DESPITE a final-quarter fightback, the Casey Demons have fallen to Melbourne University by five points at Casey Fields on Saturday afternoon.
Casey Demons 4.9 (33) were defeated by Melbourne University 5.8 (38).
The Demons began the contest firing, putting immense pressure on the Uni defenders in the opening 10 minutes of the match.
But the home side struggled to maintain control, with Melbourne Uni capitalising on its few forward entries and booting four goals late in the first term.
The fade out proved costly in the end, with Uni’s lead enough to deny the Demons a comeback victory.
“It’s very frustrating,” co-captain Nicole Garner told Melbourne Media.
“We played the first ten minutes really well, but then just fell away for the next two-and-a-half quarters.
“Something we really need to address as a playing group now is how we can lift our intensity through all four quarters.”
Despite the result, Melbourne AFLW star Kate Hore shone in her first VFLW game for the season.
The 24-year-old was instrumental in winning the ball in the Demons’ forward half, creating opportunities in marking contests and in front of goal.
Fellow Melbourne-listed player Casey Sherriff took advantage of Hore’s effort, taking two key contested marks up forward, although failing to convert the set shots in the opening term.
Melbourne Uni made the most of the Demons’ errors, with North Melbourne AFLW star Jess Duffin leading the visitors’ quick transition play.
The reigning Lambert-Pearce medal winner for the best and fairest player in the VFLW, Duffin was dominate in Uni’s victory, using her vast experience to outwit her Casey opponent.
“Duffin showed some of her class today,” Garner said.
“She sat off the back of contests and being a bit of a stalwart, set-up a lot of plays for them.
“She’s got a good lot of knowledge, so being able to play on a player like that is good for some of our younger girls, but she is the sort of player we have to be really held accountable for.”
The loss sees the Demons fall to 3-5 this season, sliding to ninth on the VFLW ladder.
With only six games left in the year, Casey’s season is on the brink – a fact not lost on the co-captain.
“The heat is really on for us...we need to win the next three games,” Garner said.
“As a playing group, we are mentally really strong. We are going to get around each other and take the next three games head on, and we are not going to shy away from that.”
Casey will have its opportunity to get a much-needed victory when it hosts the Western Bulldogs in Round 10 at Casey Fields.
Currently one ladder position ahead, the Bulldogs will provide another difficult test for the Demons, with the match kicking off at 11.30am on Saturday 13 July.
CASEY DEMONS 1.2 1.5 2.7 4.9 (33)
MELBOURNE UNI 4.2 4.4 5.7 5.8 (38)
Zanker, Birch, Hore, Heath, Cordner, Garner
Hore, Birch, Zanker, Cordner