A percentage-boosting win was on the menu on Thursday night, as the Casey Demons ran out comfortable winners 19.17 (131) to 3.6 (24) against North Melbourne.
The Demons came into the match at Marvel Stadium as favourites, taking on bottom-placed North Melbourne, and the result saw them continue the great start to their 2021 campaign.
Although Melbourne forward Ben Brown got the call up to the AFL after kicking seven goals over the past two rounds, Casey welcomed Kade Chandler and James Harmes, who was returning from a wrist injury, into its side.
The first few minutes of the opening quarter saw plenty of the ball moving around the ground between both sides, but the Demons quickly started gaining momentum when Sam Weideman kicked Casey’s first goal.
Kade Chandler and James Munro also chimed in with goals of their own while Weideman added a second to his name. The Demons peppered the goals again late in the quarter but failed to convert any more majors, and took a 28-point lead at the break.
Tom Sparrow was busy early gathering 11 possessions while Deakyn Smith and Tom McCaffery had six each.
In the second quarter, Casey came out firing with a goal in the first 30 seconds to Harmes. The Dees looked in total control of the game and the young Kangaroos just did not have the answers.
Sparrow added another seven possessions to his name while vice-captain Munro was strong around the ground with 17 possessions.
Weideman added his third goal of the game just before half time and the Demons took a healthy 54-point lead into the main break, which included 35 inside 50 entries.
North Melbourne provided a little more fight throughout the third quarter kicking two goals, however, the Demons were still able to flex their muscles.
Weideman added his fourth while Zac Foot was dangerous roaming forward 50 and delivered a superb crumb and goal.
Sparrow continued to lead the possession count at three-quarter time, but it was Harmes who gathered a quarter-high 11 disposals. Casey was clearly in the box seat and looked to win the game with a commanding 62-point lead.
After the three-quarter time break, Casey continued its dominance with control of the ball around the ground.
Skipper Mitch White kicked two early goals, with Harmes adding his second to his name.
George Grey was pulling out the party tricks with a kick at goal over his head while Chandler capped off a terrific night, kicking a major after the siren to push Casey’s winning margin to 107 points.
Sparrow ended the game on 31 disposals, which included 17 kicks, nine marks and 14 handballs, while Harmes had a great return from injury with 27 disposals, which included nine tackles and two goals.
It was a dominant display by the Demons, certainly announcing their mantle hold as one of the teams to beat in season 2021.
Melbourne Media spoke with backline coach Evan Panozza post-game.
“It was a big challenge for the group coming off a five-day break against Richmond last Saturday,” he said.
“For the guys to turn that around and put out the performance they did was really pleasing.”
The Demons were strong around the ball and for a side who won by over 100 points, were leading the tackle count 79 to 52.
“We’ve played Box Hill and Richmond, who are highly competitive teams,” Panozza said.
“North Melbourne are very a one-on-one contested (type side) and tackling is an area we really value, as it’s a good barometer for us that our contest is really strong.
“We had more tackles again tonight, reflecting in the way we play and transition the ball. It is a credit to the team that our defensive work is really high at the moment.”
Next week Casey takes on Sydney for the first time in the club's history, and it will also be the Demons’ first home game of the 2021 season.
It’s shaping up to be an interesting encounter for them, as the Swans will also be looking to add to their victory tally.
Casey Demons 4.6 8.9 11.12 19.17.131
North Melbourne 0.2 0.3 2.5 3.6.24
Goals: 4 Sam Weideman, 3 Zac Foot, 2 James Harmes, Mitch White, Kade Chandler George Grey, 1 James Munro, Fraser Rosman, Corey Machaya, Toby Bedford
Disposals: Tom Sparrow 31, James Harmes 27, James Munro 23, Jake Bowey 23
Next Game: Sunday 9th May - Round 4 v Sydney @ Casey Fields, 11:05 am