2022 Col Austen Recap

Cal Porter has claimed top honours at the 2022 Col Austen Trophy, claiming a first Box Hill Hawks Best and Fairest in just his second season in brown and gold.

The rugged, hard working inside midfielder held off competition from forward Ben Cavarra and reigning winner Damian Mascitti to win a thrilling count by four votes.

Hosted by Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann at the MCG on Thursday night, the event marked the first public staging of the Col Austen Trophy since 2019 and just the second awarding of the trophy and associated Club awards in that period following 2021’s virtual event.

In all, there were 10 awards handed out on the night, recognising the on and off-field contributions of the Box Hill Hawks family across the 2022 season.

Porter and spearhead Fergus Greene were the busiest in the room, walking away with three awards apiece.

In addition to the Col Austen Trophy itself, Porter was a worthy recipient of the A.P Dickinson Memorial Trophy, awarded to Box Hill’s outstanding club person and tied Greene to win the President’s Award, given to the Box Hill Hawk who polls the most votes in the league’s fairest and best award, the J.J. Liston Trophy. 

Greene, meanwhile, finished a close run fourth in the race for the best and fairest. He finished two votes shy of a podium finish, but claimed his second successive Paul Bolton Trophy and 3WBC Most Outstanding gongs.

‘Ferg’ remains the only Box Hill player to claim the recently re-named Paul Bolton Trophy, which is awarded to the Club’s leading goal-kicker, having kicked 83-goals in his two seasons at City Oval.

His back-to-back winning of 3WBC’s Most Outstanding, awarded by contributors to Box Hill’s community radio partner, further underlined a terrific season.

Youngsters Max Hall and Luis D’Angelo’s 2022 seasons were honoured, with ‘Maxy’ recognised as the Hawks’ Best First Year Player and Gippsland product D’Angelo honoured with the David Banfield Development Trophy.

Hall started the year plying his trade with Montrose in the Eastern Football Netball League, his efforts good enough to win an opportunity in Clint Proctor’s senior side.

The developing midfielder enjoyed a breakout finish to his maiden season at Box Hill, playing eight games in all, winning 104 total disposals and kicking six goals – three of which came in a frantic 15-minute spell in the Club’s Elimination Final loss to the Gold Coast Suns. 

D’Angelo, meanwhile, finished his first full season with the Hawks having played four senior matches, but was honoured for his growth and participation in the Club’s off-field development and community programs.

In news which is equal parts humbling and awkward to seamlessly weave into a write-up of the event, the Board of Directors recognised Media and Content Manager Sean Peter-Budge – the author of this piece – with the Ron Gibbs Memorial Trophy.

Awarded by the Club’s board, it acknowledges service to the Club.

It is a tremendous honour to be given such an award, especially since it bears the Gibbs family name. All told Ron and Barbara Gibbs’ collective service to the football club eclipsed 120 years.

They’re both Life Members and Hall of Fame inductees, while the front gates at Box Hill City Oval fittingly bears their names.

The night’s major award, the Col Austen Trophy, is determined following round-by-round voting by Box Hill’s coaching panel.

At the conclusion of each match Senior Coach Clint Proctor awarded each of that day’s 23-man squad between zero and four votes, while his corps of assistants collectively did the same.

A player is credited with zero votes for a game in which they had no impact, one vote if they played their role or beat their opponent, two votes for a significant impact on the game, three votes should they have been the best player or player(s) on the ground and the maximum four votes for a “exceptional game.”

The maximum number of votes a player can tally in any one game is therefore eight. 

The first leaderboard of the night was as of Round Nine of the VFL season, encompassing the Club’s first seven matches of the home and away season. 

Porter lead the count with 25 votes, which including the season’s first four vote performance for his display against Richmond, one ahead of Mascitti, with Greene a further three votes behind the reigning winner.

James Blanck enjoyed a superb start to his second full season at Box Hill, sitting in fourth place on 20 votes through nine rounds, with Jordan Cunico and Dan Howe sitting one vote back on 19.

Rounds 10 to 13 encompassed Box Hill’s finest run of the 2022 season, with Clint Proctor’s men stringing together five successive wins between rounds seven and 12.

The wins against Gold Coast, North Melbourne and the season’s most stirring and heart-stopping triumph over Port Melbourne saw Mascitti leap into the lead of the count on 36 votes, one ahead of Fergus Greene (35), two in front of James Parsons (34) and five ahead of Porter (31).

Cavarra notched a four vote performance for his 17 disposal, three goal effort in the wet at North Melbourne in Round 11, before James Parsons delivered one of only two ‘perfect eight’ vote games the following week against Port.

‘Parso’ was superb in the narrow win over the Borough, kicking 4.3, accumulating 23 disposals and finishing with nine clearances.

The count then jumped ahead to the conclusion of Round 19, where Porter’s excellent mid-season form propelling him to the head of the leaderboard.

‘Ports’ had recorded 51 votes to this stage, one ahead of Cavarra (50), with Greene (46) and Mascitti (45) hot on their heels.

This was a tricky stretch for the Hawks, who followed up a five-game winning streak with successive losses to Footscray, the Giants and Southport, only to rebound with important wins away to the Bullants and at home to Werribee.

Porter won the season’s second and final ‘perfect eight’ vote game in the Round 18 victory at Preston, racking up an enormous 187 fantasy points on the back of 45 disposals, 10 marks, 10 tackles and nine clearances. 

The count concluded with a live reading of votes for the Club’s final four games of the season, beginning with the Round 20 win over Frankston and concluding with Box Hill’s Elimination Final defeat away to Gold Coast.

Despite the best efforts of the chasing pack Porter wouldn’t be denied, finishing with four, five, four and two votes to conclude the night on 66 votes, four ahead of Cavarra (62), who was a further two points ahead of the fast finishing Mascitti (60). 

Final Leaderboard

66 votes – Cal Porter
62 – Ben Cavarra
60 – Damian Mascitti
58 – Fergus Greene
50 – Ed Phillips
48 – Daniel Howe
37 – Hugh Beasley
37 – James Parsons
36 – Brady Grey
33 – Liam Shiels


Col Austen Trophy – Cal Porter
Runner-Up – Ben Cavarra
Third Place – Damian Mascitti
Paul Bolton Trophy – Fergus Greene
A.P Dickinson Memorial Trophy – Cal Porter
President’s Award – Cal Porter and Fergus Greene
3WBC Most Outstanding – Fergus Greene
Best First Year Player – Max Hall
David Banfield Trophy – Luis D’Angelo
Ron Gibbs Memorial Trophy – Sean Peter-Budge

The Box Hill Hawks congratulate the night’s winners and wish to thank our coaching and playing groups, as well as the volunteers and sponsors without whom the Club couldn’t exist.

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