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VFL Tigers advance to prelim final

VFL SF: Highlights Watch the highlights from the VFL semi final win over Casey.

Richmond VFL 19.14-128 def Casey 15.11-101

The VFL Tigers sealed a coveted preliminary final spot on Saturday, downing Casey by 27 points in a see-sawing contest at North Port Oval.

After Casey imposed themselves on the match with a solid first quarter, the VFL Tigers blew them out of the water with an eight-goal second quarter and established a 39-point lead by the main break.

While Casey fought back in then third and stayed competitive in the fourth, the damage had already been done, much to the delight of Richmond VFL and development coach Craig McRae.

“We knew Casey were a strong side around the contest,” McRae said.

“It was just about limiting their impact in that part of the game.

“Ideally, we don’t want to have to kick 19 goals to win, but it’s still a great result."


Anthony Miles provided yet another stellar performance at VFL level, reeling in 32 disposals, seven clearances and five tackles as he stood up to the immense pressure of Casey’s relentless midfield brigade.

Fellow usual suspects Sam Lloyd (23 touches, three goals) and Corey Ellis (22 touches, six clearances) were in typically inspired form, while Connor Menadue (16 touches, two goals) also provided excellent value.

Tyson Stengle was in inspired form in front of goal, nailing four majors to lead the scoring for the day, while Ben Lennon, Ben Griffiths, Shai Bolton and Shaun Mannagh scored two goals each in a dominant forward display.

From the opening bounce, it was clear Casey were keen to make amends for last week’s defeat to Williamstown, with the Demons applying intense pressure to every contest.

However, the stingy-stiff defence of the Tigers kept the lead from extending further than eight points, and thanks to three first-quarter goals from Stengle and one to Bolton, the VFL Tigers trimmed the deficit to two points at the first stop.

Tackling machines Jacob Ballard and Reece Conca were relentless in their efforts around the ground, with the former setting himself up to be the overall tackle leader at the end of the day with eight.

The VFL Tigers were then rewarded for their constant efforts, with a second quarter that ranked among their very best for the year.

Jayden Short, who was collecting plenty of ball running through the middle of the ground, snapped cleverly to get the ball rolling, before a quick-fire Lloyd double swung the momentum entirely in the Tiger’s favour.

Stengle, Griffiths, Menadue and Lennon then joined the scoring action as the lead ballooned out to 39 points by the main break, earning a standing ovation from the Tiger faithful at Fortburn.

However, the contest was far from over, and six consecutive Casey goals trimmed the margin from 61 to 26 by the final break.

With the match in the balance, 23rd man Mannagh took the contest by the scruff of the neck, moving into a tagging role on the dangerous Jay Kennedy-Harris and keeping the Dees ball magnet quiet.

Just for good measure, Mannagh then went forward and nailed two majors of his own, consolidating the lead and halting Casey’s late charge.

Lloyd’s third and a Bolton screamer on the siren was the icing on the cake for Tiger fans, who now have two sides into preliminary finals in the AFL and VFL.

Short finished well to record 23 touches four marks and three tackles, while his superb efforts were backed up by VFL Captain Sam Darley (14 touches, three tackles, five rebound-50s) and the ever-reliable Shaun Hampson (50 hitouts), who performed strongly in the ruck against the Demon’s Jake Spencer.

Next week’s preliminary final will be fought out against the Box Hill Hawks, with the match scheduled for a 2:40pm start on Saturday at North Port Oval.