Demons slayed by silky Suns

Andy Moniz-Wakefield kicked an important goal for Casey in the third quarter. 325648 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

A trip north to the Gold Coast brought welcome sunny skies for the Casey Demons amid wintry Melbourne conditions…but not four VFL premiership points.

In a contest between two preliminary finalists of 2022, who both appear to be there or thereabouts again this season, the Suns were able to keep a resilient Casey outfit at bay during the second half to record a 20-point victory 17.10 112 to 13.14 92.

Casey made the better start of the two sides kicking four goals to two in the opening term and holding a 12-point lead at quarter time.

It would have been six points, if not for a clever play from Ben Brown, who faked having a set shot on goal to find his 2021 Melbourne premiership teammate in Charlie Spargo on his own in the pocket, who marked on the siren and kicked truly afterward.

But the second quarter saw the Suns begin to flex their muscle and show why they find themselves towards the top of the ladder in the VFL competition, as they kicked six goals to the reigning premiers’ two.

Their contested marking forwards in Sam Day, Chris Burgess and Joel Jeffrey were proving problematic for the Casey key defenders and their halfback line and midfielders forced repeat inside 50 entries to keep the pressure on.

A goal to Alex Sexton at the 26 minute mark resulted in the Suns retaking the lead after a handful of swings back and forth during the quarter as they headed to the rooms at half time with a seven-point advantage.

The Suns established a 21-point lead halfway through the third term as their ground level forwards began to reap the rewards of their hardworking keys in the forward 50.

But as quickly as they established a gap, the Demons were able to respond.

Three goals in five minutes to Oliver Sestan, Bailey Laurie and Andy Moniz-Wakefield snapped the margin back to three points at the 20 minute mark of the quarter, with the contest well and truly there to be won.

Casey lifted their intensity in the forward half of the ground, no better articulated than Moniz-Wakefield’s repeated efforts leading to a scrappy goal from the pocket, and Laurie’s strength at the stoppage resulting in a classy snap finish.

Gold Coast kept finding the answers, however and entered the last quarter ahead by 17.

Fresh off his bag of five last week in Wonthaggi, Jake Melksham kicked the all-important first of the last quarter.

A strong intercept mark from Adam Tomlinson launched a counter attack from the Casey defensive 50, where Melksham followed-up his one-on-one win with his opponent to kick truly on the run from 50 out.

He kicked his second in the 19th minute of the quarter, but by that stage in the contest the margin had reached its match-high of 34 points.

Casey weren’t without their chances in the final quarter, having seven shots on goal, but only kicking three, as the hosts closed the contest with a 20-point lead.

Brown kicked three, to ensure his name is in contention to replace the potentially suspended Jacob van Rooyen in the Melbourne side, who was handed a two-game suspension on Sunday.

Laurie was at his consistent best with 25 disposals and a goal, while Spargo was not far behind on 22 and one.

The Demons sit fourth on the VFL table after seven rounds, and get the chance to recharge the batteries with a bye next week.