CASEY has thrashed the previously unbeaten Essendon side by 41 points at Windy Hill on Saturday.
Casey Demons 15.6 (96) defeated Essendon 8.7 (55).
In its most impressive performance of the Season, Casey were the aggressors from the opening bounce, taking control of the contest and never looking back.
The Demons were dominant all over the park, starting in the ruck where Braydon Preuss put his imprint on the match in a best on ground performance.
Returning through Casey from an injury, Preuss was sensational on Saturday, recording 40 hit outs and booting two goals.
They were two of the many standouts in a complete four-quarter performance, thrilling head coach Jade Rawlings.
“I thought our players were sensational today,” Rawlings told Melbourne Media.
“We thought we have been playing okay this season, but not at our full capacity.
“So, when you get a full spread of 23 players who are playing our consistent intensity around the ball… I couldn’t be more pleased today.
“Preuss’ hits were really good, his follow-ups and his marking
“I just love the spirit he plays with, and when he plays for Casey he gives everything he has got, he makes his teammates better.”
But the man mountain wasn’t the only returning Dee who would dominate the contest.
Tim Smith was scorching up front, booting a game-high four goals.
“Players follow Tim Smith, they love how he goes about it, so when he performs everyone jumps in behind,” Rawlings said.
It is a huge strength of ours to have Smith and Mitch White, those big bodies up forward who can take marks and cause contests.
“Our midfield of Jimmy Munro, Aidan Quigley, Tom Sparrow, Oskar Baker and Corey Wagner, they’ve been doing a great job for us too.”
Heading into the match, Casey had suffered from several second-half fade-outs and had only won one third-quarter for the season.
Coming up against the league-leading Essendon side averaging 118.8 points a contest, the warning signs were there Casey was in for another battle.
But it was the third-quarter where the Demons broke the game open, booting five goals while holding Essendon goalless.
A feat not lost on the coach.
“We have good contests against Essendon,” Rawlings said.
“I think they are in the two best teams in the competition, so we knew coming to Windy Hill was going to be a challenge.
“We held them to only three goals at three-quarter time… so I thought for our inexperienced backline, to set the ground up the way they did and win their one-on-ones against some talented forwards had a big bearing on the result.”
It was an astounding day for the Club recording a statement win and putting the season right back on track.
Getting a boundary-side view of the win was Rawlings himself, positioned on the Casey interchange bench for the entirety of the game.
“I’ve been thinking about how can I help the group more… We’ve got an inexperienced group out there, at both AFL and VFL, so I thought it was an opportunity to engage them a bit more,” Rawlings said with a husk after yelling too much during the game.
“It allowed me to tell them how they were going and what is happening in the game.
“I really enjoyed it, it was good to try something different, and it was good for me to hear what the players thought and saw.”
Next up, the Demons welcome Port Melbourne to Casey Fields on Saturday.
The Boroughs are winners of four straight matches, so it poses to be another challenge for a Casey side which looks to be starting to hit its straps.
CASEY DEMONS 3.2 6.2 11.4 15.6 (96)
ESSENDON 1.2 3.4 3.6 8.7 (55)
Preuss, Smith, Munro, Baker, White, Wagner
Smith 4, White 3, Baker, Preuss, Munro 2, Chandler, Lefau