VFL First Elimination Final - Casey holds on
By Travis Parnaby
The Casey Scorpions have erased the memory of last year's first round finals exit to defeat the Northern Bullants by just five-points at Casey Fields.
Bullants coach David Teague had the chance to take the lead from 50m at the 28 minute mark of the last term. But his torpedo fell short and Casey managed to lock-down for the win.
Casey coach Greg Hutchison was rapt with his side's effort.
"I thought we stuck at the task," he told 97.7FM 3SER Casey Radio.
"We train and prepare for another week now."
Hutchison praised the Scorpions tall timber of 100th gamer Michael Rix, Ben McEvoy and Michael Gardiner and said they had complemented each other nicley. Gardiner impressed with 16 possessions from 70 minutes game time.
Casey prime mover David Armitage (31 disposals and 10 tackles) was the catalyst all day and his inside work was a signpost that the Scorpions would not be cast aside easily.
Scorpion Jarryd Allen was the difference up forward with three goals and 12 marks while Casey defender Evan Panozza's tight checking of Teague in the last term was vital. This allowed Huitchison to deploy Matthew Ferguson to the forward line where he bobbed up for two crcucial goals.
Alex Silvagni, in just his second game back from injury, held Cain Ackland while James Wall (25 possessions) and James Taylor (20 touches) provided plenty of drive and dash from defence.
For the vanquished, Teague slammed through three goals while Joe Anderson stood tall in defence.
Demonstrating the closeness of the match, neither side's lead was bigger than 16 points at any stage.
The Bullants were first to the footy in the first quarter but would rue several missed goal scoring chances, kicking 4.4 to 4.1.
The Scorpions took the running in the second through ball winners Armitage, Jack Steven (26 possessions) and Jarryn Geary (29 disposals). Amazingly, the Scorpions piled on four goals in four minutes to shock the Bullants. Casey's ability to apply immense forward pressure saw it take a nine-point advantge into half-time.
The Bullants dictated terms in the third with coach Teague throwing numbers behind the ball to frustrate the Scoprions.
It resulted in the Scorpions travelling wide with the football and any scoring shots were taken from difficult angles. At the other end, the Bullants kicked 3.4 to establish an 11-point lead at the final change.
The game was up for grabs in the last with Casey's first goal cutting the deficit to just five points.
The Scorpions found a second purple patch to boot three successive majors, capped by a tremedous long-range effort from Brad Howard and did enough to hold on in the face of the bold Bullants.
Casey now plays Werribee Tigers in the first semi-final on Sunday, September 14 at TEAC Oval at 1.10pm.