A SECOND half surge has fallen agonisingly short as the Casey Demons fall to Collingwood by three points at Casey Fields in Round 5.
After the visitors used the three-goal breeze to their advantage to kick away in the second term, an inspired Demons outfit fought their way back into the match.
Led by Libby Birch, the Demons never gave in but they couldn’t convert their scoring opportunities down the stretch, although it was Casey’s best performance of the season.
DISPOSALS: Birch 20, Hanks 19, Cordner 15, Guerin, Smith 14, Jakobsson, Zanker 13
GOALS: Guerin 2, Cordner, Kemp, Smith
The one that got away for the Dees
Heading into a final term trailing by three points, the fightback started in the midfield with players like Maddie Guerin, Nicole Garner and Bianca Jakobsson starting to get their hands on the ball and winning centre clearances giving their team a chance.
The hard work saw the ball surged into Casey’s forward 50, but the Demons couldn’t get the reward for the effort as time ran out on the final quarter seeing the Demons fall by three.
The Dees played an impressive team game and had their chances for the victory, but there will be a lot of learnings which the team can build on for the rest of the season.
Libby Birch is a superstar
In what is becoming a recurring theme, Libby Birch was against outstanding for the Demons.
Birch was able to put intense pressure on Collingwood ball-winner Brianna Davey in the contests, winning the ball herself and fizzing the ball forwards, the focus on Davey stemmed Collingwood’s progress and allowed the Demons to get back into the match.
The Melbourne AFLW-listed recruit continues to impress in her first season in the red and blue.
“Libby has been amazing since she joined the club,” Casey Demons head coach Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media.
“The way in which she has integrated with her teammates, the standards which still has driven amongst the group already.
“Her commitment to the role she is asked to play has been outstanding.
“We are really, really pleased with the way she is introduced into this group, and we can’t wait to see where she gets to throughout the VFLW season.”
Squad is on the right track
With the loss, the Demons fall to 3-2 on the young season, but fielding a rather inexperienced list, Keeping is happy with how his team is progressing during the season, poised for the next step in the squad’s evolution.
“We came out of the game today understanding that during this first part of the season we are really competitive in the VFLW competition,” Keeping said.
“Right through the entire list there where experiences today which each player can learn from.
“That’s where we want to be and at the same time we are learning a lot both collectively and individually.
“We are pretty pleased with where we sit currently in terms of how the program is going.
“We want to win games, and we want to be competitive… But that is driven through the opportunity to learn and progress and I think we are doing that really well.”
Bye coming at the best time for Casey
Adding to the pain of the loss, key defender Kaila Bentvelzen was stretched off of the field late in the third quarter after what looked like an errant knee to her head, and Ainslie Kemp limped from the field with trainers but appeared jovial in the rooms post-game.
Losing the two players meant the team was down two rotations at the critical time of the match.
Already with speedster Ruby Edmeades on the sidelines with an injury, Breanne Pratt with strapping on a knee, and Katherine Smith nursing a badly bruised eye, the bye coming at the perfect time for the team allowing them time to recuperate.
A word from the coach
“It was a really high-quality game… Against a really high-quality opponent we were in the game a long time,” Casey Demons head coach Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media.
“We created ourselves opportunities to win the game… But just fell away on execution… That was right throughout the game.”
“We presented ourselves with some really good opportunities to score but we didn’t capitalise and we will take some learnings out of today.”
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Despite the loss yesterday, our VFLW team has impressed in the early goings of season 2019, as the team continues to progress it is making for a big season ahead | Click the link in our bio to read yesterday’s match report | Presented by @wolfdene | #caseydemons #caseyfc #vflw #wolfdene
Next week the Demons have the bye and a weekend off. But the squad will return in Round 7 with a trip to face the Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday June 22 at 11:30am.