A FINAL quarter fade out has seen Richmond run over the top of the Casey Demons by 39 points in Bendigo in Round 8.
The Demons gave a tremendous effort through the opening three quarters trailing by only two points at the final change, but Richmond overawed Casey in the final term with a flurry of goals to make the margin worse than our girls’ effort deserved.
It was always going to be a challenge against the league-leading Richmond side, Chantel Emonson, Harriet Cordner and Eden Zanker were amongst the best for the Demons.
DISPOSALS: Zanker 19, Garner 15, Jakobsson, Sherriff 14, Emonson 13
GOALS: Sherriff, Emonson, McDonough, Zanker
Richmond teaches young Casey side a tough lesson
Through three-quarters of the Round 8 match-up, the two sides were only separated by eight points.
Richmond had jumped out of the blocks quickly dominating the contest in the first quarter on the back of the efforts of AFLW-star Katie Brennan, but the Demons were able to fight back in a stirring third quarter making for an exhilarating final quarter.
But the exhilaration was short-lived, as Richmond took the ascendancy and piled on the pain for the young Dees, dominating the final quarter booting five goals to none to run out the convincing winners.
Our girls will learn from the experience and there were plenty of learnings for the side going up against the league-leaders.
Harriet Cordner is a star
The result could have much, much worse for our Demons if it wasn’t for the selfless efforts of Casey co-captain Harriet Cordner.
After seeing Brennan having her way with the match, Casey head coach Damien Keeping challenged his leader to take it upon herself to shut down the Richmond playmaker.
Cordner not only took up the challenge but thrived in the role, stemming Brennan’s influence in the match through the second and third quarters, allowing the Demons to fight back into the contest.
It was an impressive performance, showcasing the versatility of Cordner as a footballer.
New opportunities and new roles
Sunday’s game gave Keeping a chance to start to display the flexibility of his talented side, giving player’s new challenges and new opportunities.
Kaila Bentvelzen shifted from full back to full forward, a positioned she played in most of 2018.
While veteran Alicia Johnson pushed up on to wing from attack, and Shelley Heath dropped deeper into defence to maximise her tackling pressure.
“As the game goes on, we found various opportunities to throw new challenges at different players,” Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media.
“Kaila has been amazing for us down back… But we identified the opportunity to put her down forward and have her present up at the ball and play a different role.
“We will keep throwing those challenges at the players as the season goes on.”
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Shelley Heath may be the best tackler in the VFLW
One of the most impressive performances from the game was the intensity and tackling pressure of Melbourne AFLW-star Shelley Heath.
Despite her 160cm frame, Heath has a claim to the title of the best tackler in the VFLW.
Tenacious around the contests, Heath’s aggression set the tone for the rest of the Casey side.
Averaging 4.8 tackles in her in four matches of the season so far, Heath is becoming one of the most dependable players in the red and blue.
Season approaching the crossroads
Falling to the side’s fourth consecutive loss on Sunday, the confidence of the three undefeated games to open the season is starting to waiver for the Demons side.
Sitting at 3-4 on the season, the next stretch of matches will either provide the catalyst to surge up the VFLW ladder or will be the stretch which leads the season to demise.
With only seven matches to go in the year, the drive towards the finals has well and truly begun for the Demons.
A word from the coach
“We really competed through the first three quarters against a physical and strong opposition,” Casey Demons head coach Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media.
“They were able to get a hold of us in the last quarter, so there is some real learning there.
“We have a lot of inexperienced players that we have played over the last few weeks.
“To come up against an opposition like that, they can really get an idea and a feel of what it means to compete at this level… Which is a really good learning opportunity.”
After travelling to Geelong in Round 7 and to Bendigo in Round 8, Casey returns to the friendly confines of Casey Fields in Round 9 welcoming Melbourne Uni to the Demons home ground.
Melbourne Uni will provide a good litmus test of where the Demons year sits.
After falling to Essendon in Round 8, Melbourne Uni will be looking to get back on the winners’ list against a Casey side which will be hungry for a victory.
Should make for a cracking contest.