By Hayley Wildes
Courtesy of a stirring second-half performance, the Casey Demons overcame a slow start against the Northern Blues at Casey Fields on Saturday to record an impressive and important comeback win.
The Blues took their chances in the first half and the Demons didn’t; and that was the difference. Trailing by 13 points at the main break, 8.3 (51) to 5.8 (38), Casey had to dig deep and with stand-in skipper Jimmy Munro leading the way, the Demons turned that 13-point deficit into a three-point advantage at the final break.
With everything to play for as both teams battle for their finals lives, it was Casey that stood up.
With the game on the line, Toby Bedford slotted the opening goal of the fourth term to give the Demons some breathing room, but the Blues responded and when Casey kept peppering the goals and missing, Northern kept their noses in the game.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, the Demons led by four points. That lead was built upon when Liam Wale-Buxton slotted a major to give Casey a 13-point lead. Once again, Northern answered the challenge with a major but Casey’s skipper stood up at the death.
Munro topped off his stellar game as captain with a magnificent running goal from 50 metres out with just minutes left on the clock. The team got around him and the crowd stood as the Demons finally took care of the Blues after dominating play for much of the game.
Casey claimed a 13-point win, 11.19 (85) to 11.6 (72). The win – its fourth on the trot – keeps the Demons alive in the finals hunt. After 14 rounds, the Demons sit ninth with a 6-6 record; equal on points with Werribee and Geelong in seventh and eighth, respectively.
Jimmy Munro (25 disposals and two goals), James Jordon and Corey Maynard (25 disposals each) were all sublime around the contest, while James Wagner (23 disposals) and Jake Lever played vital roles.
Despite the tight scoreline, the Demons were the better team on the day and had they kicked straight in front of goal, the margin would’ve better reflected their dominance.
The race for finals heats up again on Sunday with Casey taking on third-placed Footscray from 11.50am at Marvel Stadium. The game is a curtain-raiser to the AFL clash between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs and it should be a great battle between two teams desperate to keep winning as the business end of the season nears closer.