A SLICK Southern Saints outfit has humbled the Casey Demons by 29 points on Sunday at Trevor Barker Beach Oval and has left the Demons finals hopes hanging by a thread.
Casey Demons 2.3 (15) defeated by the Southern Saints 5.14 (44).
After experiencing the benefits of a sublime performance themselves only a mere eight days ago when they dominated the NT Thunder by 65 points in Alice Springs, Casey quickly felt the wrath of an imposing opponent when the Saints marched to a dominant victory.
Casey started the match with all of the running, putting pressure on the Saints defenders, but the Demons were not able to make their hard work count on the scoreboard.
While the home side utilised their counter-attacks to make the Demons pay, booting two first-half majors before a third-quarter scoring flurry broke the game open for good and Casey could never recover.
“They are a really talented team… They presented some significant challenges for us today,” head coach Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media post-game.
“Particularly around the ball, they were great in the contests.
“It was a good opportunity for us to learn that on some occasions we are going to win the footy in tight and get to the outside and play our brand of football.
“But on other days it is going to be a bit of scrap and that is what it was today.”
Fielding a side which will resemble how they will line up for their first AFLW game in 2020, the Saints were always going to be a daunting test for a Demons side fighting for their finals dream, while the Southern Saints have now all but secured a finals berth with the Round 12 victory.
But the Demons never gave in and continued to fight to the very last minute, epitomised by the outstanding efforts of midfielders Shelley Heath and Tyla Hanks, as the duo provided the drive from the Casey engine room on a tough day.
“Both of those two players have worked to grow throughout the VFLW season and it will have them in really good stead at their second tilt at the AFLW when it comes around,” Keeping said.
“Shelley is really tapping into the drive that she has, she has enormous speed, and she is starting to read the contests really well.
“She is making some really good decisions about when to attack and when to defend, she is starting to get that balance right.”
While Hanks is another who continues to impress as she continues to develop her game.
“Tyla is an incredible talent, and over time when we look back, she will look like a steal at the draft pick we were able to get her at,” Keeping said.
“She has got an amazing ability to read the play, she is very good inside and a great decision-maker.
“The way in which she has grown this VFLW season and the way in which she should continue to grow will see her play some really significant football for the club.”
But it wasn’t enough to earn the Demons a win today, now sitting 9th on the VFLW ladder, the remaining three games become must-win matches for Casey.
Next week the side faces off against a Darebin Falcons side which upset a higher-ranked Geelong side yesterday, proving the Demons are in for another hard-fought match next Sunday at 11:30am.
CASEY DEMONS 0.0 0.1 1.3 2.3 (15)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.3 2.8 4.11 5.14 (44)
Heath, Hanks, Smith, Hore, Scott