It didn’t all go the Demons' way, but they have held strong to remain undefeated, claiming a gutsy 18-point win over Frankston on Sunday.
In both the first and third quarters, the Dolphins issued a fierce challenge on the undermanned Demons, but Casey proved too strong to emerge 10.6 (66) to 6.12 (48) victors.
A scintillating six-goal second quarter established Casey’s lead which it would never relinquish all day, as some highlight goals led the way for the table-topping Dees.
Against a vocal home crowd, Casey steadied in the final term to ensure it left Frankston with another pivotal win.
Casey coach Mark Corrigan said his side showed maturity in tough moments to maintain its winning habits.
“This is what we planned for having seen the way they’ve played this season,” Corrigan told Casey Media.
“The second quarter was our brand of footy. The last half was a challenge.
“Sometimes you have to find a way to win when it’s not going your way and we did that today.”
With Majak Daw a late out along with Toby Bedford, Luke Dunstan and Sam Weideman being called into Melbourne’s AFL team this weekend, a bunch of young Casey players got to showcase the club’s depth.
George Grey was a beneficiary, relishing his increased time in the midfield to dominate with a classy performance including 19 touches, seven tackles and a goal.
Corey Ellison also enjoyed a revamp up forward, slotting three first half goals and looking dangerous inside forward 50.
Corrigan said these young Demons produced when it mattered to secure another pivotal VFL win.
“That’s the reason behind a VFL squad,” Corrigan said.
“When the AFL squad is tested, then we want to give these players the opportunity and show full faith and trust in them.
“That’s what we saw out there today. Georgie was great around the ball and Corey took his chances up forward.”
The game was won in the second term when Casey put its foot on the throttle, slamming through six brilliant goals.
Ellison’s second major led the way, as his clever soccer goal was soon followed by a terrific team goal that ended with a smooth Bailey Laurie snap that flew through the big sticks.
When Grey added to his highlight reel with an amazing quick snap goal from the boundary, the Demons finally found themselves clear after a tight first quarter that produced two goals apiece.
But the highlights didn’t stop there, as Mitch Brown celebrated his return to the red and blue with a 40-metre dribble that bent its way through.
More brilliance from Grey ensured Ellison and Brown both registered additional goals in an exciting half-hour of Casey dominance.
Corrigan said the ability for his defensive group to hold firm when under siege proved the difference in the game.
“They were super,” he said.
“Our backs stood up. Turner, Tomlinson and co just kept winning their contests.
“Ultimately, Frankston couldn’t score past us and that gave us the opportunity to win.”
Yet for large parts of the second half, Casey was forced to defend, as Frankston turned the game into a desperate scrap.
The Dolphins closed to within 23 points at the final break and registered the first major of the final term to draw close.
Held goalless for the third term, some superb defensive work from aerial threats Daniel Turner (14 disposals, seven marks) and Adam Tomlinson (28 touches) kept the Dolphins at bay.
With Oskar Baker (20 disposals) getting into the game and providing some bounce from defensive 50, midfield bulls Jimmy Munro (22 touches) and Mitch White (12 disposals, 11 tackles) got to work.
When the Demons needed it, the class of first year Demon Taj Woewodin came to the fore, stepping up to boot through a beautiful set shot goal.
After Turner helped Casey absorb many Frankston thrusts, a beautiful end-to-end play resulted in debutant Josh Smith kicking his first VFL goal to solidify the win.
The Dolphins kept coming, but Casey proved strong enough across the ground to hold on and lodge its ninth-straight win this VFL season.
FRANKSTON 2.1 3.3 4.7 6.12 (48)
CASEY 2.1 8.4 8.6 10.6 (66)
GOALS: Ellison 3, Brown 2, Grey, Laurie, Neocleous, Woewodin, J. Smith
DISPOSALS: Tomlinson 28, Munro 22, Baker 20, Grey, D. Smith 19, Woewodin 16
BEST: Grey, Munro, Tomlinson, Ellison, Baker, Turner, D. Smith, Brown