CASEY has suffered through a dismal day against Port Melbourne going down by 43 points, falling to its third straight loss at Casey Fields.
Casey Demons 9.7 (61) defeated by Port Melbourne Boroughs 16.8 (104).
After an outstanding opening half which saw both sides competing for every ball.
It was a subpar second half from the Demons which saw the Boroughs run away with the victory, their fifth in a row, drawing the respect of head coach Jade Rawlings.
“Two and a half quarters of brilliant contests and this was one of the tougher contests we have been in,” Rawlings told Melbourne Media.
“This one was really heavily contested and both teams were terrific.
“But one team got the upper hand in the arm wrestle.
“I have a lot of respect for Port Melbourne… The way they go about their footy, the way they are coached, the way they led… So full credit to Port Melbourne.”
From heading into the main break leading by a lone point, Casey didn’t come out with the vigour needed for the contest in the third.
Quickly falling behind the Boroughs in the premiership quarter as the visitors added five goals, to Casey’s one goal for the term.
Corey Wagner did everything he could to lift the side, but his incredible efforts weren’t enough.
But didn’t go unrecognised by the coach.
“I thought Corey’s effort was unbelievable,” Rawlings said.
“He flew back on the red-eye from Perth last night.
“If there was a person who could have had an excuse today it was him but he didn’t have one… His effort was unbelievable.”
The effort across the team appeared to have fallen off from last week’s domination of the previously undefeated Essendon side.
Something Rawlings noticed in his charges.
“We didn’t get as much consistent effort across the team as what we have in the previous three weeks,” Rawlings said.
The loss leaves the Demons sitting outside of the top eight, and with a favourable home schedule to begin the season, the losses at Casey Fields sting all that more.
“It’s our home ground so of course, we would like to win,” Rawlings said.
“But we have been beaten by three quality teams.”
One of the positives from an otherwise miserable day was the return of AFL star Jake Lever.
The Melbourne defender is working his way back from an ACL injury sustained in June 2018, playing his way through VFL to get back his match fitness.
Playing on a restricted 80 minutes, Lever started the game in the backlines and took a stellar intercept mark midway through the first quarter to stem a Port Melbourne attack.
He followed up with another intercept mark, this time diving towards the sidelines in the second quarter.
It was a confidence-building game, finishing with seven disposals, but his immense talent and experience shined through, directing his fellow Casey back men to repel the Boroughs attacks being an extra coach on the field.
Lever plans to play in next week’s match-up against Williamstown, before wanting to push for selection in the Melbourne AFL side.
For Casey, the next challenge will come on Sunday as the Demons head to Downer Oval to face the Seagulls at 2:00pm.
CASEY DEMONS 4.1 7.1 8.6 9.7 (61)
PORT MELBOURNE 2.5 6.6 11.6 16.8 (104)
Wagner, Munro, Maynard, Sparrow
Preuss, Lefau 2, Stephenson, Bedford, Keilty, Chandler