Preview: Bendigo vs Casey Scorpions
Round 16 generates a thrilling challenge for the Bendigo Gold and Casey Scorpions when they go head to head at Windy Hill in the Peter Jackson VFL ABC TV Match of the Round.
Bendigo approaches this contest full of confidence having won six games on the trot by an average of 38 points. Coach Hayden Skipworth suggests that recent form has been a collective team effort with all players taking the necessary steps to succeed.
“I've been impressed with the improvement of the younger Essendon listed players and the consistency of the VFL listed players and the more experienced AFL players.
“One of our strengths is that we don’t rely on individual players to win games of football. Bellchambers, Ladson, Shinners, Lee, Browne, Little, Slattery and Colyer were all the better players last weekend. “
The Gold, currently sit 5th on the VFL ladder and possess concealed strengths with further additions left to bolster the team in coming weeks.
“We have Duscher, Collins, Schultz and Glassford still to return from injury.”
However, Bendigo will be without four key influencers in their game this weekend. Former Frankston Dolphin player Mark Baguley has been elevated into Essendon’s AFL line up to make his AFL debut, Tom Bellchambers will replace injured Patrick Ryder in the ruck, whilst Cory Dell’Olio and Scott Gumbleton will be strengthening the Dons forward line.
Bendigo’s recent success, particularly against an inform Werribee two weeks ago at Windy Hill, should provide the team with enthusiasm leading into their Round 16 contest against Casey.
“We have been taking confidence out of all of our wins. Werribee are a great team and it was a hard fought win. We have a big game against the inform team in the competition,” Skipworth said.
The second placed Scorpions enter this weekend in season high form, having knocked off reigning premiers Port Melbourne on Sunday.
Port Melbourne hit the ground running on the weekend leaving Casey in their wake. However, as Casey worked their way into the game, they were able to shift the momentum back in their favour, something that they had not been able to do the week beforehand. Coach Brett Lovett was impressed by their overall endeavour.
“I thought we performed well in the first term, but every time Port Melbourne went forward they scored. Our intensity and effort was there and after half time we started winning through the centre of the ground.
“Brad Green was an influential part of our success, kicking 6 goals and getting plenty of the ball.”
Ruckman Jack Fitzpatrick initiated the Scorpions run amassing 25 effective hitouts against Port Melbourne.
However, it was Nathan Page that had everyone scratching their heads, wondering who was donning the number 27 guernsey. Page kicked an influential goal in the final term and laid numerous important tackles. Lovett provided a bit of an insight into the local Berwick boys story.
“This was Nathan’s second senior VFL game. He played the week before against Werribee and was named in our top three players which earnt him a recall against Port.
“Before three quarter time, Page had only played 50 percent of the game so we knew he had fresh legs. He is a live wire and provided us with a lot of energy in the final term. I don’t think Port Melbourne knew anything about him so he was able to fly under the radar and produce a few crucial plays.”
Casey met Bendigo in Round 4 this year where the Scorpions experienced an astonishing 71 point loss.
“We were only a few games into the season and I think we had a bad day. We got ahead of ourselves after a few good wins and underestimated Bendigo and they did not have many AFL listed players on the day. We lost the clearances 55 to 29 which is a big part of our game.
“We will be a lot better prepared this weekend and know that they will be fielding a strong side,” Lovett said.
Casey will also encounter losses due to the elevation of players into the AFL. Brad Green will be promoted after impressive on-field form and exceptional leadership.
Former Collingwood VFL player, Thomas Couch will be making his AFL debut for Melbourne after polling 25 possessions and four goals on the weekend.
This ABC TV Match of the Round is shaping up to be an enthralling contest which will be determined by each team’s capability to manage recent changes to their side.