Box Hill triumphs over Footscray in Grand Final rematch

Box Hill Hawks has started its 2015 campaign in style after over-running reigning premiers Footscray by 13 points in Saturday’s grand final rematch at VU Whitten Oval.

The Hawks capitalised on Footscray’s inaccuracy in front of goal to turn a 14-point half-time deficit into a 13-point victory.

Mitch O’Donnell was the main instigator in the midfield for the Hawks with 24 disposals, 12 tackles and four clearances while captain David Mirra was his usual resolute self in defence, winning 22 touches and 15 marks.

In a low-scoring encounter, Sam Grimley was the dominant forward on the ground, kicking four goals for the Hawks in a powerful display.

“It’s always nice to kick a few goals, but kicking goals hasn’t been my focus,” Grimley said.

“The last pre-season, I’ve been working on getting up the field, so to kick a few goals is nice but to have a win is great.”

With the 2014 Grand Final results still in the players’ minds, Grimley was pleased that the team could get off to such a good start.

“It’s something we definitely owed them from last year,” Grimley said.

“For us, it’s also a good achievement today to beat the reigning premiers.“

In front of a strong Footscray crowd, the hawks made a promising start to silence the home supporters, with Sam Grimley kicking two first-quarter goals to start the game to give the Hawks the early flyer.

The momentum was short lived however, as Footscray settled in to the occasion, kicking the final three goals of the quarter while also controlling the ball in their forward half as the Dogs managed to build a nine-point lead at the first break.

The Hawks continued to struggle throughout the second quarter, though were lucky to stay in touch with Footscray continuing to squander shots in front of goal.

It took a 50-metre set shot from Tim O’Brien to break the Hawks’ scoring drought, just managing to cover the distance to register Box Hill’s third goal and keep the Hawks in touch.

A suspected hamstring injury during the quarter saw defender Matt Spangher limp from the field and out of the game in the arms of trainers.

With Footscray continuing to press on and being on the verge of breaking the game open, a smart pass to Jonathan Simpkin 25-metres out in front of goal was duly converted, with the goal keeping the Hawks in touch at half time, trailing by only 14 points despite Footscray’s dominance.

Grimley said that Senior Coach Marco Bello asked for a much bigger effort after half time.

“At half time, we addressed that our intent wasn’t up to scratch and came out firing in the second half,” Grimley said.

With last year’s grand final result no doubt still in their mind, the Hawks came out in the third quarter a completely different team.

Aided by Footscray’s continued inaccuracy, the Hawks piled on four goals to the Dogs’ nil to turn the game on its head and take a nine-point lead into the final quarter.

It didn’t take long for Howe to kick the opening goal of the fourth quarter for the Hawks, and from there, Box Hill managed to keep the Dogs, at bay, with a goal on the siren to Footscray bringing the final margin back to 13 points.

Box Hill’s next Peter Jackson VFL game will the club’s first game at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday, 26 April, coming up against Coburg in the Anzac clash.


Footscray 3.3   5.8   5.11      7.15  57
Box Hill     2.0   4.0   8.2     11.4  70

Goals: Grimley 4, O’Brien 2, Howe 2, Simpkin, Williams, Willsmore

Bests: O’Donnell, Howe, O’Brien, Mirra, Willsmore, Gordon

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