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Melbourne Football Club

VFL team review: round nine

Casey claimed its fourth consecutive victory on Sunday when it met Williamstown at Burbank Oval. The Demons 38-point final margin was underwhelming with a complete dominance in the second half. Despite having 13 more scoring shots on the day, Casey failed to hit the scoreboard effectively.

Williamstown had some clear intentions throughout the match trying to be physical both on and off the ball. It was a brutal contest with bodies crashing in, but Casey’s focus was on the footy, allowing it to build on a 13-point half-time lead.

The game was broken open in the third term when the Demons kicked five goals to one – with Cameron Pedersen and Sam Weideman contributing two each. Casey’s dominance around the ball continued in the last quarter but some opportunities went begging with six straight behinds in the period.

It wasn’t the perfect four-quarter performance by the Demons, but another consistent outing leaves Casey second on the table and in a very strong position.

Telling stat:
The inside 50 numbers were a significant indicator on Sunday, with the Demons leading that department 68-41. Casey moved the ball well forward and applied strong pressure to the Seagulls, creating repeat forward stoppages and plenty of opportunities in front of goal. The forward line didn’t fully capitalise on the good work around the ground, but 27 more entries was a great sign for Casey.

Stretch 28, J. Wagner 26, Kennedy-Harris, C. Wagner 24, Baker 23, Tyson 23, Hunt 21, Johnstone, Lockhart, Pedersen, Scott 18.

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

3 Votes: Billy Stretch
Billy Stretch polls the three votes for a third time in four weeks. The 180cm midfielder has been in stunning form, leading the way consistently for the Demons around the ball. He amassed a game-high 28 disposals and laid six tackles against the Seagulls, providing plenty of drive forward for his side.

2 Votes: Cameron Pedersen
It was another strong performance by Pedersen, throwing his body at the ball in the air to take 11 marks and kick four goals. Pedersen is a reliable option for the Demons to kick the ball to, as he creates a contest even when out numbered and always makes his presence felt. His form has been very consistent and his 18 disposals were a big factor in Casey’s dominance.

1 Vote: Harley Balic
Ex-Docker Harley Balic showed glimpses of his star quality on Sunday which will excite Demon fans. The 21-year-old is a very balanced player, moving well on his feet to step through traffic and attack the goals. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the most of his good work against Williamstown, kicking just the one goal from his five attempts, but it was another positive performance from Balic with 17 disposals.

Apologies to:
Casey was in control of the match, playing with a good method to claim the four points, but there weren’t a lot of stand out individual performances. Corey Wagner, Dom Tyson, Oskar Baker and Jayden Hunt all found plenty of the ball, but it was Dion Johnstone who impressed again with 18 disposals. The 20-year-old is going from strength to strength in his newfound role down back, while Josh Wagner was another who provided class from defence with 26 touches.

Jay Kennedy-Harris played another strong game with 24 disposals and five tackles, with the small forward increasing his output each week, while Jeff Garlett was also lively with two goals.

Good to see:
Another comprehensive victory on the road allows Casey to return home with plenty of momentum for the coming weeks. Playing at Burbank Oval in Williamstown is no easy task, but Casey continued its winning form away from home with a solid performance. The Demons will play four of their next five matches at Casey Fields, with arguably the trickiest part of the 2018 schedule over.

Coaches say:
“I’m not a ladder follower, I’m very week to week which you have to be in the VFL. We have six days to recover and play Collingwood which is a really big weekend for our club. We’ve got eyes on the ball because ladders take care of themselves if you’re playing the right way.” – Jade Rawlings

Looking ahead:
After playing six away games in the opening eight matches, the Demons will finally return to Casey Fields on Saturday, taking on Collingwood at 2:10pm. With both sides sitting in the top four on six wins and two losses, this clash will be crucial for Casey to gain some breathing space at the top end of the ladder. The game will be broadcasted live on Channel Seven.