CASEY fell to its third straight loss, this time at the hands of Geelong by 29 points on Saturday at GMHBA Stadium.
The inexperienced Demons side struggled with the Cats aggression and their bigger bodies and were outplayed in the contest.
Maddy Guerin, Kaila Bentvelzen and Nicole Garner were the standouts in a tough day on the park.
DISPOSALS: Guerin 19, Bentvelzen, Emonson 17, Cordner, Jakobsson 15
GOALS: Cordner, Emonson, Johnson, Speedy
Eight changes makes for a tough task
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 names of Melbourne AFLW stars such as Libby Birch, Sarah Lampard, Eden Zanker, Ainslie Kemp and Katherine Smith, resulted in the match-up giving opportunities for the next crop of Demons stars to showcase their talents on the field.
While there were glimpses of some outstanding link-up play and threatening to score when the Dees were in possession, Casey could not sustain the momentum and fell to the home side by 29 points.
Debutants, returning players, second-gamers
Saturday saw the beginning of their Casey careers for the three VFLW debutants including Georgia Speedy, Jess Smith and Anna Harris.
The trio each had their moment in the match, Smith forcing contests through the midfield, Harris setting up Casey’s last goal, and Speedy kicking a goal of her own in the second quarter.
Taryn Orgill made her season debut after returning from an injury she sustained last season, splitting her time in the ruck and in defence, Orgill played well finishing with 17 hit-outs but was put on report in the second quarter for a rough tackle on her Geelong opponent.
While second-gamers Tenille Nash and Harmony Thomas each looked more comfortable in their second outing in the red and blue jumper.
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Nicole Garner continues to evolve her game this season
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 and the praise of her coach.
Finishing with 12 possessions and six tackles, Garner continues to get better with each game this season and stepping up as a leader both on and off of the field.
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Geelong were too good at home yesterday, but our VFLW team put in a spirited fight in the match, led by our co-captain Nicole Garner who played an outstanding match to lift her side | Click the link in our bio to read the report | Presented by @wolfdene | #caseydemons #caseyfc #vflw #wolfdene
Under Siege: The Casey defence
One of the most impressive facets from the game for Casey fans was the performances of a young backline missing their leader AFLW star Sarah Lampard, which were as the coach described “under siege” for much of the contest.
Despite the 29-point margin, the result could have been much worse if players like Kaila Bentvelzen, Hannah Dyson and Casey Sherriff repelled the constant waves of Geelong attacks.
“Going into half time, Geelong had a lot of momentum,” Casey Demons head coach Keeping told Melbourne Media.
“Our defensive group really fought it out and found a way to compete.
“Some of their decisions resulted in really good ball movement going forwards.”
Chantel Emonson might be the Demons most valuable player
After returning to the Casey side after rotating out against Collingwood, Emonson instantly provided class to the Demons midfield. The savvy ball magnet racked up 17 touches on the weekend and recorded eight tackles in a solid outing.
In her five games with Casey, Emonson has averaged 15.2 disposals a contest, and if she continues this style of play, she will thrust her name forward as the Casey’s best and fairest through the first half of the season.
A word from the coach
“Today was a fantastic opportunity for the team to play on a ground like GMHBA and against a real high-quality opposition,” Keeping said.
“Geelong have strong bodies and they move the ball really effectively… I thought the quality of the game will be 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.”
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.
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.