The Casey Scorpions have advanced to the 2016 VFL Grand Final after a 12.13 (85) to 5.13 (43) victory over reigning premiers Williamstown on Sunday afternoon at North Port Oval.
After some early misses, it was vice captain Tim Smith who bended a brilliant goal from the boundary to open the account for the Scorpions 10 minutes into the match, before utility Declan Keilty, who started forward for Casey, marked strongly and made no mistake to give the Scorpions a quick 17 point lead midway through the first term. The ball then made it’s way into Lynden Dunn’s hands and from 55m out he roosted home a monster goal to give Casey the perfect start and after Tim Smith booted his second of the quarter, the Scorpions raced to a 29 point quarter time lead.
It was Williamstown who were able to get on the scoreboard first early in the second term, but that was quickly answered by the revelation up forward that was Declan Keilty. A big contested grab was finished off with his second major, before Clayton Oliver laid one of his 17 tackles in the match, pinning the Seagulls defender 30m out and consequently putting through his first of the afternoon to give Casey a 33 point advantage.
Play was stopped for a period in the second term as a tackle that saw him leave the field on a stretcher floored Christian Salem, arguably the best player on the ground at the time, and he took no further part in the game with concussion. After a 39 minute second quarter, the first half came to end with Casey in complete control, leading by 35 points, only allowing two goals to the Seagulls as Lynden Dunn and Jack Hutchins controlled the defensive fifty with precision.
The third term started at a slower pace, as both sides worked back into the game, but it was the Scorpions who piled on the pressure. First it was Development League B&F Oscar McInerney who skied for the contested grab and then booted his first, before Ed Morris sprinted off the bench after a rotation and intercepted the Seagulls rebound kick, slotting his first major and giving the Scorpions a 51 point lead, as Casey moved ever closer to booking that Grand Final spot.
At the final break, the Scorpions held a 43-point lead and in a slow final quarter, which saw only two goals registered between the two sides, Casey played possession football and soaked up time as the seconds dwindled down on Williamstown’s season.
The Scorpions ran away 42-point victors and moved on to the 2016 Peter Jackson VFL Grand Final to chase their first premiership since 1999.
Clayton Oliver was simply superb all afternoon. He finished with 24 disposals and a goal, but it was his pressure around the football and his tackling that was the most impressive part of his game. He laid an incredible 17 tackles, as he didn’t give the Williamstown midfielders an inch in his best on ground display. Defender Lynden Dunn played one of his best games for the season in the biggest game of the season to date. With 24 disposals, a goal and 12 marks, he controlled the defensive 50 for the full four quarters and kept his rotation of opponents quiet. He worked up the ground to help move the ball out of defense while also sneaking forward to kick a goal of his own in a fantastic display.
Once again Alex Neal-Bullen was the catalyst along with Oliver in the midfield. He finished with 30 disposals and gave his teammates clean possession all afternoon. It was another fantastic display from the talented midfielder, who’ll be a huge key in next weekends Grand Final against Footscray. Joel Smith showed his run and carry against Williamstown also. During the first term he tucked the ball under his arm and ran from halfback and delivered inside 50, a sign of things to come. He finished with 20 disposals and ran out the game strongly. While captain Jack Hutchins again lead his team brilliantly. In tandem with Dunn, he was a force in the defensive 50, and was a key reason Williamstown was only able to muster five goals for the match.
Tim Smith stood up when it counted in the first quarter as he put his mark on the match early. He finished with three goals, two coming in the first term where Casey looked to pounce on the Seagulls early. He took a number of high-flying marks and his 8 tackles were also outstanding, always pressuring the Williamstown defenders and never looking out of a contest.
Next week the Scorpions will travel to Etihad Stadium to face Footscray in the 2016 Peter Jackson VFL Grand Final from 3pm.
Box Hill have come away victors in the 2016 Development Grand Final, defeating Casey 26.16 (172) to 10.7 (67) at North Port Oval on Sunday afternoon. It was always going to be a tough contest for the Scorpions with Box Hill a team who were three games clear on top of the ladder during the season.
The Hawks got off to a quick start, booting seven goals to one in the first term and never looked back. Despite the score line, Casey was gallant and showed glimpses of their talent during the third quarter, but the Hawks pressure and spreading play were too good. Casey were able to equal the Hawks five goals in the final term, as they brought the margin back from 120 points at one stage to finish off strongly despite being out of the match early.
Jordan Moncrieff was solid in defense all game, finishing with 13 disposals and taking 9 marks and was best on ground with his defensive efforts, while Jake Di Pasquale was the leading ball getter for the Scorpions with 25 disposals, Kody Wilson picked up 21 touches and Max King booted 2 goals and was the only multiple goal kicker.