Grand Final Press Conference

In the lead-up to the season showdown between the Box Hill Hawks and Casey Demons, both sides’ senior coach and captain presented at the Peter Jackson VFL ‘Love the Game’ Grand Final press conference at Etihad, before returning to do battle on Sunday afternoon.

While Jade Rawlings’ Casey outfit finished just shy of the minor premiership in second spot on the table, Chris Newman’s men concluded the season in sixth place, with the Demons and Hawks splitting their two meetings in 2018.

In round six, it was the Demons who proved too strong on their home deck, accounting for the Hawks to the tune of 39 points; while the brown and gold atoned for the loss in the rivals’ most recent meeting, putting an end to Casey’s twelve match unbeaten run with a comfortable 45-point victory in round twenty.

For Newman, he was just pleased that his troops had found form at the right time of year, and were now granted the opportunity to perform on the big stage.

“There have been some sliding doors moments.” Newman said, reflecting upon the Hawks’ extra-time thriller against Port Melbourne a fortnight ago, and semi-final heart-stopper with Williamstown, over the weekend gone by.

“The ability of the boys to hang in there and have that belief, they just keep finding a way.”

While undoubtedly team efforts, small forwards Dylan Moore and Ollie Hanrahan were highlighted for their season-long contributions, but particularly their output come September, with Newman praising the youngsters for their versatility, drive and progression.

“Dylan Moore played predominantly on the wing during the year and has made his way as a small forward, despite being used to playing on ball as an under eighteen.

“He’s elite with his stamina and ability to work up and down the ground.

“Ollie is one of those ones who can go on ball and play forward too, he provides a different dynamic and really strong energy.”

Team selection was also high on the agenda, with Newman confirming that while David Mirra, James Worpel, Conor Nash and Ryan Schoenmakers would all put their hand up to play, it would be up to the coaching staff to find the best mix.

“If we can keep the team reasonably sound without too many changes that would be ideal, but we’ve got another training session and few things that still need to fall into place.”

However, no matter who was to be selected to take the field come Sunday afternoon, he remained confident that the team’s structures would hold up, regardless of team makeup or match venue.

Captain Andrew Moore echoed Newman’s sentiments, praising the depth of the squad, in both up and coming Box Hill talent such as Tom Maloney and Brayden Kilpatrick, and developing Hawthorn recruits like Changkuoth Jiath.

“One of our focuses this year has been that no matter who plays on the weekend, they play their role.

To individualise a few – Tom Maloney has been able to really slot into the team seamlessly, and Brayden Kilpatrick has had a really good year as well.

“CJ is really coming into his element as the year progresses too. He’s a talented young player and I’m looking forward to what he’ll produce over the years.”

Always humble, the skipper was quick to brush off his own outstanding individual form and instead, acknowledged his role within the greater context of the team.

“It’s been a different role this year, becoming a leader of the club. I’ve approached it with a different mindset – it’s not necessarily about my own performance, I’m not worried about that – it’s all about the team and in a way, I think that’s helped with my individual performance.”

When Moore and Casey captain, Jack Hutchins, were asked to reflect upon their past on senior lists, both highlighted the incredible standard of the current state league.

While not focussed on a second chance at AFL, Moore still rightfully believes he can play at a decent level, and in line with his competitive nature, continues to look to challenge himself.

And the challenges certainly will continue, with the battle for glory set to go down back at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon, to bring this year’s enthralling Peter Jackson VFL ‘Love the Game’ finals series to a close, and crown the ultimate victor.

Tickets for the VFLW and VFL Grand Finals double-header are available for pre-sale now, whilst patrons will also be able to buy on the day at the gate.

Adult tickets are priced at $23, concessions $16 and children under the age of 15 will be admitted free of charge.

Gates open at 12:00pm, with the Hawthorn women contesting their maiden Grand Final come 12:30, whilst the VFL decider gets underway at 3:20pm.

Radio coverage will be provided by Box Hill radio partner 3WBC 94.1FM for both contests, as well as ABC and Macquarie Sports services.

Additionally, Channel 7 will broadcast the VFL Grand Final from 3pm into Victoria, with those in interstate markets able to watch the action via their plus7 streaming service online.

The VFLW contest will be live-streamed on the official VFL website.

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