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Melbourne Football Club

Casey defeat top placed Hawks at home

Jack Viney post-match Jack Viney speaks to Ben Gibson following Casey's win over Box Hill

CASEY has knocked over the previously undefeated Box Hill Hawks by 39 points in a high quality affair at Casey Fields on Sunday afternoon.

Casey Demons 16.15 (111) defeated Box Hill 11.6 (72).

After a disappointing loss to Geelong in its last outing, Casey made six changes to reinvigorate its team.

The Demons had the luxury of fielding 17 AFL-listed players and senior coach Jade Rawlings was impressed with the way the group performed.

“We are a footy club built around really committing to one club,” Rawlings told Melbourne Media.

“Our players exuded that today.

“It’s what we want to continue to promote and project throughout season 2018.”

The Demons maintained a narrow lead for the majority of the first half, but were unable to break the game open until Tom Bugg imposed himself on the contest.

At the back end of the third quarter and into the last, Bugg slotted three consecutive goals to blow the the margin out to a game-high 35 points.

Box Hill kept fighting with the next three goals including two off the boot of Mitchell Lewis, but it wasn’t enough to pinch victory from the Demons as Tim Smith responded to cap off another great individual performance.

Smith continues to impressive, providing a dangerous target inside 50, while Cameron Pedersen was also influential in the air.

Smalls Jeff Garlett, Oskar Baker and Harley Balic were all lively up forward, using their speed to damage the Hawks and contribute one goal each.

“We’ve got a lot of players who are hybrid to small size on our list … and they are very dangerous,” Rawlings said.

But it was the even spread of contributors across the ground which impressed Rawlings the most.

“We thought all three lines across the ground stuck to the plan really well and played with intensity right through to the final siren,” Rawlings said.

“We’re just an honest team who competes hard around the ball and we want an even spread of players across the whole game and that’s what we got.”

In a good team performance, Billy Stretch was the dominant midfielder on the ground with 31 disposals, constructing his best game for the season.

Casey duo Corey Wagner and Jay Lockhart both provided run off half-back, while Angus Scott bobbed up for another two goals.

The AFL-listed players really bought into the Casey brand which Rawlings said was a key factor in the victory.

“The spread of leadership across the ground I was really happy with,” he said.

There’s no better exponent of leadership than Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney, who made a strong return from a footy injury.

All eyes were on Viney as he lined up in the centre and the powerful onballer shook a hard tag from Hawk James Cousins to run the game out well.

It was a successful outing for Viney who gathered 18 disposals and he will be looking to play at AFL level next week.

The Demons played with intensity for the entire match, causing turn overs and scoring opportunities as a result.

“I thought the intensity to set the tone at the start was really noticeable and it was carried out right throughout,” Rawlings said.

“Box Hill came at us in the last quarter … but intensity again got us a little margin at the end.”

With talls Sam Frost, Harrison Petty and Declan Keilty defending strongly, Casey’s backline was difficult for Box Hill to pierce, restricting the Hawks in front of goal.

“I thought they all played really well together,” Rawlings said.

“They played exactly how we wanted them to.”

Joel Smith showed his craft as a footballer with clean hands at ground level and an impressive balance around the ball, while Josh Wagner and Jayden Hunt also contributed in defence.

Casey will be looking to build on its third victory of the season when they play Frankston at SkyBus Stadium next Saturday.

CASEY DEMONS     4.4   6.6   10.11   16.15  (111)
BOX HILL                 3.2   5.5      7.5     11.6    (72)         

Bugg 4, T. Smith 3, Scott 2, Baker, Balic, Garlett, Kennedy-Harris, Pedersen, Stretch, C. Wagner

Stretch, T. Smith, Bugg, J. Smith, Baker, Pedersen