Despite a powerful final quarter display, the Zebs were unable to bring home the four points for the inaugural Pat's Match.
Photography: Mark Woods
The sun made a cameo appearance as fans filled Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval for Sandringham's clash with Casey on Sunday. The Zebras looked threatening down forward and provided a high-pressure effort across all four quarters, however, the Demons ultimately proved too powerful following their near-one-hundred point victory over the Giants last weekend.
Our Saints-listed Zebras impressed all, headlined by Tom Campbell who amassed 25 disposals, 39 hitouts and twelve clearances, and was awarded the Pat Cronin Medal (best on ground) for the Zebras. Jack Bytel (30 disposals, 10 tackles, four clearances), Tom Highmore (24 disposals, nine marks) and Ben Paton (21 disposals, seven tackles) were all major contributors whilst Max Heath provided three goals.
Will Vesely debuted successfully, contributing seven disposals, two tackles and two clearances. Saints-listed Jack Hayes (14 disposals, four marks, six tackles) and Hunter Clark (26 disposals, two clearances) also performed well on their return from injury.
The game marked the first Pat's Match, supporting the Pat Cronin Foundation on their mission to 'Be Wise' and End the Coward Punch.
Campbell began the game how he finished - presenting strongly in the ruck from the first bounce. Isaac Keeler injected his class into the game in the sixth minute, providing the Zebs’ first major of the day after evading his opponent to send his checkside snap straight through the middle.
Tomo Owens impacted the game early with a great defensive spoil, whilst Darby Hipwell remained busy in the contest. Keeler continued to present strongly, bringing down a huge grab from just outside fifty around the thirteenth minute. Moments later, Hipwell was rewarded for an impressive chase-down tackle as he continued to influence the game.
Angus McLennan worked hard in the back half with his intercept work, providing an opportunity for Clark to propel a handball chain towards the forward fifty. Jake Lohmann and Olli Hotton were impressive in both their attack and defence whilst Max Heath remained ominous.
Off the back of hard work from Captain Anthony Seaton, we lifted our tackle pressure towards the end of the quarter - resulting in a goal for Jack Peris in the twenty-fifth minute.
The Zebs began the second quarter with the same intent as they finished the first, reflected through an impressive intercept mark from Highmore within the first thirty seconds.
Repeat inside fifties provided a chance for Keeler, who registered a minor score. Immense forward pressure allowed the ball to remain in our forward half, with Bytel receiving reward-for-effort in the form of a free kick in front of goal.
Despite converting a behind, Heath was able to intercept Casey’s kick-in to provide the Zebs with a well-deserved goal.
Peris performed a creative kick out of mid-air within the sixth minute, however only a minor score was able to come of the opportunity. The Zebras began to move the ball more efficiently and as such, earnt more time in our forward half.
Peris and Sam Latreille laid on the pressure at stoppages, whilst Campbell continued his strong ruck performance.
A brave smother from Owens in the twenty-fourth minute encapsulated the strong work-rate and efforts of the Zebras within the quarter, however, we were unable to damage the scoreboard prior to half time.
Clark injected the ball deep inside fifty to commence the third quarter with class, however Keeler was a mere moment away from getting his boot to the ball. As the Demons propelled the ball back into their own forward half, Zagari held his ground well, intercepting the ball with ease.
Hayes continued to impact the game with an impressive rundown tackle in the second minute, allowing Keeler to launch an inside fifty entry into the hands of the red-hot Campbell.
Hotton’s influence grew through his intercept work as the quarter continued, whilst a strong handball chain moments later off the back of Bytel allowed Hotton to lock the ball in and create another forward fifty stoppage. Heath capitalised on this opportunity, earning a free kick from the ruck contest to record a major score.
Despite pressuring the Demons’ defence with repeat inside fifty entries, the Zebras were unable to create further opportunities to score as Casey recorded a major against the flow of play.
James Van Es provided a classy save on the goal line, whilst Highmore continued his strong intercept game which has been integral for the Zebs all year.
Following yet another strong ruck contest from Campbell, Noah Gown began the final quarter with a much-needed goal as the worthy recipient of a fifty-metre penalty. The Zebras continued to create chances in our forward half, yet an increase in intensity on Casey’s behalf left scoring a challenge.
Vesely found himself with a chance to score in the seventh minute - off the back of Peris’ hard running - yet his snap slowly drifted for a minor score. Moments later, Peris mopped up a miss kick from Casey - providing a chance for Hotton who snapped truly.
Five minutes later, Seaton barrelled the ball inside fifty to a strongly-presenting Heath, who recorded a behind from a set shot. Van Es continued to provide the heat with his spoil eventually finding Latreille, who began to switch the play from half back.
In one of the better passages of play for the day, Tyson Milne then took the game on through the middle, finding Bytel who launched the ball inside fifty. Despite the outcome of a rushed behind, the attack was promising for Zebs fans who watched on from the Sautner Goal end.
A chance in the eighteenth minute saw Owens record a minor score, yet a free kick to Hipwell moments later provided a much-needed goal.
The Zebras’ late charge created another set shot opportunity for Heath, who found himself on the end of a classy kick from Latreille inside our forward fifty. Heath converted this chance - his third goal of the day.
Our intent and chase within the final quarter allowed us to finally capitalise on our chances, as we recorded only three less inside fifties than Casey and walked away winning the clearance count for the day.
Final Score: Casey Demons 12.15 (93) defeated Sandringham 8.11 (59)
Goals: M. Heath (3), Hipwell, Gown, Hotton, Keeler, Peris