Hawks fall short as Casey snatch the win

Box Hill’s third hit-out of the pre-season has ended in defeat, with the Casey Demons securing victory in the dying embers of a match from which both teams will take plenty of positives.

In the open, unprotected surrounds of Casey Fields, a swirly and often variable breeze made for tricky conditions throughout. Coupled with the intensity of the contest, this wind made chances hard to come by in the early exchanges. It wasn’t until thirteen minutes in that the Hawks found the first major of the afternoon.

In a heavily congested forward fifty Billy Hartung showed great poise and awareness to flick a hand pass out of traffic to the waiting Blake Hardwick, who steadied and steered through a fine shot from forty meters out.

Sam Switkowski opportunistically converted Box Hill’s second late-on following a turnover deep in attacking fifty.

In between, an experienced defensive unit of Mirra, Duryea and Sicily, amongst an able supporting cast of Kaiden Brand and Harry Morrison, produced moments of fine individual and team defence to keep Casey at bay, winning or nullifying a series of desperate scrambles and crucial aerial contests.

In the second quarter Box Hill played at it’s clinical and manic best, kicking seven goals to two in its finest thirty minutes of the pre-season.

Liam Cox snapped out of a pack to get the ball rolling at one end, before Taylor Duryea outpointed two larger opponents in his defensive goal square to deny Casey a certain goal at the other.

Billy Hartung converted from close range following a mazy run from Daniel Howe, and moments later Anthony Brolic dished off to the running Will Hams, who drilled an impressive goal from just on fifty.

When Brolic and then Switkowski kicked truly the Hawks had kicked the opening five of the term and assumed near complete control.

Casey answered with a pair of goals that their efforts deserved, but Schoenmakers and Willsmore cancelled them out with set shots of their own to close out the half.

Casey returned from the break playing a more direct style and it paid immediate dividends when they pulled one back inside the first minute.  They quickly added another two and had pulled within four goals with less than ten minutes of the third quarter played.

Kaiden Brand, playing well across half back, hauled down an enormous contested mark to keep another Casey siege at bay, before Jack Fitzpatrick spotted up Andrew Moore for a much-needed steadier.

Casey kicked two more goals in time on to move within fourteen points at the final change.

The final term started much as the first did, with neither side able to find the rhythm or space that could hurt their opponent.

Brand and Morrison again produced fine solo efforts to halt the Demons on wing and halfback, but despite some frantic defence it was Casey who kicked the all-important opening goal of the term.

Mirra thought he might’ve found the perfect reply shortly after, but the skipper’s quick snap hit the post. It was to prove the Hawks’ best chance of the quarter.

Another to the Demons set up a grandstand finish with five minutes to play and a fortnight out from the first bounce both teams competed as if points were on the line.

It would be Casey’s day, however, as the Demons capped a fine second half comeback with the match-winner late on.

Box Hill  2.2   9.6   10.8   10.12. 72
Casey      0.6  2.10  7.12  10.15. 75

Goals: Switkowski 2, Hams, Moore, Brolic, Cox, Hartung, Willsmore, Schoenmakers, Hardwick

Major Ball Winners: Hartung 30, Cousins 28, Sicily 26, Howe 24, Duryea 23



Earlier in the day the Development squad proved too slick for their Casey counterparts, winning every quarter to run out comfortable 42-point winners.

Box Hill  2.1   6.5   11.5  15.7. 97
Casey      1.2   4.4    6.6      8.7. 55

Goals: Codd-Miller, Hehir 3, Jeffs, Murphy 2, McIntyre, Traynor, Davies, Kilpatrick, Kennedy


Photo: Jenny Owens Photography 2017

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