Elimination Final Match Report

The Box Hill Hawks’ 2022 campaign has come to a close, beaten in an Elimination Final by the Gold Coast Suns.

Sunday evening’s match-up marked the Suns first ever finals appearance and the Hawks’ first since the VFL Finals were last staged back in 2019.

Come the final siren it was the hosts who advanced to a Semi-Final date with Sydney, surviving a late Hawks rally to run away 23-point winners.

Truthfully, Box Hill had battled manfully to defy a number of key statistical indicators, improbably pulling to within two kicks deep into time on before the Suns kicked the final goals of the contest.

The Hawks finished -103 in total disposals, -33 in contested possessions, -39 marks and -10 in inside 50s; markers which speak to a scrambling determination and fighting spirit to maintain touch in trying circumstances.

Daniel Howe was named Box Hill’s best for a fine individual display, compiling 24 touches, taking five marks, laying four tackles and driving his side inside 50 on four occasions.

The 96-game Hawk covered the ground well to win his share of the footy in and outside of the contest, while also expertly reading the play to diffuse dangerous situations in Box Hill’s back half.

Damian Mascitti was reliable as always on his way to place in the Hawks’ best, doing what he’s done since day one in the VFL: play a consistently excellent standard of footy.

‘Damo’ played across the wings at times, but often found himself lending a hand in defence. He finished the game with a team-high 29 touches, a game-high 12 rebound 50s, an equal game-high six inside 50s and three marks.

Like Mascitti, veteran Hawk Liam Shiels was as dependably sound in the contest and around the ground as always, winning 21 touches, laying an equal game-high six tackles, getting first hands to five clearances and launching Box Hill inside 50 on five occasions.

‘Pup’s’ game was complicated by a nasty cut to his nose which required running repairs throughout the night, robbing him of crucial minutes while the Hawks’ medical team stemmed the bleeding.

Again, like Mascitti, Shiels’ game was marked by poise under pressure and his ball use in contested situations.

Another to impress was Hawks’ spearhead Fergus Greene.

Captaining the side in the absence of skipper Hugh Beasley, Greene recovered well from a goal-less outing last week to kick an equal game-high four goals from an equal team-high six marks.

‘Ferg’ finished his second campaign at City Oval with 53 goals – becoming the first Box Hill Hawk to crack the half-century since Mark Passador in 2002. 

His quick fire double late in the fourth brought his side to within 11-points, teasing a finish akin to the heroics that sunk Port Melbourne earlier in the year.

Montrose youngster Max Hall was another to meaningfully affect the contest, kicking the Hawks’ sixth, seventh and eighth goals either side of three quarter time in a stunning individual display.

Hall had started the game on ball, before his dazzling cameo forward of the ball threatened to win the day for his side. He finished with six marks, four tackles and three clearances to go with his three goals.

Rounding out Box Hill’s best was the versatile live-wire Ben Cavarra. Having proven himself a threat on and ahead of the ball throughout his wonderful VFL career, Cavarra has used the license afforded to him by Clint Proctor these past few weeks to roam the front half and push up into the midfield.

Cavarra’s hands and pace in transition was on display as he recorded 20 disposals, won three clearances and drove his side inside 50 on an equal game-high six occasions. 

The game got underway in near perfect conditions for football, with the dry and relatively mild afternoon ensuring little to new dew once the lights came on.

Jackson Callow booted the first of the day after six-and-a-half hard-fought and cagey minutes, before the Suns’ Alex Sexton replied shortly after.

Fergus Greene kicked the first of his four goals for the day just before Josh Corbett did likewise, but it was all an entree to a glimpse into the future and what young Max Ramsden might have to offer.

His first of the night came after a superb gather on the half volley, turn and snap on the right, while his second came off a mark following a long run back to goal, deft body work in the one-on-one, excellent reading of the ball in flight and strong hands overhead.

It was a rhythm the game would have for much of the opening half, with the two sides trading goals and the initiative until the Suns made their move late in the second, booting the final three goals of the half to turn a six-point quarter time deficit into a 13-point half-time lead. 

The hosts picked up where they left off when play resumed, using their control of the contest to kick out to a game-high 28-point lead after 12 minutes of the third.

It was a case of all hands to the pump as the game slowly slipped away from those in brown and gold and having lost Jackson Callow to a nasty looking ankle injury Proctor and his coaches got creative.

Max Hall was one of the magnets thrown forward in the shuffle and it was a move which paid off almost immediately.

After minor scores from Jai Serong and Jack Saunders, Hall had the Hawks’ next four scoring shots. Following a sighter that slid just wide he turned marksman, kicking goals at the 24 and 26 minute marks of the third and after just three minutes of the last.

Josh Corbett’s third extended the margin to 20-points after eight minutes, which made the task difficult for the Hawks, but Greene kicked two in two minutes to haul his side to within 11-points with 16 minutes played.

Back within touching distance with more than enough time on the clock, Box Hill could smell another great escape, recalling memories of the last gasp heroics which sealed wins against Port Melbourne and Werribee.

Another attack saw a flying snap from Brady Grey sail agonisingly wide and, sadly, that proved to be the visitors’ last chance.

Goals to Burgess and Corbett sealed the result and Box Hill’s fate for season 2022.

Best:
Howe, Mascitti, Shiels, Greene, Hall, Cavarra

Goals:
Greene 4, Hall 3, Ramsden 2, Callow

Disposals: Mascitti 29, Howe 24, Shiels 21, Cavarra 20, Porter 18, Cunico 18

Box Hill

4.4

5.5

7.8

10.11 (71)

Gold Coast

3.4

7.6

9.10

13.16 (94)


The Box Hill Hawks wish to thank our wonderful members and corporate partners for their support throughout the season.

Further, we wish to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Club’s playing group, coaches, administrative staff and volunteers.

We will formally recognise the season at the 2022 Col Austen Trophy, to be staged in late September.

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