8 In A Row For Seagulls
AT quarter-time with his club staring at an eighth consecutive finals loss, stretching back five seasons, and with the scoreboard reflecting a scoreline of before the game started, Casey Scorpions coach Brett Lovett didn’t mince his words.
“The intensity is pathetic,” fumed Lovett. “It’s a final, wake up.”
Lovett’s impassioned plea fell largely on deaf ears as the Scorpions were unable to make any impression on a more committed, disciplined and determined Williamstown.
Casey could not gain any momentum and therefore was not able to apply any scoreboard pressure as they repeatedly overused the ball while Williamstown seized on most of the opportunities.
The Seagulls posted its eighth successive win as they ended Casey’s season with an 11.9 (75) to 5.8 (38) victory which advanced them to a Preliminary Final against arch rival Port Melbourne.
It seemed the football godss conspired against Casey well before the match as several Melbourne players – Jake Spencer and Jack Fitzpatrick – were ruled out.
The Scorpions were forced to play seven players who had not played double digit senior VFL games and that inexperience told in trying conditions.
Compounding Casey’s woes, co-captain Kyle Matthews suffered concussion as a result of ‘friendly fire’ in the second quarter and did not re-appear.
And, later in the quarter when Evan Panozza’s misdirected a backwards pass into the arms of Williamstown forward Fletcher Roberts, who converted from 20 metres, the Scorpions season was effectively over.
At that point, Williamstown had kicked four goals while Casey was still searching for its first. Melbourne rookie Jai Sheahan finally kicked the Scorpions first goal at the 26-minute mark of the second quarter.
Williamstown did not allow Casey to get back into the game after half time. Western Bulldogs Matt Panos, Patrick Veszpremi and Tom Hill kicked the first three goals of the third quarter.
When Jordan Gysberts, one of just six Melbourne players in the Scorpions team, goaled at the 19-minute of the third quarter, Casey still had a pulse.
But, Ed Carr and Veszpremi effectively administered Casey’s last rites for season 2012 with the last two goals of the quarter.
As valiantly as Casey tried to rally, young Williamstown defenders Jack Charleston and Jack Frost continued their outstanding final series to repeatedly repel the Scorpions.
Casey could find no cohesion and its continual reluctance to use the first decision proved costly as they continually squandered opportunities.
While Williamstown received good value from its contingent of seven Bulldogs players, particularly Veszpremi and Panos, who combined for six of the Seagulls 11 goals, it was the Seagulls core senior group, which led the way.
Captain Ben Jolley, former Scorpion dual best and fairest winner James Wall and Brett Goodes showed why they are held in such high respect from their peers and VFL community.
All three showed just how final’s football is played and what’s needed when the conditions were as unfavourable as they were at Casey Fields.