Casey Match Report

A young and plucky Box Hill Hawks side fell to a 35-point loss to Casey on Friday night.  

The Hawks’ 25-man squad was made up exclusively of VFL-listed and NAB League pathway players, keen to impress and experience football at state league level against strong opposition.

With forward Fergus Greene and Club Captain Damian Mascitti taking on matchday coaching roles, Josh Deluca and Jordan Cunico managing minor niggles and youngsters Vincent Adduci and Jesse Cucinotta rested, the on-field leadership and direction of Stu Horner, Cal Porter, Trent Mynott and Ed Phillips took on extra significance.  

In a sometimes firey affair, Box Hill kids never wilted, responding time and again to their host’s pressure around the ball and on the scoreboard. Whenever Casey would edge away, Box Hill dug deep and dug in to reel them back in.

Young tall Riley Bowman, who had predominantly played forward to date this pre-season, rucked and acquitted himself well around the ground, whilst James Blanck was deployed at key position posts inside forward fifty, kicking two goals, and defensive fifty, occasionally standing Melbourne-listed tall Majak Daw.

There were moments when Casey threatened to open the game up, winning and controlling territory that placed the Hawks’ defensive unit under enormous pressure, but the attitude and application of Elliot and Josh Le Grice, Mason De Wit and Stu Horner held firm.

A third quarter revival was encouraging, with much of it played on the Hawks terms and the team in brown and gold producing their best footy of the night with and without the ball.

Structure mid-forward was clicking and defensive organization made it difficult for Casey to move the ball with speed. Although the Demons won the quarter 19-14, a return that didn’t do the effort of the developing Hawks justice, the teams split eight scoring shots.

Casey’s class and experience showed early in the final term as they kicked away to a game-high 40-point lead. But, again, the Hawks’ kids rallied and responded.

Phillips’ on field direction could be heard by all in attendance and the work inside the contest by Porter went a long way to steadying some tiring legs and moving his side forward.

Eyeing a heavier loss than their efforts deserved Box Hill, as they’d done all night, kept working and fighting for one another and produced back-to-back goals to ensure the contest didn’t get away from them.

The Hawks’ pre-season continues next Saturday against Essendon. The trip to Tullamarine marks the fourth stop of seven on the road to round one.

Box Hill           2.1       4.1       6.3       8.4    52
Casey               4.2       6.6       9.7       13.9  87

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