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Melbourne Football Club

VFL: Four in a row for Casey

CASEY has claimed its fourth consecutive victory, cruising past Williamstown by 38 points at Burbank Oval on Sunday afternoon.

It was a fierce contest early with every possession well earned, but the Demons gradually got on top and opened up a narrow 13-point lead by the main break.

Sam Weideman and Cameron Pedersen kicked two goals each in the third term as Casey hit its straps, booting five goals to one in the period to set up a comfortable victory.

Despite Casey’s clear control of the ball in the back end of the game, the scoreboard failed to reflect its dominance with a goalless final term.

Although the Demons couldn’t capitalise on their slick ball movement, senior coach Jade Rawlings was happy with the method to his sides performance.

“I thought our method to create inside 50’s was very, very good,” Rawlings told Melbourne Media.

“We started to use the ball a bit cleaner and hit easier options.

“We didn’t quite finish the work inside 50 but in relation to how we played to get to those situations, I was very pleased with the group.”

Pedersen was the dominant forward on the ground kicking four goals for the match, throwing his body at the ball in the air and creating a contest for the Demons when often out numbered.

“He worked his opponent into the ground, his marking was quite inspirational at times and to have accuracy makes a big difference,” Rawlings said.

“He’s played at a high level for us this year … and he certainly presents himself as AFL-ready when they need him.”

Unfortunately, Pedersen’s day was soured slightly when he left the field in the last quarter after knocking his head on the ground while completing a mark.

After a high-pressured start, Casey’s intensity around the ball was strong, with Billy Stretch leading the way in the centre yet again for the Demons.

“I thought the midfield were very good after quarter-time,” Rawlings said.

“Our guys really responded to the challenge that was presented and really gave us some forward momentum.”

Casey had various plans of attack to nullify the impact of Nick Meese – one of the most dominant ruckman in the league.

Pedersen started in the middle and received help from Mitch King, Lachlan Filipovic and Weideman throughout the game.

“I thought our rucks were really good today,” Rawlings said.

“We just wanted to maximise what we’ve got … and give everyone good opportunities to ruck.”

After being slung head first into the fence in the first quarter, Jayden Hunt recovered well to provide his usual dash from half-back.

This incident was just the beginning of a brutal encounter, with some rough off the ball incidents causing concern throughout the game.

But Rawlings was pleased with how his side handled the heated affair.

“I thought our players were very professional in how they dealt with the game,” he said.

“There were situations out there which challenged our character and our discipline and our players were absolutely exemplary.

“Our staff and our coaches are really proud of the players for how they dealt with it today.”

Harley Balic continues to show glimpses of brilliance and was a dangerous target inside 50 for Casey, but left some goals begging with four behinds from his five shots in front of the sticks.

Jeff Garlett was potent up forward snapping two goals, while Jay Kennedy-Harris was also busy for Casey.

The defensive group performed well in a strong team effort, led by Josh Wagner and Dion Johnstone.

“I thought our backline saved us a lot of goals today,” Rawlings said.

“They’ve played together quite a bit in the last month so they’re starting to understand each other, starting to form good relationships and developing really well.”

After struggling at Burbank Oval in the past, Sunday’s victory was a significant achievement for the Demons following a tricky schedule.

“Eight games now and six of them have been away, so we’ve been able to get used to foreign environments and professionally deal with it,” Rawlings said.

“I think our groups got a very good consistent based level of performance at the moment and whoever is coming in week to week is certainly trying to play our way.

“Irrespective of whether it is away or home I think we’re starting to have a really strong brand which puts us in the game every week.”

Casey will return home to Casey Fields next week to take on Collingwood on Saturday afternoon.

CASEY DEMONS    4.4   6.8  11.12  11.18 (84)
WILLIAMSTOWN    3.3   4.7    5.8      6.10 (46)

Pedersen 4, Garlett, Weideman 2, Balic, Frost, King

Stretch, Pedersen, Balic, Johnstone, Kennedy-Harris, J. Wagner