The Hawks’ hopes of a Foxtel Cup semi-final birth were sunk by reigning WAFL premiers West Perth on Tuesday night, going down by two-points in a thriller at Etihad stadium.
The Hawks looked poised to produce a stunning turn around, as they fought back from a 19-point half time deficit to take the lead early in the last quarter.
It didn’t last.
West Perth responded with two goals inside five minutes, and despite some heart-in-mouth final moments, the visitors clung on for the win.
Box Hill looked out of sorts early, with uncharacteristically poor decision-making and skills errors seeping into the Hawks play. On a wet and windy Melbourne night, the players could have been forgiven, but for the fact they were playing in pristine conditions under the roof at Etihad.
The fact that Dallas Willsmore remained the Hawks lone goal kicker at half time was reflective of Box Hill’s first 40 minutes.
The Hawks slow start possibly linked to a three-day break for many players.
Hawthorn listed players; James Sicily and Ben Ross did their utmost to pull Box Hill back into the contest, kicking six of the Hawks seven goals between them.
While Alex Woodward managed to accrue an astounding 29 touches, in spite of the Foxtel Cup’s shortened – 20-minute quarter – format.
But it was Hawthorn 2013 draftee, James Sicily, whom almost singlehandedly sparked the Hawks. The former Western Jet, on the end of some fine play as the Hawks suddenly awoke from their sleepy first half.
The youngster’s aerial exploits on full display, showing the forward plays well above his 186cm frame.
A diamond in the rough perhaps; for all his talent, it seems almost unfathomable the 20-year old slipped to pick 56 in the draft.
An opportunity to contribute on the big stage for players, whom are yet to make an AFL debut such as Sicily, may prove an invaluable experience when their chance to step up comes.
The loss handed Marco Bello’s men their first defeat of the season, after the Hawks cemented top spot in the VFL last weekend with a 106-point drubbing of Frankston.
With a bye this week the boys will take a well-deserved rest before turning their attention to Richmond in Round 7.
West Perth 7.11 (53) defeated Box Hill 7.9 (51)
Goal kickers: Sicily 3, Ross 3, Willsmore