VFL – ROUND 6
THERE is no better way to head into the bye than with a late-game surge as Casey Scorpions showed on Saturday night against Richmond VFL.
With a balmy day turning into a chilly evening at Casey Fields – following the South East Football Netball League’s double-header interleague clash against Sunraysia FNL – the last match on the card proved to be a belter as the Scorpions rallied to knock off the hard-hitting Tigers by 44 points.
Don’t let the final scorecard fool you thought – it was a match in the balance until Casey broke free in the last 15 minutes.
Casey had to toil throughout the night in the slippery dew-heavy conditions as it could never quite attain a stranglehold on the match.
Richmond fought back through the third term to cut the deficit to 14 at the final change, with former Beaconsfield player Jake Aarts (two goals) hitting the scoreboard.
Coach Justin Plapp implored his charges at the final break to focus on their “blue collar” roots – crack in, get the hard ball and muscle their way to victory.
He would’ve been nervous up in the dimly lit coaches box as the Tigers went on an early rampage.
The visitors brought the margin back to nine points in the opening minutes of the last term, but from there it was all one-way traffic as Casey relished the hard ball.
The likes of Eddie Morris, Will Petropoulos and Dean Terlich ran through walls to set up the Scorpions’ deadliest counterattack.
Goals to Tim Smith, Bayley Fritch and Petropoulos expanded the gap before Gawn finished the job with two late majors in the 15.13 (103) to 8.11 (59) victory.
Dean Terlich proved his chops as he patrolled the defensive end ably while Alex Neal-Bullen, Viv Michie, Mitch White and Max Gawn all raised a hand for AFL selection.
Jack Hutchins was the best of the VFL-listed players – roaming the back line in tandem with Oscar Mcdonald to keep the pill away from Richmond.
Plapp was pleased to knock over the standalone Tigers and have a consistent performance from every Scorpion out there.
“They’re a standalone club and have some talent, but I mentioned to the boys then we had a lot of blokes that won their position,” Plapp said. “We didn’t have any passengers – and that’s more like a Casey-style of footy and a real blueprint for the style we want to play.
“Really happy with the boys and they should be really proud of their efforts.”
Clamping down on the Tigers after a couple of defensive errors resulted in Richmond goals, Casey’s back six stood up and readjusted when it was needed most of all as Hutchins and White repelled with aplomb.
“It was more structurally that they got through us and we adjusted to some positioning of our defenders,” Plapp said.
“They always like that run-and-gun type of game and we just adjusted structurally and it worked pretty well for us and to the boys’ credit, they really found a way to get it done.”Third gamer Bayley Fritsch (three goals) made the most of his crumbing opportunities up forward as he jagged his first bag in the VFL and most importantly, also copped a drenching from his team mates after a cold but stirring rendition of the Scorpions’ refrain.
Also standing up was tall prospect Jordan Moncrieff – who booted two goals to push Casey back ahead when it was needed most of all.
The only downside to the win was a head-knock to Mark Jamar – potentially ruling the Melbourne ruckman out in the short-term.
With a 3-3 record earning the Scorpions fifth place on the VFL ladder, Casey has the weekend off with a bye before hosting Collingwood on Saturday 6 June from 2pm.