A SPIRITED but inexperienced Casey side has been defeated by Geelong by 29 points at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Casey Demons 4.3 (27) defeated by Geelong 8.8 (56).
Returning from the bye week with eight changes from the side which faced off against Collingwood in Round 5, the contest was always going to be a learning experience for the young Casey side.
Missing the names of Melbourne AFLW stars such as Libby Birch, Sarah Lampard, Eden Zanker and Katherine Smith, resulted in the match-up giving opportunities for the next crop of Demons stars to showcase their talents on the field.
“Today was a fantastic opportunity for the team to play on a ground like GMHBA and against a real high-quality opposition,” Casey Demons head coach Damien Keeping told Melbourne Media.
“Geelong have strong bodies and they move the ball really effectively… I thought the quality of the game was really good to watch.
“We have spoken after the game about the learning opportunities right across the group.
“But in particular, the three debutants, and the players back into the team.”
With three VFLW debutants including Georgia Speedy, Jess Smith and Anna Harris, Taryn Orgill playing in her first game of the season, and a number of the team still in their early Casey careers, it was always going to be a challenge to get the win on the immaculate GMHBA deck.
But it was co-captain Nicole Garner who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and turned in a near best on ground performance to try and get her team to the victory earning the praise of her coach.
“Some of the defensive efforts of Nic Garner, especially off of a wing, were outstanding,” Keeping said.
“She is growing as a player and I can’t wait to see the opportunities for her moving forward.
“Her leadership off of the field has grown significantly, now the decisions she is making on the field is of a real elite level.”
One of the most impressive facets from the game for Casey fans was the performances of a young backline missing their leader Lampard, which were the coach described “under siege” for much of the contest.
Despite the 29-point margin, the result could have been much worse if it wasn't for players like Kaila Bentvelzen, Hannah Dyson and Casey Sherriff who repelled constant waves of Geelong attacks.
“Going into half time, Geelong had a lot of momentum,” Keeping said.
“Our defensive group really fought it out and found a way to compete.
“Some of their decisions resulted in really good ball movement going forward.”
The resulting ball movement meant the Demons looked dangerous for long periods in the match, but the efforts could not be sustained across the four quarters in what was the most physical opponent and match Casey has played this season.
Now sitting at 3-3 on the year, and moving into the second half of the season, the Demons continue to be poised for a late-season surge towards the top of the VFLW ladder and the looming finals campaign, but next week will be the litmus test for Casey's title chances.
For next week the Demons head to Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo to take on a currently undefeated Richmond side on Sunday at 1pm in what will be Casey’s toughest challenge yet.
CASEY DEMONS 1.1 2.1 3.3 4.3 (27)
GEELONG 3.1 4.7 5.7 8.8 (56)
Garner, Guerin, Bentvelzen, Cordner, Emonson
Johnson, Speedy, Cordner, Emonson