A second-half onslaught saw Casey run away with a triumphant win over Sydney 12.13 (85) to 6.9 (45) on Sunday.
Leading into this game, the Demons were tested by a strong Geelong outfit and would’ve been no doubt looking to build on the one-point win. Sydney was sitting just outside the top eight and after a solid win against Collingwood, would’ve been up and about for this game.
It was a hot footy early on, with Sydney applying plenty of pressure in the first 10 minutes before Casey had a chance to enter its forward 50. The Demons were able to gain a little more control midway through the quarter.
It was looking like a goalless first term before Mitch Brown put through the Demons’ first major, just before the quarter-time siren, for Casey to take a five-point lead.
Sydney started the second quarter with repeat inside 50 entries and the first goal. The Swans backed it up with another after some sloppy play from the Demons.
Both sides again had the opportunity to apply scoreboard pressure, with Sydney having plenty of play in their forward half, keeping the Casey defence working overtime. The Demons then kicked the next two goals through George Grey and Mitch White and took back a five-point lead.
Toby Bedford slotted a goal from 50 metres and the Demons looked to gain some control momentarily. But the Swans had other plans, kicking back-to-back goals to take a one-point lead into half time.
Jay Lockhart was racking up the disposals for the Demons, with 14 at half time, along with Oskar Baker (13) and Jake Bowey (12).
The Swans started the third quarter in the same fashion as the second, scoring the first goal. They looked to have a little more control around the ball early on in the quarter before Bedford got one back and kicked his second of the game for the Demons.
The ball went back and forth between the 50-metre arcs before Casey vice-captain Jimmy Munro kicked a nice set shot goal giving the Demons a one-goal lead.
Kade Chandler also hit the scoreboard with a goal around the body from the boundary to extend the lead. The Demons started to gain plenty of momentum when Munro kicked his second goal, and at three-quarter time, they had a game-high 18-point lead.
Lockhart continued to lead the possession-getters with 21 touches, while Tom Sparrow had 20 and Baker had managed 18.
Casey started strong in the last quarter with White kicking a skipper’s goal, making it a 25-point buffer. Baker then extended the lead to 31 points with a set-shot goal.
The Demons just kept pressuring the Swans to make mistakes and were able to keep driving the ball forward - Nathan Jones kicking the sealer at the 18-minute mark of the quarter. Brown kicked his second goal late in the last before the Swans replied just on the final siren.
Baker and Lockhart both finished the game with 26 disposals, while Munro ended with 23 touches and two goals.
In what was a game of two halves of football, it was certainly great to see Casey rise to the challenge that had been set by the Swans at half time.
“It was a competitive first half,” Casey Demons VFL Backline Coach Evan Panozza said when speaking with Melbourne Media post-game.
“We know how Sydney play in the AFL, and we like to think our brand of football will stand up against opposition of AFL aligned teams, and it has.
“In the first half today, they came out really strong and they were fast, like to use their numbers and hit up a lot, so defence was a big focus for us and to shut down the uncontested marks.
After half time, it just seemed to go Casey’s way, as the Demons piled on seven goals to the Swans’ two.
“We talked about playing the Casey brand of football at half time, which we are known for and like to bring,” Panozza said.
“Tackle numbers and contested possessions are a real high priority for us and over the course of the second half, we were able to wear Sydney down and feel the physicality of our brand and what it’s like to play at Casey Fields.”
Panozza went on to highlight some of the standout contributors to the Demons’ win.
“Jimmy Munro keeps turning up in the midfield, he just thrives of the competitive games. That was certainly his best game from a number of weeks now,” he said.
“Oskar Baker on the wing had some really important run and connection from defence to mid and forward.
“Also, Mitch Brown up forward and Jack Hutchins, Corey Ellison and Austin Bradtke down back, all played strong in their positions and it looked good for us.”
Next week the Demons hit the road again with a Sunday afternoon game, for a tantalising matchup of first versus second on the ladder out at the kennel against Footscray. Like the Demons, the Bulldogs are yet to drop a game for season 2021.
The game will be broadcasted on channel seven from 12 pm.
Casey Demons 1.3 4.5 8.8 12.13.85
Sydney Swans 0.4 4.6 5.8 6.9.45
Goals: 2 Jimmy Munro, Toby Bedford, Mitch Brown, Mitch White, 1 Oskar Baker, Nathan Jones, Kade Chandler, George Grey
Best: Jimmy Munro, Oskar Baker, Jay Lockhart, Tom Sparrow, Toby Bedford, Mitch Brown
Next Game: Away v Footscray, Sunday 23rd May @ VU Whitten Oval 12:05 PM