A DETERMINED Demons side has kept their season alive with a tough 15-point victory over Collingwood on Sunday afternoon at Victoria Park.
Casey Demons 7.9 (51) defeated Collingwood 5.12 (42).
With traditional Melbourne football clubs playing at a traditional Melbourne football ground it was only fitting it be a traditional Melbourne winter’s day.
With changing conditions all day from passing showers drenching the ground to bright sunshine bathing the players in light, the game needed a resilient and dogged performance from the Casey boys and that is exactly what the coach got.
“It was a hard-fought win for sure, the conditions made it pretty scrappy,” head coach Sam Radford told Melbourne Media post-game.
“We had to manage a few guys with Melbourne having a 5-day break so that limited rotations as well.
“It was a gutsy performance.”
The difficult conditions resulted in the match-up becoming a battle of stoppages and returning ruckman Braydon Preuss again dominated his VFL opponents recording an astounding 75 hit-outs.
But going up against one of the best winners in the VFL in Collingwood captain Alex Woodward and the tough going underfoot meant the battles in the centre were going to be a war.
Radford challenged Josh Wagner to curtail the impact of the ball magnet, and the Melbourne-listed player responded with a sensational performance.
While Woodward won the disposal count, 32-22, Wagner punished Woodward by hitting the scoreboard twice adding crucial goals for the Demons, but it was his tenacious effort all game which delighted his coach.
“Josh was on Woodward, who is a very good player and he was good again today but we thought Josh was exceptional,” Radford said.
“He got plenty of the ball and kicked two goals as well… A great performance from him.”
Collingwood struggled to make the most of their scoring opportunities in the testing conditions, thanks in large part to the outstanding play of defensive duo Declan Keilty and Marty Hore.
Hore was the Demons leading possession getter with 25 touches, an impressive number especially after he was rested in the last quarter due to Melbourne’s short break this week, it was a performance which will surely see him firm as the replacement for the injured Steven May.
While Keilty continues to show he is a valuable contributor for the Demons whether playing as a forward or as a back.
Today he was Casey’s last line of defence and had an excellent game taking key intercept marks and launching the Demons into attack.
“Declan played a super game down back,” Radford said.
“Marty was outstanding through three quarters, I thought the backs really set the ground up for us and defended well.”
The win topped off the day for Luke Tynan.
The veteran was celebrating his 150th VFL game on Sunday and the coach praised the achievement.
“Luke is back at Casey where he started and to play 150 games in the VFL is a big effort,” Radford said.
“I am glad the boys got up for him and we can celebrate the milestone.”
The win keeps the Casey Demons season alive as they move into the top eight at the expense of the Box Hill Hawks losing yesterday.
Next week the Demons head home for their final regular-season match of the season against the Frankston Dolphins with a finals spot on the line, win and they keep the dream alive but a loss will see Casey eliminated from the race, it’s all to play for next Sunday at Casey Fields.
CASEY DEMONS 2.0 4.3 5.7 8.9 (57)
COLLINGWOOD 2.4 2.8 2.11 5.12 (42)
Keilty, Hore, Wagner, Hutchins, Preuss
Wagner, Neal-Bullen, Chandler 2, Hutchins, White