main break.

“We were unconditional for a quarter,” Plapp said.

“We were really poor and we allowed too many easy goals.

“We deserved what we got.”

The hungry Tigers looked set to run away with a momentous win in the third term, but Casey had a second wind, as Billy Stretch kicked the Demons sixth consecutive goal on the siren to bring it back to 26 points at the final change.

Ben Griffiths was out to stake his claim for a senior recall and had the better of Declan Keilty, before the young Demon was swung forward in a move, which gave Casey life. Keilty was able to mark the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard with two goals.

At 201 centimetres, Shaun Hampson proved a handful in the ruck, giving first use to his on-ball brigade, as Anthony Miles gathered 32 disposals.

But when Casey’s day looked to be over, the midfield group lifted, with Stretch, Ben Kennedy and Corey Maynard leading the way with gallant performances.

Maynard had 35 disposals, while Jack Trengove was also gutsy late in the match.

“They are quality AFL-listed players, so we put those guys around the ball to get a response and get effort from them and they certainly did that,” Plapp said.

Richmond’s pacey forward line lurked dangerously all afternoon, as Lloyd, Shai Bolton, Connor Menadue, and Ben Lennon all joined Stengle as multiple goal scorers.

Unfortunately, the loss spells a premature exit to the VFL finals for the Demons, falling in straight-sets after finishing fourth on the ladder at the end of the home and away season.

“I’m frustrated, I’m annoyed, but at the end of the day you get the double chance for a reason but we just weren’t able to capitalise on it,” Plapp said.

Despite a disappointing conclusion to the year, Plapp remains upbeat about his side’s progress.

“I’m proud of them,” he said.

“They showed character and they competed.

“But I think the big learning for these boys is it’s got to become unconditional to win finals ... it’s got to be four quarters.

“We just haven’t been at our best.”

Richmond will progress to play Box Hill in a preliminary final at Fortburn Stadium next weekend.

CASEY DEMONS     3.8   5.8    12.8    15.11 (101)

RICHMOND            4.0   12.5  16.10  19.14 (128)

CASEY GOALS

Bugg 3, Fritsch, Keilty, Stretch 2, Maynard, Morris, Wagner, Zijai, Cox, Kennedy

CASEY BEST

Maynard, Stretch, Kennedy, Trengove, Bugg