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Melbourne Football Club

VFL Team Review: round 14

In incredible fashion, Casey kept North Melbourne goalless to record its eighth victory in a row. The Demons were dealt testing conditions on Saturday, with heavy rain flooding Casey Fields, but Casey handled the situation as well as possible, dominating all areas of the game.

Despite managing just two goals in the first half, the Demons had a 15-point lead at the main break which appeared significant in the low scoring match.

Casey continued its domination around the contest, winning the hard ball and consistently scrapping it forward. North Melbourne managed just 21 inside 50’s for the afternoon as it was unable to get a grip on the match at any stage and ended with a miserable seven behinds on the scoreboard.

Although the final margin of 37 points doesn’t reflect a thumping, Casey’s performance in a water logged affair was extremely impressive.

Telling stat
If a total of 317 tackles doesn’t scream ‘wet day’ nothing will. But it was Casey’s numbers with the ball which truly reflected its dominance. The Demons had a total of 415 disposals to North Melbourne’s 256. An incredible discrepancy of 159 touches demonstrates the Demons ability to win the hard ball, but then distribute it effectively and deny North Melbourne any opportunity to resist. Casey had the top 10 possession getters on the ground.

Tyson 32, Bugg 31, Kennedy-Harris 25, Hannan, vandenBerg 24, Pedersen 23, Machaya 22, Baker, Lockhart, Stockdale 21, Munro, C. Wagner 20.

Kennedy-Harris 3, Hannan, C. Wagner.

3 Votes: Jay Kennedy-Harris
A soaking wet ball proved difficult for most to handle, but not Jay Kennedy-Harris. The 23-year-old booted three of the five goals in the match as he cleanly roved the ball and kicked it accurately. He had 25 disposals in an impressive display and was a key factor in helping the Demons convert their dominance on the scoreboard.

2 Votes: Dom Tyson
After being left out of the Melbourne side, Dom Tyson returned to Casey with an exceptional attitude, laying 15 tackles in a hard working performance. Tyson had a game-high 32 disposals as he put his head over the ball in a contested match.

1 Vote: Tom Bugg
Tom Bugg has been in consistent form in recent weeks and was another strong performer in the wet. He had 31 touches and 11 tackles as he spent the majority of his time in the centre, helping the Demons win the ball out of the stoppages.

Apologies to
It was an imposing team effort from Casey on Saturday, with plenty of contributors vying for votes. Cory Machaya had the best outing of his six-game career with 22 disposals, while Corey Wagner continues to impress in his bid for an AFL re-drafting at the end of the season. At half-back, Jay Lockhart and Josh Wagner were at their reliable best, rebounding well in the wet.

Good to see
Pat McKenna and Aaron vandenBerg hadn’t played a game of football in 664 and 679 days respectively, until Saturday. Both players have battled injury in the past 18 months and provided a great spark in their comebacks. McKenna, the former cricketer, pulled on the red and blue for the first time since joining the club and had nine disposals in his three quarters at half-back. vandenBerg didn’t take long to settle back in, thriving in the wet conditions with 24 disposals and 16 tackles.

Coaches say
“I was just wrapped with our players and how they embraced the conditions. They knew what was expected when the conditions were like that and then we were still able to move the footy pretty well. I’ve got nothing but admiration for our players.” – Jade Rawlings

Looking ahead
Casey will play back-to-back home games, with Footscray meeting the Demons at Casey Fields on Sunday afternoon. After eight wins in a row, the Demons will have a chance to firm themselves at the top end of the ladder.