THE Casey Scorpions are frustrated that their premiership bid is again threatened by AFL affiliate Melbourne pulling players out for end-of-season surgery as they look to prevent a straight-sets finals exit today in a semi-final against Williamstown.
Coached by Brett Lovett – who was named VFL coach of the year on Monday night – after guiding the Scorpions to a rare minor flag, Casey’s flag chances have significantly nose-dived.
A large number of its wins this season have been derived from Demon talent it has had available – including the now-retired Brad Green, Aaron Davey and Liam Jurrah, who all made strong appearances during this season.
”We haven’t had a great record [in finals] over the last few years,” Scorpions football manager Matthew Young said.
”It’s pretty much similar to what’s happened this year. We’ve played most of the season with 12 to 14 Melbourne guys and we get to finals and we don’t have many. But obviously this is another opportunity this week and we’re playing against Williamstown, who are in pretty much the same position as us.”
Williamstown has named seven Bulldogs-listed players, which is the least it has had for the season. If Casey gets past the Seagulls today at Casey Fields, it will meet Port Melbourne in a preliminary final.
Melbourne rookie Tom Couch is one of Casey’s AFL-listed players who has starred this season, manifested in his one-vote runner-up finish to Werribee’s Ben Ross in the J.J. Liston Trophy on Monday night.
The son of 1989 Brownlow medallist Paul Couch had to wait until round 16 to make his AFL debut when he played for Melbourne against Fremantle, which may have cost him the chance to win the award for best-and-fairest in the VFL.
”To a certain degree his loss for most of the season was our gain and eventually he got his opportunity and hopefully he’s grasped it and he’s able to stay on the list next season,” Young said.
Meanwhile, Hawthorn defender Stephen Gilham has been cleared of any serious injury after a strain to his calf while playing for Box Hill last week. Hawks development coach Damian Carroll said Gilham will be available for selection next week.
Semi-finals (selections in capitals)
Today: Casey v WILLIAMSTOWN, 2.10pm,
Tomorrow: Geelong v BOX HILL, 2.10pm,
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