A YOUNG yet courageous Casey Demons side has been outclassed by Richmond losing by 35 points on Saturday afternoon at the Swinburne Centre.
After letting the home side run out to a 26-point lead at the end of the opening term, Casey attempted to claw back the deficit in the third quarter and looked to have the momentum in the match heading into the fourth quarter.
But a final quarter flurry of goals by the VFL premiership favourites displayed they were a class above today and made the Demons dreams of finals football harder to achieve.
Casey Demons 6.7 (43) defeated by Richmond 12.6 (78).
With the Richmond club enjoying a stellar run of injury-free football this season, it meant the home side trotted out a team filled with AFL-level talent, while Casey fielded one of its youngest sides of the season to date, with names like Nick Lowden, Matthew Gahan and Austin Bradtke still early in their Demons careers, resulting in what was always going to be a tough task for the red and blue.
The task got even tough after Casey lost veteran Jimmy Munro late in the second quarter to what appeared to be an injury to his ribs, with the midfielder leaving the ground with the trainers.
But despite their inexperience, the Demons fought their way back in the contest during a surging period in the third term where the team started playing with the freedom and movement which signifies the Casey way of football, but the industry couldn’t be sustained with Richmond running over the top.
“We just need to take our chances,” head coach Sam Radford told Melbourne Media post-game.
“I thought in the second and third quarters, we had the run of play but we just weren’t able to capitalise… When you play a quality team, if you don’t put scoreboard pressure on them.
“Then it’s just a matter of time… Before they hit the scoreboard [themselves].”
One of the shining lights for the Demons on a gloomy afternoon was the play of Marty Hore.
In his second game with Casey, the Melbourne defender is showing he is a class above the VFL when patrolling the Demons backlines, recording 13 first-half disposals before going on to finish with 34 possessions for the match, in a game which should see his name in the selection mix come Thursday night.
Another standout against the big bodies of the Richmond midfielders was Billy Stretch.
Working his way back from a nagging foot injury, Stretch showed he is on the track back to his best form recording 23 disposals and providing drive for the Demons along the wings.
“I thought our backs were solid after quarter time,” Radford said.
“Marty played a good game, Billy down back early was good, and Declan Keilty was really strong in the air down back.”
But their efforts weren’t enough to help Casey compete with the league-leading Richmond side, but Radford was pleased with the learning experiences for his youngsters.
“I was happy with some of the games of some of the young Casey boys,” Radford said.
“I thought Nick Lowden, who had been playing at his local club for a while, came in and made an impact up forward.
“Jack Hutchins was really good up forward… But it definitely hurt losing Jimmy before half-time.
“Jimmy was going really good again.”
One impressive youngster was Lowden, in only his sixth VFL match, the 19-year-old had the best game of his career, finishing with 13 disposals and booting two goals, including a tremendous set-shot from deep in the pocket to open the scoring for the Demons.
The game should see him press for another run in the final two regular season games of the Casey season.
With the loss, the Demons sit in ninth place on the ladder, two points out of the top eight and finals football, but the coach’s main focus on his side improvement.
“We talked about we want to keep improving,” Radford said.
“We are not focused on the ladder, and results we will see what happens… But it is just about improving about everything we do.
“Whether that is extra recovery, extra skills, making everything quality in what we do, so we don’t drop off one bit.”
Next week the Demons will head to the iconic Victoria Park to face Collingwood on Sunday in Round 19, looking to get back to the decisive and free flowing football when the Demons are at their best.
CASEY DEMONS 1.1 3.3 4.6 6.7 (43)
RICHMOND 5.3 7.4 8.5 12.6 (78)
Hore, Stretch, Keilty, Lowden, Hutchins, White
Lowden 2, Munro, White, Lockhart, Bedford