As they say, all good things must come to an end, and that was the deal for the Casey Demons’ winning streak on Saturday night, as they lost 7.12 (54) to the Giants 8.7 (55).
The Demons headed into the game with a six-and-zero record, whereas the Giants’ season had been a little more up and down - they’ve challenged some of the top eight teams, including a victory over second-placed Southport.
Under lights at Casey Fields in the middle of winter, a prime time game for both sides, anything could happen.
The Demons were quick off the mark in the opening quarter, kicking the first three goals before the Giants knew what was coming. Sam Weideman, Mitch White and Jimmy Munro all scored as Casey was relentless in its pressure on GWS.
The Giants got their first goal halfway through the first. Jake Bowey and Neville Jetta were brilliant in defence for the Demons though, and Munro's good form continued. At the end of the first quarter, the Demons had a handy 13-point lead.
It was the Giants who got the jump on the Demons in the second term, kicking the first goal. GWS were able to slowly work its way back into the contest before Weideman was awarded a free kick 15 metres out in front of goal, and he did not waste the opportunity.
George Grey kicked a fantastic crumbing goal and put the Demons up by two goals late in the second quarter, while Bowey continued to show his class down back and was in plenty of the action. Jetta and Aaron vandenBerg were also busy, and at halftime, the Demons were up by a goal.
Casey looked to gain more control early on in the third quarter, with several inside 50s. Despite being a little wasteful in front of goal, the Demons still seemed to trouble the Giants, especially when Weideman kicked his third of the night.
After that, the Giants woke up and kicked a reply before Jake Melksham snapped one from 45 metres to give the Demons a 15-point lead at the last break.
The Giants caught the Demons on the hop again in the last, kicking the first three goals of the quarter to take a three-point lead. Bowey proceeded to work hard in defence, while new recruit Kye Declase continued to impress.
Casey had its chances to take the lead back late in the quarter, with both Toby Bedford and Ryan Sparkes having shots on goal, but failing to convert. Time simply ran out and the Demons registered their first loss for the 2021 season.
“It was a tough night all around,” Casey Demons assistant coach Evan Panozza told Melbourne Media post-game.
“Credit to the Giants. They came prepared and with a game plan to execute and it took away our strengths.
“It was difficult for the boys to play that way. I thought we had our chances to put ourselves more in front in the first half, however, we didn’t take them.”
The Demons will now look to further improve their game after the upset on Saturday night, including working on the forward entires.
“No loss is good, but there’s plenty to take from that game,” Panozza said.
“Also in our connection going forward, there were a lot of high entries and rushed kicks into the forwards, and while we were able to get enough looks inside 50 we just couldn’t convert them tonight.”
Melbourne forward Weideman was one of the better players for Casey, gathering 21 disposals for the game, providing relief in the ruck and kicking three goals.
“He was really strong in the contest for us, and his presence and kicking three goals was a reward for his efforts,” Panozza said.
“Weideman is working really hard on his game and it’s great to see him get some reward that way.
“Neville Jetta had some great influence down back while Austin Bradtke had one of his better games with what we have been working on with him internally.
“So some of the guys can hold their heads up high, however, collectively in a group they probably feel let down with each other as a team.”
While the Demons will be bitterly disappointed with their first loss, they will learn and move onto this week’s game which is currently scheduled to be against Werribee on Saturday out at Chirnside Park.
The Tigers will be coming off the bye but before that, they had a five-point loss to North Melbourne which they will be looking to rectify.
Casey Demons 3.2 5.4 7.9 7.12.54
Essendon 1.1 4.4 5.6 8.7.55
Goals: 3 Sam Weideman, 1 Jimmy Munro, Jake Melksham, George Grey, Mitch White
Best: Sam Weideman, Aaron vandenBerg, Neville Jetta, Jimmy Munro, Jake Bowey, Kye Declase