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Melbourne Football Club

VFL Team Review: round four

Casey met Geelong under lights at Casey Fields on Saturday night in its first home game for the season. But a poor start from the Demons was enough to cost them the four points.

In greasy conditions, Casey played with a lack of intensity early, and its poor ball use prevented them from hitting the scoreboard. Cameron Pedersen received a 50 metre penalty on the quarter-time siren, giving Casey its first goal for the match, but nothing changed in the second term. The Demons added just one more goal in a sloppy display as they trailed by 33 points at half-time.

After a stern word from coach Jade Rawlings at the main break, the Demons came out with an increased work rate in the third quarter, cutting the final margin to 22 points, but it was a disappointing night overall.

The Demons went undefeated at home in 2017, but won’t be able to repeat that feat this season, dropping their first game at Casey Fields.


Telling stat:
It was a tale of two halves, and the first half ultimately decided the match. In the two quarters leading up to the main break, Geelong had 59 more disposals and 18 more marks than the Demons. They were consistently first to the ball, winning it around the stoppages, and were allowed to control possession due to Casey’s lack of pressure. Although the Demons evened up the contest late in the game, the damage had been done early, with Geelong’s desperation and composure sealing its victory by half-time.

Smith 31, White 20, Scott 19, Frost 18.

Baker, Lok, Scott 2, Bugg, Pedersen, J. Smith

3 Votes: Tim Smith
In a game where very few Demons stood up, Tim Smith was clearly the best player, working tirelessly to win the hard ball through the centre. Smith gathered 31 disposals in a strong effort, as the 192cm forward continues to add to his strengths. He has become a versatile player who can contribute in any conditions, and no matter the challenge, Smith contests in the best way he can for his side. He laid 12 tackles, scrapping at ground level and put his head over the ball, looking like the only Casey player with an ability to change the course of the match on Saturday night.

2 Votes: Goy Lok
After starting the season with Mazenod, Goy Lok played his first game for Casey on Saturday night and quickly settled in at VFL level. He grew into the game in the third quarter and was one of few Casey players to be clean with ball in hand. Lok made the most of limited opportunities, kicking two goals after half-time in a performance that should see him hold his spot in the VFL for the coming weeks.

1 Vote: Angus Scott
Small forward Angus Scott pushed up the ground and had 19 disposals throughout the match. His work rate was impressive, running hard across the field, and finding himself in the right spots to win the ball. Scott always looks dangerous inside 50, with a good goal sense and an ability to convert, with two majors against the Cats.

Apologies to:
Picking the best players on Saturday night was a challenge in itself, with few contributors for Casey. Jay Lockhart was one who played with intent, putting his body on the line for the team in defence. Lockhart has been a valuable addition to the Casey side since crossing over from Tasmania in the off season, and worked hard when things weren’t going his way on Saturday night.

After starting in defence, Sam Frost was sent forward after half-time and improved his output. He was able to link-up inside 50 for the Demons, before chopping out in the ruck due to the absence of Mitch King. As Casey lifted in the latter part of the game, Frost improved and battled manfully to have 18 touches.

Good to see:
There wasn’t a lot to like on the field on Saturday night, with a disappointing performance from the Demons. But off-field, Casey overcame the freezing conditions with an intelligent method to keep fans warm. Curtesy of sponsor Heatstrip, multiple outdoor heaters created a ‘Warm Up Zone’ undercover, so spectators could stand in comfort and watch the game. Casey Fields is accustomed to some cold, windy conditions, so it was good to see there is now an option for fans to attend and avoid the weather.

Coaches say:
“There’s a lot of work in our game that we have to put in. We had a really good summer and good form in the pre-season, but parts of our game have unravelled. We have a bit of time now to reassess and work out what we value and what works for us, and go and train it this week.” – Jade Rawlings

Looking ahead:
After back-to-back losses, Casey will have an opportunity to reset, with the round five bye next week. The Demons will have a few things to work on before they look to get back on the winners list against Box Hill at home the following Saturday afternoon.