WHILE Melbourne was stuck on a plane at Brisbane Airport on Saturday, awaiting news on its Round 20 match, the Casey Demons were busy facing the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs at Casey Fields.
It was a strong start to the game for the home side, who kept the Dogs goalless in the first term.
Unfortunately, this lead didn’t last long as Footscray put up a second-half onslaught, pushing them ahead of the Demons and ultimately giving them a 37-point win.
A limited number of Melbourne-listed players hit the track during Saturday’s match, with an extended squad chosen to travel to Queensland with the AFL side.
Speaking to VFL coach Mark Corrigan post-match, a number of players produced notable performances, including top performer Nathan Jones, who collected 29 disposals and a goal.
“He played well last week [in the scratch match], it didn’t take him long to get into his groove,” Corrigan said.
“This week, it was another consistent performance, he was good around the ball and was a really strong leader for us in a time when the game was challenging.
“I thought his ball use was good and calm but also his ability to give us the work rate required.”
Having spent nearly four weeks on the sidelines due to a calf injury, Corrigan said there seemed to be no indication that Jones had been out of the game for nearly a month.
“He was one of our more consistent performers over the four quarters, so that’s pleasing from him, given he’s missed a period of footy, it certainly didn’t show out there today.
“He’s still got his touch and it’s those little things that can often leave you when you’re not playing.
“So, he’s clearly been doing the work and it’s exciting that he’ll be pushing for selection sooner rather than later.”
Those playing behind the ball in defence were also clear standouts, with Neville Jetta and Jay Lockhart showing solid competitiveness throughout the game.
“You sort of know what you’re going to get from them each time,” Corrigan said.
“Even when we were challenged, they kept communicating really well, being great teammates and respecting each other, which is what you love to see from those two.
“Jay was really combative in the contest and read the ball really well in tricky conditions.”
Toby Bedford is another player who has seen recent form in the VFL, continuing to show up and put in the work.
“Every week Toby is really consistent in the way he approaches the game, and from an energy and effort level, you know what you’re getting from him every week, that never wanes,” Corrigan said.
“He was the same today, his tackling pressure was fantastic, and he got on the scoreboard which was really positive for him.”
Daniel Turner, who was drafted to the Dees at the Mid-Season Rookie Draft in June, has continued to improve and develop since joining the club, producing top performances in recent weeks.
“Turner was fantastic last week in the scratch match, he probably played his best game for the club,” Corrigan said.
“Today he did some really nice things too, he’s still learning the system in the back six and the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates, but he’s the ultimate competitor which you love.”
Kye Declase, who was drafted alongside Turner at the start of June, has seen a stint of consistency with Saturday’s game being no different, registering 28 disposals and a goal.
“Kye played a really consistent four quarters, up and down the wing,” Corrigan said.
“He certainly played his role, given it was a tough day and certainly stood tall for the full game.”
The Casey Demons are set to line up against the Northern Bullets this weekend for Round 17, with the VFL still yet to confirm details surrounding the match.