Box Hill VFL Women’s team prepares to make history

For the first time in Box Hill’s 81-year history, a female team will take the field in 2017.

The 48 players who will wear the brown and gold in the Box Hill Hawks Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s team have spent the last six months training and preparing for their own slice of history following the announcement of their playing licence in the ten-team competition last November.

“The Box Hill Hawks are very excited to be involved in women’s football in 2017 and moving forward,” says Box Hill General Manager Daniel Napoli. “The club is looking forward to providing young women in our local community with a great opportunity to play at an elite level.”

In a decision that recognised Box Hill’s history, previous Peter Jackson VFL assistant coach Patrick Hill was taken on board as inaugural senior coach.

 “The experience of the players is telling,” says Hill. “We’ve had a lot who have come from other sports where modern tactics of footy are applicable but basically whatever you tell them to do, they’ll do. That’s really pleasing. There’s not the same level of ego with the girls as with the guys, they’re not afraid to ask more questions so the development has been really good.”

Melissa Kuys, who is the sole Hawk to have played in the inaugural NAB AFL Women’s season after being drafted by Collingwood, was announced as the Hawks’ captain at last Monday’s season launch.

29-year old Kuys was honoured to be anointed Box Hill’s inaugural VFL Women’s skipper.

“It’s a great thing for me when I’ve thought about it today. It’s a dream come true.

“It’s a very young team coming out of Youth Girls so we want to get into their heads straight away that we want to be elite and that their behaviours are going to be a big thing on and off the field so if success comes from that, awesome.”

The nucleus of the Box Hill squad was drafted from local clubs such as Kew, Whitehorse and Knox. The squad will also boast elite athletes from external sports like SEABL basketballer Chantella Perera, Australian cyclist Emma Mackie, Australian Indoor hockey player Sarah Goode and vice-captain Tamara Luke, who played for the Melbourne Kestrels in netball.

Box Hill will face Geelong at Simmonds Stadium in their history-making first match this Saturday from 2.00pm. “We’ve set some goals around where we’re perceived,” reveals Hill. “What we have to do by the end of year one is change that. We hope that by the end of the season, no matter who we’re playing, they’ll perceive us as a hard game, as a team that’s united and moves the ball well and defends fiercely.”

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