Casey Scorpions have secured the last place in the Peter Jackson VFL top eight after a 17 point win over Coburg in round 19 at Piranha Park. The win also ended Coburg's late run for a spot in the finals with Nick Carnell (above), the club's longest serving captain, chaired from the field playing his final game at home following the announcement of his retirement at season's end.
Casey led by just four points at three-quarter-time but had the better of the Lions in the last term booting five goals to three to record a 17.9.111 to 14.10.94 win. The Scorpions tall timber providing the firepower up forward with Jake Spencer (19 disposals) and Tim Smith booting four goals each and Mark Jamar three while for Coburg Lachlan Johns kicked three and two each to Daniel Younan and Dion Hill.
The smell of finals was in the air with spring around the corner at Piranha Park; the Lions looking to extend their winning run to five and keep their top eight hopes alive; however it was the Scorpions who began well kicking the first four goals of the match. Smith was on fire for the Scorpions booting three first quarter goals and providing a highlight with a hanger midway through the term.
Coburg lifted in the second quarter thanks to Carnell, Nathan Thomas and Daniel Venditti (24 disposals) doing most of the work around the midfield. The Lions defence stood firm holding Casey goalless as the home side piled on six themselves. Dion Hill kicked two in the term and staked a claim for mark-of-the-year with a huge pack mark at the scoreboard end; the lions leading by 21 points at half-time - 9.6.60 to 6.3.39.
Coburg ruckman Tom Goodwin battled manfully against the more experienced Jamar and Spencer around the ground but where it hurt the Lions was when the Scorpions pair parked themselves deep in the forward line. Spencer booted two third quarter goals to help the Scorpions get back in the match as they hauled in the Lions lead. Jordy McKenzie was lively and Matt Jones (26) busy around the packs and when Matthew Rennie marked strongly and converted right on three quarter time Casey were in front 12.6.78 to 11.8.74.
Spencer and Jamar continued their dominance in the final term, both booting two goals as the Scorpions increased their lead to 30 points nearing time-on. A couple of late goals for the Lions narrowed the margin but it was too little too late and their run towards the top eight was over.
Coburg has shown much improvement in season 2015 and coach Peter German can be well pleased with his side's performance. They travel to Eureka Stadium for their final round clash against an in form North Ballarat who will be looking to send off coach Gerald Fitzgerald in style.
For the Casey Scorpions, coach Justin Plapp was a relieved man in the sheds after the game but knows his side will need to improve their work rate should they wish to go deep in the finals. They finish off the home-and-away season with a trip to Trevor Barker Beach Oval for a final round clash with Sandringham with the Zebras looking to hold onto second spot and a home final.
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