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Melbourne Football Club

VFL team review: round six

We’re really pleased we performed well against a team I really respect
Jade Rawlings


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


Coming off the round five bye, it didn’t take Casey long to find its groove. With 17 AFL-listed players on hand, the Demons fielded a strong side at Casey Fields on Sunday as they came up against the undefeated Box Hill Hawks.

From the first bounce where Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney bolted away with a centre clearance, Casey’s attack on the ball was faultless. The Demons came out with a willingness to work, and the scoreboard eventually took care of itself.

Box Hill were never going to be easy to shake, as the top placed Hawks hung in the game early. After maintaining a narrow seven-point lead at half-time, Casey blew the margin out to four goals by the final change and ran away with a 39-point victory.

With an abundant of AFL talent on the field, a high standard of VFL football was on display. The Demons played arguably their best game for the season, desperately hunting the ball and moving it efficiently when going forward.

Telling stat:

The intensity around the football was a feature of Casey’s performance and the stats reflected just that. The Demons laid 29 more tackles than Box Hill, pressuring the Hawks into mistakes and dominating around the contest.


Stretch 31, C. Wagner 21, Bugg, Pedersen, J. Smith 20, Balic, Hunt, J. Wagner 19, T. Smith, Viney 18.


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

3 Votes: Billy Stretch

Midfielder Billy Stretch had 31 disposals on Sunday in his best performance for 2018. As Viney absorbed the focus of Box Hill’s midfield, Stretch got off the hook, enjoying some freedom and finding the ball at will. The 21-year-old has great running power, covering the field well, and finished the day on a high with the final goal of the afternoon.

2 Votes: Tim Smith

Tim Smith is amidst the form of his life, consistently playing an elite level of football for Casey. After spending time up the ground in previous weeks, the utility stayed inside 50 for a lot of the game on Sunday, taking 10 marks, finding 18 disposals and slotting three goals. Smith also laid a team-high seven tackles in a well rounded performance. He is working well with Cameron Pedersen and was able to bring the small forwards into the game with his aerial work.

1 Vote: Tom Bugg

When the game was on the line in the third quarter, Tom Bugg stood up and delivered for the Demons. Box Hill cut the margin to just eight points mid-way through the third term, but Bugg strung together three goals in a row to give Casey breathing space and help his side claim the four points. Bugg also had 20 disposals and was a constant performer throughout the match.

Apologies to:

Picking the best was a challenge this week, but in a much more positive way than the game prior. With an even spread of contributors across the group, you could raffle the vote getters from Sunday afternoon. Casey listed players held their own in a fast paced match, with Corey Wagner and Jay Lockhart continuing to provide class in defence, while the Melbourne talent was on display throughout the match.

High-flying Joel Smith had 20 disposals at half-back and Pedersen had the equivalent along with nine marks at the other end of the field. Young gun Oskar Baker was a livewire yet again, while Harley Balic, Jayden Hunt and Josh Wagner all played their roles well.

Good to see:

After a disappointing showing against Geelong last start, the Demons showed unison on Sunday as the Melbourne players really bought into Casey’s style of football. All players who pulled on the red and blue guernsey played their role and delivered when their time came. Viney was a significant inclusion and looked to bond the team together, bringing the best out of his teammates and playing a key role in the win. If Casey can continue to have the buy-in from all players, they will be able to succeed no matter how many changes occur each week.

Coaches say:

“The hardest thing in the VFL season is the changing of the team each week. So it’s really: set yourself for the week with what you’ve got, commit yourself to the plan, then reset for the next game. You don’t know, you might lose a few to the AFL whether it be injury, suspension or form. So reset, but we’re really pleased we performed well against a team I really respect.” – Jade Rawlings

Looking ahead:

Next Saturday the Demons will face Frankston at SkyBus Stadium from 12:30pm. The Dolphins have won two of their opening six games, while Casey sit seventh on the ladder with three wins and two losses. Following this match, Casey’s VFLW side will be taking on the Southern Saints at the same venue.