Box Hill secured its first VFL win over Casey in five years with a 41-point victory at Casey Fields on Sunday afternoon.

In his team’s first game of the year, coach Zane Littlejohn was proud of the performance.


“It was a really great first-up performance from everyone,” Littlejohn said.

“The even contribution was probably the highlight of the day and made the game very pleasing.”

Littlejohn also reviewed each AFL-listed player who featured on the day while also giving a few VFLW shout-outs.

Harry Morrison (28 disposals, 10 marks, four clearances)

“Harry played on the wing and was solid. As I’ve previously mentioned with Harry, he has great leadership, uses the ball well and makes good decisions. What stood out for us was the way he was able to defend the ground and his ability to defend in our system. It definitely helped us keep the ball in our front half. His footwork and his ability to get up and set up around the ground was important.”

Henry Hustwaite (24 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, eight clearances)

“Henry used the ball well and was really tough. Henry was one of the leaders in our midfield throughout the day along with our captain ‘Ports’ (Cal Porter), which set the scene to start the game. He was tough and got us territory, he got the ball in our front end and we were able to keep it there and score. Henry’s footwork and stoppage craft was a highlight.”

Sam Butler (Three goals, 21 disposals, seven marks)

“Sammy had a nice day and a balanced game. He could have finished with five goals but just missed a couple of easier shots that he would like to have again no doubt, but it was a nice return to form for Sammy. He probably hadn't been playing the footy he would have liked to have been playing in our practice games so for him to return to form this weekend against quality opposition as well was good.”

Ethan Phillips (21 disposals, 15 marks)

“It was Ethan’s first official game in brown and gold. He did what we know he can do. He just patrolled the back end for us and had some good matchups at times on players like Tom Fullarton. It was a great first-up effort from Ethan – he was a real leader down back and now it’s about continuing to be consistent in his role.”

Jai Serong (20 disposals, nine marks, five tackles)

“Jai’s been in some good touch of late. He played on some key players like (Tom) Fullarton, (Josh) Schache and (Will) Verrall when he went forward, so some good AFL-listed players. But the thing that I was really impressed with, and I know Jai has been working hard on this, is his disposal. He had 20 disposals at 100 per cent efficiency with 15 kicks, five handballs and five tackles, so for one of your key defenders or third tall defenders to play a vital role and contribute like that is a great reward.”

Josh Bennetts (17 disposals, eight marks)

“Josh Bennetts could have had a really nice day. He had 17 disposals but unfortunately kicked three behinds. His work rate was great and his reliability to play his role was again a standout. He brought some pressure too. He’ll watch the tape with (Development Coach) Arryn Siposs and no doubt continue to refine that small forward craft inside 50 because we know between the arcs, he’s very damaging for us.”

Lloyd Meek (2 goals, 26 hit-outs, 15 disposals, six marks)

“Lloyd Meek was very dominant and set the scene from the first centre bounce. He controlled the air, not just in the ruck, but around the ground. The stats will say he's only taken six marks but a lot of those would have been in the first quarter and his ability to just control the air and give us energy and allow us to keep the ball in our front half was really pleasing so full credit to him in that space.”

Bodie Ryan (15 disposals, seven marks)

“It was Bodie’s first official game in the brown and gold and I think what our supporters and fans will see, they’ll really like. He was tough, he used the ball well and put himself in some good positions. The biggest growth for Bodie moving forward will be around his defence and understanding how to defend within the system that we want to play in but also being able to get his one-on-one job done when it's required, so he's working hard on that. He's a great kid, coachable and he’s got great attributes to really grow as a young footballer, so hopefully we can see Bodie continue to grow and develop strongly.”

Seamus Mitchell (14 disposals, eight marks)

“Seamus had great dash and used the ball well. He's had only the 14 disposals, but he’s gone at 93 per cent efficiency. There were some tough moments from Seamus where we just saw him give a contest where he just had to put his body on the line. He was on limited minutes but he’s slowly getting back to full game time which is great.”

Max Ramsden (One goal, 13 disposals, seven marks)

“Max Ramsden could have had a day out where he could have arguably kicked five or six goals and have a solid day. He finished with one goal and seven marks, three of them contested though, which is what we're loving seeing. He’s working hard on his contested marking with David Hale and Adrian Hickmott which is great. Although he only took three (contested marks), he wasn't out-marked once which was great and that's what we want to see from ‘Rama’ - a real balance between contested and uncontested possession. Probably the growth for ‘Rama’ was his, and he would be first to admit this, was probably his ruck craft around the ground. He probably didn't quite get the job done when he was in there, but I guess when you're a young developing tall playing forward and ruck, you've got to find a consistency to execute both roles but he was definitely able to fulfill his role as a forward.”

Bailey Macdonald (13 disposals, four marks)

“Bailey was on limited minutes, but we saw some great run and dash. The crowd got excited in the second quarter when he took off for a good run and carry. We were able to get a shot on goal off the back of it so some real excitement from Bailey. If we can see him continue on the trajectory that we saw him finish the year off last year, I think the fans should be excited about what Bailey can provide. What I love about ‘BMac’ is he's been able to put some real size on in the gym this year and that's a credit to Zane, our strength and conditioning coach and the work that Bailey’s done as well.”

Clay Tucker (One goal, seven disposals, five hit-outs)

“It was a quieter day for ‘Tuck’ but he was still able to hit the scoreboard, which is really important. He spent some time in the ruck as well. His ability to cover the ground and give us a contest when needed was a real improvement. It's about him being consistent this year at VFL level and shortening the gap between his best and his worst and we definitely feel that that's happening.”

Calsher Dear (Six disposals, four marks)

“Calsher had some good moments. What you’re going to get with young players is peaks and troughs in their game especially when it’s their first year of playing senior footy. 'Calsh' showed some good signs playing on the likes of Adam Tomlinson which was a great learning. He’ll work closely with Arryn Siposs to continue to develop his game, but you can't fault Calsher’s effort. He works hard up and down the ground, so it's just about him now being smart and like Clay, just becoming consistent and shortening that gap between his best and his worst footy.”

and some shout-outs for some VFL-listed players…

Cal Porter (22 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances)

“We knew that Casey prided themselves on their contest and along with Henry, I thought Cal Porter was exceptional with his contest work. It's a great return from our captain to lead from the front.”

Cal Brown (29 disposals, five marks, two clearances)

“Cal Brown started the game across half-back, but we moved him on-ball there just because we lost ‘Parso’ (James Parsons) early in the game. He’s a valuable member of our group and helps connect our AFL and Box Hill group."

Feature image taken by JM Sacchetta Photography.