A second term resurgence and an incredible finish ended in another terrific Casey win, as the Demons ran away to a 23-point victory over Richmond.
In one of the games of the VFL season, Casey drew upon all its strength to resurge and overcome the Tigers in the 13.9 (87) to 9.10 (64) win.
With a building ground taking in the epic finish at the Swinburne Centre, Casey was led by the experience and brilliance of Jake Melksham (19 disposals, one goal), Mitch White (26 touches, two goals) and Fraser Rosman, who stood tall when it mattered to keep the Demons’ unbeaten streak intact.
Despite Jimmy Munro continuing his superb form in the midfield with the game’s opening goal, Richmond got on top early in front of a buoyant home crowd.
It was only a quick brace of goals from the returning Tom McDonald that brought the Demons back into the contest, as the Tigers piled on the pain to lead by 21 points at the first change.
When we needed someone to stand up, Tom McDonald shone with three first half goals.— Casey Demons (@CaseyDemonsFC) April 24, 2022
Enjoy watching them back! pic.twitter.com/mkzmFfwguP
In a lopsided first term, the likes of Adam Tomlinson (17 disposals), Fraser Rosman (21 touches, five marks) and Deakyn Smith (13 disposals) stood tall to repel Richmond, allowing for a resurgence in the second quarter.
Casey coach Mark Corrigan praised the way his defenders held up when facing the Richmond siege.
“The way we played in the first quarter didn’t help our backs, we put them under more pressure than we should’ve,” Corrigan said.
“We’re still relatively inexperienced, so for us, the way our defenders developed and grew today, it was great to see them play that role and take confidence from that.”
Despite the Tigers getting off to a fast start in the second term, a deadeye Jake Melksham set shot goal from a tight angle kickstarted Casey and began an incredible run of goals.
Melksham’s magic was followed up by Munro’s second major from a well-earned free kick, before Melksham was the architect again when he set up McDonald with a perfect pass to give the tall forward his third goal for the half.
We got to see some Melksham magic today.— Casey Demons (@CaseyDemonsFC) April 24, 2022
Enjoy watching his highlights from another productive day at the office! pic.twitter.com/U7i2QefQ4t
A vibrant mark and goal from Andy Moniz-Wakefield, who was lively all day up forward, meant the Demons went into the main break with a three-point lead despite trailing by 26 points early in the quarter.
Majak Daw played a pivotal part in the Casey comeback, learning from his early battles with Richmond ruckman Samson Ryan to stand tall all over the ground and finish with 31 hit-outs.
But the open style of the first half wasn’t set to continue, as the second half became a tight slog dominated by defence.
With the likes of Tomlinson, Rosman, Smith and Corey Ellison holding down the fort in the back half, an early Mitch White major kept the Demons ahead.
There was only one more goal scored in the third term, as Richmond hit back to ensure the topsy-turvy contest would remain evenly poised at the final break.
Holding onto its one-point three quarter time advantage, White tried to break the game open in the last quarter.
Along with fellow midfielder Melksham, the pair continually dominated in the centre and were the best players on the ground throughout the entire match.
“Whitey is a star, he plays the right way and he’s a huge influence on this group as he leads by actions,” Corrigan said.
“Then Melksham is classy and has a great ability to both be tough on the inside and then finish on the outside.”
Whitey was once again enormous when it mattered today.— Casey Demons (@CaseyDemonsFC) April 24, 2022
Enjoy our skipper's highlights! pic.twitter.com/THP8pHM5YU
The Casey veteran set up Mitch Brown for his first major for the day with a wonderful left foot pass, before stepping up 10 minutes into the quarter with a superb right foot snap from the middle of a pack that sailed through the big sticks.
With the game on the line, Oskar Baker and Taj Woewodin continued running hard on the wing, while Bailey Laurie and Moniz-Wakefield’s pressure kept Casey ahead of the contest.
Laurie made his mark when it mattered, calmly strolling inside 50 and slotting a massive goal to give Casey a 20-point lead halfway into the term.
With the running all going the Demons’ way, the red and blue made a massive statement, as Kade Chandler slotted another goal to break the Tigers’ back.
Having led the way up forward all day, McDonald capped off a fine response to being left out of Melbourne’s AFL team this week, setting up Jacob van Rooyen with some terrific agility and vision.
Corrigan was rapt with the way McDonald played and how his Casey side responded in the face of a fierce challenge to stamp its mark as one of the VFL’s leading sides in the opening five rounds.
“I thought Tom McDonald competed heavily all day considering they put in effort behind the ball to stop him, he just competed and was more influential than his three goals that he kicked,” he said.
“I have complete confidence in this group that when challenged they’ll play the right way, and that’s what we saw for the last three quarters today.”
The Demons will look to continue their unbeaten streak when they travel to Box Hill next Sunday.
CASEY 3.0 7.7 8.8 13.9 (87)
RICHMOND 6.3 7.4 8.7 9.10 (64)
GOALS: McDonald 3, Munro, White 2, Brown, Chandler, Laurie, Melksham, Moniz-Wakefield, van Rooyen
DISPOSALS: White 26, Baker 24, Rosman 21, Melksham 19, Chandler, Tomlinson 17
BEST: White, Rosman, Melksham, McDonald, Tomlinson, Baker, Chandler, Ellison