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THE Bendigo Gold slumped to a 129-point defeat at the hands of the Casey Scorpions on Saturday.
The Melbourne-aligned Scorpions tore the Gold apart, winning 23.11 (149) to 2.8 (20)
“It was a combination of a young, inexperienced group being outmuscled and outplayed mixed with some genuine fatigue,’’ Bendigo Gold coach Aussie Jones said.
“Even some of our more experienced players are starting to feel the bite of 17 or 18 VFL games compared to a season at local level.”
Casey somewhat arrogantly won the toss and kicked into a five-goal breeze.
It mattered little as the Scorpions kicked five goals to one.
The Gold’s best quarter of the game was the second term as they restricted Casey to just 3.3 with the breeze and added one goal into the wind.
However, the second half was a nightmare for the Gold, with Casey kicking 15.8 to 0.4.
“Casey are a pretty tough outfit. Some of their good players showed some of our players, who probably think they’re going okay, that they’ve still got a long way to go,’’ Jones said.
“Players like David Rodan and Max Gawn, who are struggling to get a game at Melbourne, really dominated against us.”
Melbourne-listed midfielder James Magner had a day out for Casey, collecting an astonishing 51 possessions.
“Casey’s stats across the board would have been enormous...we just couldn’t get our hands on the footy,’’ Jones said.
“James (Magner) set up a lot of them. I know him quite well and he gave me a thumbs up after the game..I knew why, it was because he had 51 touches and destroyed us.”
Jones said his players must learn to start games at a higher intensity.
“This is where some of my frustration comes from,’’ Jones said.
“Our good is really good, but for the second week in a row we started really poorly but bounced back in the second term.
“We changed our warm-up to try and get things a bit different before the game, but it didn’t work.
“That’s why I put the big margin down to the back end of a long year.”
It was the same old names in the best players for the Gold, with Alik Magin, Jake Aarts and skipper Steven Stroobants winning plenty of the ball.
Teenager Sam Heavyside did his AFL draft chances no harm, with his second-straight impressive performance.
“Magin was unbelievable, Aarts had six tackles in the second quarter alone,’’ Jones said.
“Heavyside was good again. He’s smart, wins the footy, uses it well and doesn’t get flustered.”
The Gold’s final game of the season is this Friday night at the QEO against top side Geelong.
The Cats, who had a thrilling win over Port Melbourne on Saturday, are coached by former Essendon and Bendigo Bombers mentor Matthew Knights and their side could include triple AFL premiership player Paul Chapman.
Troy Selwood is an unlikely starter for Geelong this Friday after suffering a knee injury against Port Melbourne.