Hawks back on top of the perch

Calllum Godde

The Hawks claimed top spot of the AFL Victoria Development League on Saturday, after accounting for fellow premiership fancies Williamstown by 11 points at Box Hill City Oval.

Aidan Franetic starred in the win booting five majors, while teammate Peter McEvoy took his goal tally to 29 this season adding three of his own.

Prior to bounce it shaped as a finals prelude with the Hawks sitting second and the Seagulls third – percentage the only thing separating the two clubs. And true to form, at 23 points a piece at quarter time, even the scoreboard was struggling to split the pair.

However a four goal to one second term from the Hawks, gave the home side a three-goal buffer at the main change. And although the Seagulls refused to lie down, Box Hill managed to claw their way to victory.

The result means the two clubs have shared the spoils against one another this season, after Williamstown edged the Hawks out by a single point in Round 1.

Box Hill coach Kevin Collins, was pleased with the continuity of his sides gutsy win.

“It was a good game. Our boys were good from the start and that’s been our focus – putting together four consistent quarters…

“Our intensity at the ball was good, we won contested ball, and put a bit of pressure on them to make mistakes and we really concentrated on our forward pressure.

“We’ve got a good connection between Posty [Kalem Post], Tom Goodwin and our on-ballers… so we were able to move the ball quickly to our forwards… and then convert.

“In the last quarter, we had 16 tackles forward of 50 which is a big statistic when the games in the balance”, he said.

It became immediately evident both outfits were treating the game as a finals tune-up; consequently glimpses of high-intensity, September, football were seen, rather unseasonably, in early June.

As such, the stakes were higher than the average home-and-away fixture and it made for a physically brutal contest.

Scuffles and spot fires were at a premium throughout the game, the most notable occurring on the quarter-time siren in the form of a massive fracas that enveloped every player on the field.

Collins placed particular praise on the Hawks backline, after managing to restrict the Seagulls to a meager nine goals.

“They were under the pump a bit, at one stage they [Williamstown] had a lot of forward entries and they [the backline] were able to repel them.

“I thought our defense was really good today, Jake Summers had a great game and was absolutely outstanding – he just did everything right”, he said.

Not one for the typically mundane duties of a defender, Summers took his game to another level – quite literally; the youngster rising over his opponent to take a spectacular mark in the third term.

In addition, the Hawks also had the luxury of having Xavier Murphy at their disposal; a crucial player in Box Hill’s 2013 premiership team, the midfielder put his hand up for an immediate seniors recall.

“Murph [Xavier Murphy] was fantastic, he’s composed and uses his foot skills… he had 32 possessions, so that sort of sums it up”, Collins said.

The win leaves the Hawks in a fantastic position – seven wins and two losses – at the halfway mark of the year.

But they may have to cope without Ryan Exon away to Casey next week, with the young midfielder seen sporting a sling at the end of the match.

“He [Exon] looks like he’s hurt his shoulder and he might spend a week or two out, which is unfortunate because he’s been in really good form”, Collins said.

Box Hill Hawks 11.9 (75) defeated Williamstown 9.10 (64)

Goal Kickers: A. Franetic 5, P. McEvoy 3, T. Goodwin , B. Wood , S. Crocker

Best Players: J. Summers, J. Fisher, K. Post, X. Murphy, T. Miles, A. Franetic


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