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Melbourne Football Club

VFL: Mid-Season Review

The season so far

Through 12 rounds of the 2019 VFL season, the Demons have endured a difficult season to date by the Club’s lofty standards. But stepping back and all things considered, it has been a reasonable first half of the year for the young Demons. Casey has been competitive in most games, often being undone by a lone quarter in most losses but appeared to have turned the corner in the last few outings.

 

What has worked

Mitch White as a forward

After spending the majority of his time at Casey Fields and a key backman, former head coach Jade Rawlings thrusted White forward to begin the season, and the 23-year-old has been a revelation booting 13 goals to lead the team. Surrounded by a talented small forward brigade, White is forcing marking situations, and when he isn’t clunking them himself, he is bringing the ball to ground to give his teammates a chance at goal.

Playing the kids

Being an aligned VFL-AFL club brings with it a number of unique experiences, case in point Melbourne’s horror injury-run to begin the 2019 season which saw the Demons depth tested as players were called up to the AFL side. But these call-ups resulted in many VFL-listed Dees given the opportunity to run out in the red and blue. New Casey players like Liam Buxton, Tom McCaffrey and Anthony Vella, have all had opportunities in the early part of the season, and all impressed in their time on the field.

 

The leaders 

Being handed the captaincy at the beginning of the season posed its own challenge for Mitch White, but the humble leader has shown in the role. The players love playing for him, and he is responding with some of the best football of his career. Meanwhile down back, Jack Hutchins continues to be a calming influence for a young group of backs, providing leadership and often taking the number one forward threat.

 

MVP

Corey Wagner: The uber-talented midfielder continues to dominate for Casey while pressing for his opportunity at the next level. Averaging a team-high 22.1 disposals per match, Wagner has provided the drive from the engine room for the Demons, as he continues to put in the hard yards awaiting his Melbourne call-up.

 

Surprise packet

Tom Freeman: The youngster continues to excel in his second season of VFL football. Averaging 12.3 disposals per contest out of the Demons defence, Freeman is enjoying a solid run of performances through the first half of 2019.

 

Get excited Casey fans

Kyle Dunkley: Joining Casey as a part of the inaugural AFL mid-season draft, Dunkley was drafted by Melbourne, and is quickly finding his feet being a Demon. In three matches this season since coming across from Footscray, Dunkley has shown his ability to win the ball from contests, and a nose for the goals, averaging 17 disposals and booting three goals.

 

Best win

Round 6: Casey Demons 15.6 (96) def. Essendon 8.7 (55)

Heading into this round, Casey was sitting at 1-3 on the early season after suffering a nail-biting 1-point loss to Richmond and then being overrun by Footscray in Round 5, the Demons needed a win. But they were coming up against the undefeated Essendon side who had been destroying opponents. From the opening bounce, the Dees were on song and dominated the contest, keeping the previously high-flying Essendon attack to only three goals through three quarters in an impressive win.

 

Best individual performance

Mitch Gent. Round 5 v Essendon.

On a dominant day for the Demons, it was VFL veteran Mitch Gent who had the best Casey performance to date. Racking up 23 disposals to lead a star-studded midfield it was a stellar day from a player who has celebrated his 100-game milestone this season as well.

 

A word from the Captain

“We still have a lot of confidence we can go deep this season and play finals,” Casey Demons Captain Mitch White told Melbourne Media.

“As we continue to put our best foot forwards, playing good footy every week.

“We think we have been playing at a high level, but just missing out on a quarter or 15 minutes.

“It’s putting four quarters together, playing good solid football.”

 

What’s instore for the rest of 2019

This Saturday provides Casey its biggest challenge of the season to date, as the Demons host the Box Hill Hawks it a Grand Final rematch from 2018. The Demons are re-discovering their confidence and a win in against the Hawks will do wonders for the charge towards the finals.