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Melbourne Football Club

VFLW: Mid-Season Review

The season so far

Through seven rounds of the 2019 VFLW season, Casey have displayed glimpses of devastating football from the incredibly talented list head coach Damien Keeping has at his disposal. With outstanding performances against Carlton and Williamstown in lopsided victories and playing top sides Collingwood and Southern Saints to the final moments before falling agonisingly close, the Demons have showed the side has the potential for a second-half surge towards the top of the VFLW ladder.

 

What has worked

Stronger together

The Casey side has embraced the motto of ‘Stronger Together’ where the entire team has put the whole group above the individual, resulting in creating an environment where younger players can flourish without fear, and building a strong culture down at Casey Fields.

Youngsters having their chances

Employing a rotation policy throughout the early stages of the season has allowed Keeping to challenge and improve his playing list. Already discovering stars of the future in Breanna Pratt, Ally Kirkwood and Bridie Winbanks, more youngsters are certain to emerge in the final eight rounds. The changes are allowing the team to grow as the year continues.

 

The leaders 

The early season has seen Bianca Jakobbson cement her position as one of the best female footballers in Australia. The co-captain has been immense through seven games becoming a valuable utility for coach Keeping, winning clearances in the middle, going forward and kicking goals, even heading down back to provide a calming influence. Jakobbson has been incredible in 2019. Fellow co-captain Harriet Cordner has been terrific in her three games of the year so far, providing another goal-kicking threat in the forward lines, while Nicole Garner has embraced the mantle of captain and is playing the best football of her young career.

 

MVP

Maddy Guerin: The Melbourne-listed star has elevated her game this season, averaging 17.2 disposals per contest, and leading the Demons with seven goals, including booting the match-winner against Essendon to open the season. Guerin is poised for a massive second half of the year, and an even bigger AFLW season for the Demons come early next year.

 

Surprise packet

Chantel Emonson: After missing most of last season through injury, Emonson has quickly established herself as a key member of the midfield for Casey this year. Playing in all seven games for Melbourne during the 2019 AFLW season, Emonson continues to impress in the red and blue, averaging 15.2 disposals and an incredible 7.8 tackles per match.

 

Casey fans get excited about

Bridie Winbanks: Joining Casey in the off-season from Essendon, Winbanks has taken the mantle of the number 1 ruckwoman for the Demons side and has flourished. Recording 116 hit-outs, best for sixth in the VFLW, the youngster continues to improve every time she takes the field.

 

Best win

Round 1: Casey Demons 5.5 (35) def. Essendon 5.2 (32)

Beginning the season with a younger side, the nervous energy was palpable at Windy Hill. But after falling behind through three-quarters, the Demons discovered the magic formula to come charging back in the last quarter to win on a Maddy Guerin game-winning goal in the final seconds.

 

Best individual performance

Libby Birch. Round 5 v Collingwood.

Birch showcased why Demons fans should be thrilled to have her line up in the red and blue. Despite Casey falling to the visiting Collingwood side by three points, Birch’s performance was outstanding. Finishing with 20 disposals and three marks, it was her work on stopping Collingwood ball-winner Brianna Davey and laying 13 tackles, which gave Casey a shot at the victory.

 

A word from the coach

“The message for the second half of the season doesn’t shift, it is really about that constant improvement,” head coach Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media.

“That continuous improvement we are looking for from each player, then that will add up to a collective improvement across the group.

“I am confident the group are of a really good mindset… That we are open to the experiences ahead of us and we are open to learning from those experiences, then we are going to get better along the way.

“We are competitive, and we know that we are competitive with any team we come up against.

“We will win some, but we will lose some along the way, but I am really pleased with how the girls have reset themselves after the bye and they continue taking those opportunities to learn.”

 

What’s in store for the rest of the season

This Sunday provides Casey its biggest challenge of the season to date, as the Demons head to Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo to take on the currently undefeated Richmond side. The match will provide a true indication of where the side is at in 2019. With eight matches remaining, and four on their home deck of Casey Fields, the Demons should continue to build into the year before making a tilt at September glory.