It was a slow start at Ikon Park for the Demons that proved to be costly in the run into finals. The close match was only separated by a few key moments, the Blues winning 11.11 77 to 9.15 69.
Carlton looked to be the better team out of the blocks on Sunday afternoon in a game that will potentially change the make up of the final’s places.
The Blues put the Demons to the test early, playing fast, exploding from the contest and putting the pressure on the reigning premiers.
The Casey defence consisting of returning Adam Tomlinson, Deakyn Smith and Jed Adams found themselves exposed out the back on multiple occasions.
Kicking the first two goals early and exposing the Demons side in the transition, Casey had to switch on quickly or it would look like they would be easily overrun.
The away side did eventually find their feet, gaining possession more frequently and moving the ball upfield.
Thanks to some magic in the forward 50 from young Kynan Brown and a great build up leading to a Charlie Spargo goal, the Demons found themselves only two points down at the first break.
Unfortunately, again, Casey didn’t start the second term where they left off after the first.
Carlton regained their run and carry, fast football style and were able to kick four unanswered majors to begin the term.
Casey was lacking connection and understanding between not only different areas of the ground, but individual players.
Poor decision making and errors on the ball were handing the Blues clear cut opportunities.
The forwards were struggling to impose themselves on the game as well.
Tom McDonald wasn’t able to find clear space on his return from injury.
While Josh Schache and Matthew Jefferson were kept reasonably quiet by their direct opponents.
Wrestling the tide back in the Demons favour was captain Mitch White, who surprisingly was playing as more of a marking full-forward then his typically midfield role.
Goals thanks to White, Luke Dunstan, Matt Buntine and a beautiful curling effort from Bailey Laurie bought the margin back to only nine points at the major break.
The Demons were hot after the break, charging out of the content, winning contested ball and making the home side pay.
However, six behinds for the quarter allowed the Blues to hold a slim lead in the final term as the Demons hit the post three times and failed to capitalise on their opportunities.
The last quarter will go down as one to be forgotten by the 2022 premiers.
Pure dominance on and around the ball.
Winning clearances, contested ball, ground balls and time in forward half, the Demons should have come away with a winning result.
Instead, the Blues were able to defend as a unit and nullify the visitors to one goal, five behinds.
Carlton come away winners by eight points and are now only one game behind Casey on the ladder.
Casey still sit in sixth place, level on points with Footscray, six points behind Brisbane our next opponent.
Next week is the final game before another big finals campaign, and while Casey cannot make the top four or fail to make finals, a win over Brisbane would certainly be the perfect way to enter other finals campaign.
CASEY: 2.1 6.2 8.10 9.15 (69)
CARLTON: 2.3 7.5 9.11 11.11 (77)
BEST: Dunstan, Spargo, D.Smith, Buntine, Woewodin, Grey
GOALS: 1 White, Spargo, McDonald, Laurie, Jefferson, Grey, Dunstan, K.Brown
DISPOSALS: 38 Dunstan, 30 Harmes, 29 Laurie, 28 Spargo, 27 Tomlinson